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The Accidental Billionaires

Cover of The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires

The bestselling author of Bringing Down the House pens the incredible true story of the accidental creation of Facebook, and the even more amazing tale of what followed.

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends-outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and longtime legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with the opposite sex. The two figured their ticket to social acceptance-and sexual success-was getting invited to join one of Harvard's elite final clubs. But on their road to getting punched into the famous Phoenix Club, they found an even more valuable ticket to social stardom-one lonely night Mark Zuckerberg hacked into the university's computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus, subsequently crashing the university's servers, and nearly getting himself kicked out of school. In that moment, in his spartan Harvard dorm room, the barebones framework for Facebook was born.

What followed-a real-life adventure filled with unimaginable wealth, sex, exotic locales, six-foot-five identical-twin Olympic rowers, and betrayal-makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together-while at the same time, it tore two best friends apart.


From the Hardcover edition.
The bestselling author of Bringing Down the House pens the incredible true story of the accidental creation of Facebook, and the even more amazing tale of what followed.

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends-outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and longtime legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with the opposite sex. The two figured their ticket to social acceptance-and sexual success-was getting invited to join one of Harvard's elite final clubs. But on their road to getting punched into the famous Phoenix Club, they found an even more valuable ticket to social stardom-one lonely night Mark Zuckerberg hacked into the university's computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus, subsequently crashing the university's servers, and nearly getting himself kicked out of school. In that moment, in his spartan Harvard dorm room, the barebones framework for Facebook was born.

What followed-a real-life adventure filled with unimaginable wealth, sex, exotic locales, six-foot-five identical-twin Olympic rowers, and betrayal-makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together-while at the same time, it tore two best friends apart.


From the Hardcover edition.
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    Chapter 1 | October 2003

    It was probably the third cocktail that did the trick. It was hard for Eduardo to tell for sure, because the three drinks had come in such rapid succession--the empty plastic cups were now stacked accordion style on the windowsill behind him--that he hadn't been able to gauge for certain when the change had occurred. But there was no denying it now, the evidence was all over him. The pleasantly warm flush to his normally sallow cheeks; the relaxed, almost rubbery way he leaned against the window--a stark contrast to his usual calcified, if slightly hunched posture; and most important of all, the easy smile on his face, something he'd practiced unsuccessfully in the mirror for two hours before he'd left his dorm room that evening. No doubt at all, the alcohol had taken effect, and Eduardo wasn't scared anymore. At the very least, he was no longer overwhelmed with the intense urge to get the fuck out of there.

    To be sure, the room in front of him was intimidating: the immense crystal chandelier hanging from the arched, cathedral ceiling; the thick red velvet carpeting that seemed to bleed right out of the regal mahogany walls; the meandering, bifurcated staircase that snaked up toward the storied, ultrasecret, catacombed upper floors. Even the windowpanes behind Eduardo's head seemed treacherous, lit from behind by the flickering anger of a bonfire consuming most of the narrow courtyard outside, twists of flame licking at the ancient, pockmarked glass.

    This was a terrifying place, especially for a kid like Eduardo. He hadn't grown up poor--he'd spent most of his childhood being shuttled between upper-middle-class communities in Brazil and Miami before matriculating at Harvard--but he was a complete stranger to the sort of old-world opulence this room represented. Even through the booze, Eduardo could feel the insecurities rumbling deep down in the pit of his stomach. He felt like a freshman all over again, stepping into Harvard Yard for the first time, wondering what the hell he was doing there, wondering how he could possibly belong in a place like that. How he could possibly belong in a place like this.

    He shifted against the sill, scanning the crowd of young men that filled most of the cavernous room. A mob, really, bunched together around the pair of makeshift bars that had been set up specifically for the event. The bars themselves were fairly shoddy--wooden tables that were little more than slabs, starkly out of character in such an austere setting--but nobody noticed, because the bars were staffed by the only girls in the room; matching, bust-heavy blondes in low-cut black tops, brought in from one of the local all-female colleges to cater to the mob of young men.

    The mob, in many ways, was even more frightening than the building itself. Eduardo couldn't tell for sure, but he guessed there had to be about two hundred of them--all male, all dressed in similar dark blazers and equally dark slacks. Sophomores, mostly; a mix of races, but there was something very similar about all the faces--the smiles that seemed so much easier than Eduardo's, the confidence in those two hundred pairs of eyes--these kids weren't used to having to prove themselves. They belonged. For most of them, this party--this place--was just a formality.

    Eduardo took a deep breath, wincing slightly at the bitter tinge to the air. The ash from the bonfire outside was making its way through the windowpanes, but he didn't move away from his perch against the sill, not yet. He wasn't ready yet.

    Instead, he let his attention settle on the group of blazers closest to him--four kids of medium build. He didn't recognize any of them from...

Reviews-
  • New York Times

    "High-octane page-turners, replete with sex, skullduggery and plot twists worthy of James Patterson"

  • The Washington Times "Uproarious. . . . Stimulating enough to keep even an unmedicated narcoleptic awake."
  • The Boston Globe "
    "Mezrich's prose has a cinematic flavor."
  • The Oregonian "
    "You won't be able to put the book down. The story's far too compelling, and entirely too personal, to toss aside."
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