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The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

by Ben Mezrich

The high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook. Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends-outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and long-time legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with women. Eduardo figured their ticket to social acceptance-and sexual success-was getting invited to join one of the university's Final Clubs, a constellation of elite societies that had groomed generations of the most powerful men in the world and ranked on top of the inflexible hierarchy at Harvard. Mark, with less of an interest in what the campus alpha males thought of him, happened to be a computer genius of the first order. Which he used to find a more direct route to social stardom: one lonely night, Mark hacked into the university's computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus-and subsequently crashing the university's servers and nearly getting himself kicked out of school. In that moment, in his Harvard dorm room, the framework for Facebook was born. What followed-a real-life adventure filled with slick venture capitalists, stunning women, and six-foot-five-inch identical-twin Olympic rowers-makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year. Before long, Eduardo's and Mark's different ideas about Facebook created in their relationship faint cracks, which soon spiraled into out-and-out warfare. The collegiate exuberance that marked their collaboration fell prey to the adult world of lawyers and money. The great irony is that while Facebook succeeded by bringing people together, its very success tore two best friends apart. The Accidental Billionairesis a compulsively readable story of innocence lost-and of the unusual creation of a company that has revolutionized the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another. Ben Mezrich, a Harvard graduate, has published ten books, including theNew York TimesbestsellerBringing Down the House. He is a columnist forBoston Commonand a contributor forFlushmagazine. Ben lives in Boston with his wife, Tonya. From the Hardcover edition.

Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

by Ben Mezrich

It's Friday night and you're on a red-eye to the city of sin. Strapped to your chest is half a million dollars; in your overnight bag is another twenty-five thousand in blackjack chips; and your wallet holds ten fake IDs. As soon as you land in Las Vegas, you are positive you are being investigated and followed. To top it all off, the IRS is auditing you, someone has been going through your mail -- and you have a multivariable calculus exam on Monday morning. Welcome to the world of an exclusive group of audacious MIT math geniuses who legally took the casinos for over three million dollars -- while still finding time for college keg parties, football games, and final exams. In the midst of the go-go eighties and nineties, a group of overachieving, anarchistic MIT students joined a decades-old underground blackjack club dedicated to counting cards and beating the system at major casinos around the world. While their classmates were working long hours in labs and libraries, the blackjack team traveled weekly to Las Vegas and other glamorous gambling locales, with hundreds of thousands of dollars duct-taped to their bodies. Underwritten by shady investors they would never meet, these kids bet fifty thousand dollars a hand, enjoyed VIP suites and other upscale treats, and partied with showgirls and celebrities. Handpicked by an eccentric mastermind -- a former MIT professor and an obsessive player who had developed a unique system of verbal cues, body signals, and role-playing -- this one ring of card savants earned more than three million dollars from corporate Vegas, making them the object of the casinos' wrath and eventually targets of revenge. Here is their inside story, revealing their secrets for the first time. Master storyteller Ben Mezrich takes you from the ivory towers of academia to the Technicolor world of Las Vegas, where anything can happen -- and often does. Bringing Down the Houselaunches you into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas -- deep into the realm of back rooms, ever-present video cameras, private investigators, and the threats and tactics of pit bosses and violent heavies. Equipped with twenty different aliases and disguises, the group of young card counters struggles around these roadblocks to live the high life -- until one fateful day when Vegas violently follows them home to Boston. Suddenly, there can be no more hiding behind false identities; the high life folds like a bad hand of cards. Filled with tense action and incredibly close calls,Bringing Down the Houseis a real-life mix ofLiar's PokerandOcean's Eleven-- and it's a story Vegas doesn't want you to read.

Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees

by Ben Mezrich

He played in casinos around the world with a plan to make himself richer than anyone could possibly imagine -- but it would nearly cost him his life. Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age twenty-one, this cocky hotshot was the biggest high roller to appear in Sin City in decades, a mathematical genius with a system the casinos had never seen before and couldn't stop -- a system that has never been revealed until now; that has nothing to do with card counting, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before. Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown -- Monte Carlo. Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. Although they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables only to be harassed, banned from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas's notorious back rooms. The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, consequences be damned. There was Semyon Dukach himself, bored with school and broke; Victor Cassius, the slick, brilliant MIT grad student who galvanized the team; Owen Keller, with stunning ability but a dark past that would catch up to him; and Allie Simpson, bright, clever, and a feast for the eyes. In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable. Busting Vega$ is Dukach's unbelievably true story; a riveting account of monumental greed, excess, hubris, sex, love, violence, fear, and statistics that is high-stakes entertainment at its best.

Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai

by Ben Mezrich

From the author who brought you the massive New York Times bestseller Bringing Down the House, this is the startling rags-to-riches story of an Italian-American kid from the streets of Brooklyn who claws his way into the wild, frenetic world of the oil exchange. After conquering the hallowed halls of Harvard Business School, he enters the testosterone-laced warrens of the Merc Exchange, the asylumlike oil exchange located in lower Manhattan. A place where billions of dollars trade hands every week, the Merc is like a casino on crack, where former garbagemen become millionaires overnight and where fistfights break out on the trading floor. This ordinary kid has traded Brooklyn for the gold-lined hotel palaces of Dubai. He keeps company on the decks of private yachts in Monte Carlo-teeming with half-naked girls flown in by Saudi sheiks-and makes deals in the dangerous back alleys of Beijing. But the Merc is just a starting place. Taken under the wing of another young gun and partnering with a mysterious young Muslim, the kid embarks on a dangerous adventure to revolutionize the oil trading industry-and, along with it, the world. Rigged is the explicit, exclusive, true story behind the headlines that dominate the world stage.

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History

by Ben Mezrich

Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea--a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally. Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA--past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways--and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks. But what does one do with an item so valuable that it's illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts--undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut--really what he seemed? Mezrich has pored over thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, and NASA documents and has interviewed most of the participants in the crime to reconstruct this Ocean's Eleven-style heist, a madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.

Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-dollar Online Poker Empire and How It All Came Crashing Down...

by Ben Mezrich

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House--the sources for the films The Social Network and 21--comes the larger-than-life true tale of a group of American college buddies who brilliantly built a billion-dollar online poker colossus based out of the hedonistic paradise of Costa Rica. One problem: the U. S. Department of Justice was gunning for them. . . . Based on extensive insider interviews and participation, acclaimed author Ben Mezrichs Straight Flush tells the captivating rags-to-riches tale of a group of University of Montana frat brothers who turned a weekly poker game in the basement of a local dive bar into AbsolutePoker. com, one of the largest online companies in the world, on par with some of the behemoths of the Internet. At its height, Absolute Poker was an online empire earning more than a million dollars a day, following savvy business strategy and even better luck. Its founders set up their operations in the exotic jungle paradise of Costa Rica, embracing an outrageous lifestyle of girls, parties, and money. Meanwhile, the gray area of U. S. and international law in which the company operated was becoming a lot more risky, and soon the U. S. Department of Justice had placed a bulls-eye on Absolute Poker. Should they fold--or double down and ride their hot hand? Impossible to put down, Straight Flush is an exclusive, never-before-seen look behind the headlines of one of the wildest business stories of the past decade.

Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboy Who Raided Asia in Search of the American Dream

by Ben Mezrich

Sstory about John Malcolm, a business man who found great success in the Asia trade market. Malcolm left a comfortable middleclass life in the U.S. to take a job in Japan where he learned the ins and outs of the financial world.

The X-Files: Skin

by Ben Mezrich

When moonlighting medical students "harvesting" skin from a corpse for temporary use accidentally take it from the wrong donor, the results are catastrophic: a New York City hospital ward is destroyed in a bloodbath, and an elderly professor, admitted for a routine skin graft, is suddenly the city's most wanted fugitive.Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the only ones to suspect something more ominous than a medical procedure gone awry. As the FBI agents investigating the "X-Files"--strange and inexplicable cases the Bureau wants to keep hidden--Mulder and Scully are determined to track down the forces they suspect are behind the murderer.While the police hunt the fleeing professor, Mulder and Scully track the skin that was grafted onto him, a trail that leads from the morgue to the headquarters of a cutting-edge biotech company to the jungles of Thailand. Together they begin to uncover an unholy and totally deniable alliance between a battle-trained plastic surgeon, international politicians, and a legendary Thai monster known as the "Skin-Eater."

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