The Life of Shinke

Archive for January 2011

Title: The Accidental Billionaires

Author: Ben Mezrich

Published: 2009

Description: 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 Billionaires is 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. (Taken from Goodreads)

So I’m sure everyone knows of the movie The Social Network but how many of you knew it was based off a book?

I didn’t but thanks to Brandon Werner the host of a book podcast Do Nothing But Read I was introduced to The Accidental Billionaires.

I immediately downloaded it and started reading because I thought it would be rather interesting to hear the story of how Facebook was started especially since I had yet to see the movie.

As soon as I started reading it I started having problems with the story. The book is suppose to be about how Facebook got started and I don’t know if I’m just being picky but for that to happen for me you would have to have some input from the actual founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s like hearing the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman from Alfred although Alfred would probably have been able to do a better job since Bruce confided in him and Eduardo couldn’t even read Mark.

In the story Eduardo mentions that Mark doesn’t talk much he’s the listener in this friendship and his responses are limited to the word interesting, everything is either interesting or should be interesting. He also mentions that he can’t read Mark’s eyes and his face is normally stoic.

Which brings me to the question of then why are YOU telling me the story. You know next to nothing about what is going on in his mind. Sure you can tell me the sequence of events and how you felt about them but that’s really not what I wanted out of this book.

For instance when they launch The Facebook for the first time, put it out there made it live I got Eduardo’s reaction to this big moment and Mark was just sitting there….silent. And all I could think about was what’s going on in his mind?

I wanted the eureka moment when he came up with the concept for Facebook, I wanted his take on Harvard and the social scene not Eduardo’s insecurities and determination to get laid via the Phoenix. It’s like getting stuck with Robin’s account of an adventure when all you really want is Batman’s.

The book is also told through the eyes of Tyler Winklevoss and Sean Parker. The Winklevoss twins are the ones that Mark allegedly stole the Facebook idea from but from what I understand from the book, he didn’t. He probably took some of their concepts and fleshed them out making a better website but I doubt The Harvard Connection would have been anything close to Facebook since they wanted a social dating network.

I’m by no means supporting what Mark did to them, stalling their website, lying to them, leading them all, that was wrong, plain and simple but their depiction in the book just left me feeling annoyed. They were hardworking and dedicated to their sport but they seemed too into their elite status for my liking.

Sean Parker on the other hand I liked only partially. I liked him because he was helping them out, pushing them in the right direction but at the same time I know that in the back of his mind he was only doing this for himself. He was trying to get into a company that wasn’t his so that he could benefit from it when it went global, and in the end he helped to push Eduardo out of the company. Granted Eduardo did something stupid helping himself out but I’m sure Sean helped make the final decision. Not that I support Eduardo being cut out of the company by any means, I’m just saying. But what goes around comes around because Sean got kicked out of the company some months later too.

Sean Parker narrative wise was like Batman explaining to me why Superman makes some of the choices he does, Sean being Batman, Mark being Superman. It would be better to have Superman tell you himself but since Batman is a superhero as well he can explain what might be going on in Superman’s brain.

Another sore point for me was the author’s writing. He has a habit of repeating  a sentiment over and over again until you have one paragraph portraying one single concept. It’s as if he had verbal diarrhea and his editor was out sick and couldn’t check the manuscript for him and so he sent it straight to publishing.

And what is with the title? This story is about anything but accidental billionaires. What it should be called is all the people that didn’t become billionaires off of Facebook and had to sue to get a piece of the pie.

All in all it was an okay book, I’m sure the movie is better especially with all the awards and buzz it’s picking up worldwide. We must remember however that this book is a sensationalized history of Facebook, meaning a fictional story with historical fact and these “facts” were contributed by people who were allegedly screwed over by Zuckerberg in the early days and hence detest Facebook and Zuckerberg.

But if you’re interested in a sensationalized history of Facebook and don’t mind the fact that Zuckerberg’s voice is missing give this a try, it’s a quick read, a little over 200 pages  so it’s not exactly torture. I give The Accidental Billionaries a 2.5 out of 5.

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Have you heard the awful news?

We have a new zodiac sign!

Apparently the Earth has moved and now the zodiac signs represent different times of the year.

And they had to add a new sign and shuffle around the others to make the signs make sense again?

I don’t know. Huffington Post broke the news this afternoon. So I’ll just let them explain.

Either ways the new sign’s name is Ophiuchus that’s Oph·i·u·chus, the serpent bearer.

Eeeewwww right? What type of name is that and who wants to be a serpent bearer?

Not me and luckily under this new system I’m not but the system’s still screwed up.

So here’s what the “new” system looks like and be forewarned you may not like what you see….I didn’t.

Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18 – May 13
Taurus: May 13 – June 21
Gemini: June 21 – July 20
Cancer: July 20 – Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10 – Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16 – Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30 – Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23 – Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29 – Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17 – Jan. 20

Now my question is, shouldn’t this new table only be applicable to people that were born after the shift?

Each zodiac has a set of traits that are suppose to characterize the person born under the sign so how is it after being born a Virgo I’m now magically going to embody a new set of characteristics because the Earth shifted?

See…..it makes no sense and so on those grounds I’m rejecting the new system.

I am and will always be a Virgo.

You already took Pluto away from me science you can’t have this too.

What are your thoughts on the new system?

Has your zodiac sign changed?

Let me know in the comments below.

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So a little while back I wrote a post about reading challenges and the fact that I planned to join a few and I thought I should do an update post to let you guys know which ones I’ve decided to join.

Plus announcing my choices makes me accountable and more likely to succeed…pride is a hell of a thing.

So first off I must admit I’ve surprised myself, because I only expected to commit to three challenges and I ended up committing to five.

Hopefully I haven’t overshot my boundaries but here we go…

Challenge #1:

This one was taken from one of my favourite podcasts Books on the Nightstand and was started by one of the hosts Ann Kingman and her friend Kalen.

The challenge is to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace in 2011.

Yes I’m aware that’s a daunting task but they’ve made it into a little read-along with a schedule for us to follow and discussion threads for each part.

The read-along starts the 1st of February and is paced at about a part or two a month which isn’t that awful so it seems doable…

Ya, so all the information is on their wikispace page War and Peace Read-Along.

Challenge #2:

This challenge was also taken from Books on the Nightstand. The other host Michael Kindness proposed a challenge on Goodreads of reading 11 more books this year than you did last year.

Which isn’t a very daunting task since I only read 32 books last year and so I would only need to read 43 books this year to complete my goal.

So since Goodreads had recently rolled out a reading challenge where you challenge yourself to read a certain number of books and they’ll keep track of it for you and 43 is an odd number I’ve joined the two together and decided to read 50 books in 2011.

Yes, 50, that might sound like a big number to some of you and a very small number to the rest but it’s a number I’m comfortable with and think I can manage especially with school taking up so much of my time.

So if you want more information on this challenge head on over to Books on the Nightstand and check it out and if you have a Goodreads account go and sign up for their 2011 Reading Challenge.

Challenge #3:

This third challenge I found while trying to fill my need to read the books on my bookshelf at home that I’ve always meant to read but haven’t and the classics and series that have met the same fate.

While prowling the A Novel Challenge blog I came upon The Fill in the Gaps: 100 Project started by Emily Cross over on Blogspot.

This challenge is to read 1oo books that you have meant to read but haven’t and or books that you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t read yet.

I know what you must be thinking….didn’t she just say she was aiming for 50 books this year, and doesn’t this challenge call for a 100?

It does but the beauty of this challenge is that you have 5 years to complete it.

Yes, I know, it’s awesome like that. No need to pressure yourself or rush anything, you can just pace yourself because the deadline isn’t until 2015 and you only need to finish 75% of your list to have completed the challenge.

I know this challenge will resonate with a lot of people out there so if you want to join in just head on over to The Fill in the Gaps:100 Project and send Emily an email and she’ll give you access to the blog so that you can put up your list and give reviews on the books you’ve read. You will however need a Blogger account but you can always host it on your blog if you want.

Over by Blogger I go by Shiney and you may find my list posted on The Fill in the Gaps:100 Project blog and of course of this blog.

Challenge #4:

I was watching a YouTube video by Elle Fowler recently and she was raving about her favourite author Nicholas Sparks and his new book Safe Haven and it got me thinking. I’ve always wanted to read his books because I love the movies his books get turned into and I just never got around to it, I think I’ve only ever read one of his books and hence I decided to find a challenge dedicated to him.

This brought me to the 2011 Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen.

In this challenge there are four levels.

First Date – Read 1–4 Nicholas Sparks novels
Going Steady – Read 5–8 Nicholas Sparks novels
Engaged – Read 9–12 Nicholas Sparks novels
Married – Read 13–16 Nicholas Sparks novels

I think I should start small so I think I’ll commit to going on a First Date with Nicholas but if I really enjoy our date I’ll definitely go steady with him and we might even end up engaged.

Yes that’s what’ll happen when you find an author that you love….you read everything they’ve written and sit and wait in anticipation for more.

The books I’ve chosen for the challenge are the four that have been turned into movies that I love. And since the book is always better than the movie they should be AWESOME!

1. The Notebook

2. A Walk to Remember

3. Dear John

4. The Last Song

Challenge 5:

Finally I thought Harry Potter is ending this year, the final movie is coming out and since it has been my obsession since I was 13, it’s only right to end it’s run with a bang.

So I’ve decided to join the Harry Potter Reading Challenge which runs from January 1, 2011 to August 31, 2011.

You are required to read a book a month in chronological order and split the last book between the last two months.

This of course is to gear you up for last movie which is set to come out July 2011.

Are you stoked? I am totally stoked…it’s gonna be a bittersweet moment. It’ll the moment I’ve been waiting for and the one I’ve been dreading. *sighz*

Anyways I’m getting off topic. This challenge is hosted by Daemon’s Books and comes with prizes for its participants.

They’re giving away a boxed set of the 7 HP books each month and a surprise give-a-way at the end but you have to live in the US or Canada to receive these prizes so I’m out of it but you guys can head on over and try your luck.

You can find all the info over at Daemon’s Books and their sister site Daemon’s Movies is having a Harry Potter Movie Challenge so you can head on over there and check that out as well.

Ya, so those were my reading challenges for the year. I hope this inspires some of you join a challenge and read more.

If you decide to join any of these challenges let me know. I’d love to follow your progress as well and see your book choices.

If you know of any other cool challenges let me know as well, it doesn’t have to be book related just something to keep you motivated.

For example I know Luke Nevarro from the Guys Can Read podcast hosted a 52 weeks of geek challenge last year which required you to read 52 books, watch 52 movies and play 52 video games over the course of 2010 and that was pretty cool. Not sure if he’s hosting it this year but you could do the challenge regardless just to see if you could, I might one year….but not this year.

I’ve also decided to join WordPress’ Blog More 2011 Challenge. There are two levels the Post A Day level and the Post A Week Level.

I’m going to be doing the Post A Week Level since I know I won’t be able to post once per day especially when school starts.

So I’m looking forward to that.

Wish me luck in my challenges and all the best in yours.

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Happy New Year Everyone!!!

New day, new month, new year, new me.

I feel rather hopeful this year.

Like anything and everything is possible.

I can touch the sky.

It’s a yearly ritual of mine to be super happy and set new goals for myself on the dawn of a new year.

This is the time when I reevaluate and make changes.

Start everything a fresh.

I hope I’m not the only one with that new year bliss because I’d hate to know that someone was sulking on so fine a day.

Normally I would make my resolutions, and try to implement them all at once and then fall off the bandwagon a couple weeks in only to have to start over a couple months later but this year I think I’ll do it a bit different.

I will implement on resolution at a time making it habit before moving on to the next.

This I believe will help to ensure my success.

So here we go these are my new year resolutions.

1. I must practice my cooking skills by cooking solo more often and increase my recipe portfolio.

2. I must eat healthier.

3. I must exercise with more consistency.

4. I must become more organized.

5. I must read more.

6. I must become a more rounded or balanced individual.

7. I must eliminate procrastination from my life.

8. I must learn to be more consistent with my studies.

9. I must be kinder to others.

10. I must take better care of my skin.

11. I must put more effort in my look/style.

12. I must take better care of my hair.

One for each month of the year since it’s found it takes 3 to 4 weeks to make or break a habit.

So what are your new year resolutions?

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