Last week with my time on the island I had the opportunity to catch up on some reading.
Nothing too earth-shattering or intellectual, but I did make it through a couple of good books.
One book I had considered reading for a while now actually turned out to be rather good. The book was The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich.
For those of you who have been living in a cave the past few years, The Accidental Billionaires is a sort of fictionalized account of the rise of Facebook, and was recently turned into a popular movie called The Social Network.
I was hesitant to read the book simply because it has been criticized as too fictional. Mark Zuckerberg-- the person most associated with the founding of Facebook and the current CEO of the company-- did not make himself available for interviews with the author. Additionally, many of the individuals used as primary sources for the text have openly stated their animosity towards Zuckerberg and/or the company, Facebook. These foes include Edaurdo Saverin-- a college friend of Zuckerberg and co-founder of Facebook-- and the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, who are still in ongoing litigation with the company.
Th book reads like fiction-- Mezrich openly admits he had to use literary technique to bridge gaps in the historical accounts-- but it ends up being an interesting and quick read. Suffice it to say that if you like the movie, you'll find the book interesting.
Personally, I enjoyed the read simply because while it is obviously one-sided, it does give you one person's (ie- Saverin's) account of the founding of the company and the whirlwind development of Facebook from dorm room daydream to corporate force. For those who have been involved with any sort of start-up company, the themes of the book ring true: the initial excitement, the overwhelming work, the near misses and mistakes, the infighting and jealousy, and the eventual victory.
I also enjoyed the characters of the book, many of whom are well-known entities in the world of Silicon Valley. The anecdotes about "bad boy" Sean Parker, the brilliance of Peter Thiel, the competitive drive of the Winklevoss twins, and the descriptions of life as an undergrad at Harvard were all very intriguing.
Anyway, if you have any interest in entrepreneurship, venture capital, technology, or start-up companies, then I believe you will find The Accidental Billionaires a fun read. I enjoyed it and while some parts are somewhat sinister, and others downright bizarre, I think this fictionalized account of one person's view of the Facebook founding is entertaining and worth the short time investment necessary to breeze through its pages.