One word. Brilliant!
When I saw the cover of the Accidental Billionaires with the tagline, the founding of Facebook, I was immediately fascinated, overjoyed even. I didn’t waste anytime digging in expecting to be blown away with information until I read Ben’s note where he said Mark Zuckerberg turned down his request to speak on/for the book despite numerous attempts. I was literally heartbroken. How do you write a book about someone who’s still very much alive without getting first-hand account from the person. At first, I thought it was pride of sorts but then I realised he might have had his personal reasons(the book aptly describes his personality as weird and awkward so it’s not particularly surprising) but even at that, one meeting wouldn’t hurt his reputation or reduce the total estimated value of Facebook would it? Anyways, I didn’t allow my sentiments to deter me from enjoying this brilliant story.
Oh boy was I hooked! I finished in less than 48hours and truth be told I was impressed especially because most of the story were products of his imagination with fragments of truths from various sources. From the first chapter, I particularly enjoyed the chronology first of all and chapter titles. I loved the fact that he took cognisance of the exact dates which of course made the book even more believable. I didn’t feel like it was a work of fiction which it obviously isn’t. It felt like an actual biography so much that I got lost in the story. I loved the way the dominant and sub themes were glaring. It wasn’t very difficult to pinpoint which also made the book easily understandable. Major themes like Friendships, betrayal, fame, money, education, social status e.t.c. formed the plot of the story. I loved that he didn’t bore me with excessive figures having in mind that it was a story and not a textbook.
Three things particularly stood out for me. The scenery, the language and the narratives. I have never been to the USA neither have I been to Havard but Ben took me on a journey. He led me in a way that I didn’t feel like an expat. Havard suddenly became familiar. Even though he was particular about the environs,he tried not to waste so much time in places that weren’t so necessary. He was thorough especially where the various scenes were set. The dorms, cafeteria, the president’s office, the library, the lecture rooms; he paid attention to details and also not forgetting the weather. It was interesting to know that Havard is freezing for the most of the year and hardly had sunlight. Oh and did I mention Ben is an Havard alum? It sure makes perfect sense.
Next was his use of language. He made an excellent use of Contemporary english in the best possible way. The idoms, figures of speech, use of grammar and whatnot added a particular aura to the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The icing on the cake for me was the narratives. The flow and connection from one chapter to the other in a concise manner was top notch. His quirky sense of humour also added a bit of attitude to make a totally interesting experience.
Meanwhile, I give it up to Ben. To think that Mark turned him down, you would have expected some haphazard work but no, he went all out with his research. From court documents to newspapers to anonymous witnesses, he made up for it one way or the other. Luckily for him, Eduado Saverin, co-founder of Facebook was kind enough to meet with him which also went a long way. (Why wouldn’t he? After diluting him out of the company, he wasn’t particularly left with any choice. Besides what other way to get back at Mark than to talk and write about it). His fortitude towards this book is undoubtedly inspiring in my opinion.
On the flip side, towards the end of the book, It felt abrupt and rushed. From the last quarter downwards, there wasn’t enough content. It looked like he ran out of stories to tell/add. The only option he had was to summarize what he had left. The high and energetic tempo at the beginning went on a downward spiral which is a minus in my opinion. I also thought that the absence of Mark’s account left some kind of dent which downplayed the overall essence of the book. Other than that, it would have been a fantastic bestseller.
Brilliant book with a great storytelling. I didn’t even want it to end. I look forward to reading more of Ben’s works. Highly recommended. View all my reviews