Ben Mezrich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Mezrich
Mezrich in 2011
Born (1969-02-07) February 7, 1969 (age 55)
Alma materHarvard University (AB)
Known forBringing Down the House
The Accidental Billionaires
The Antisocial Network
Tonya M. Chen
(m. 2006)

Ben Mezrich (/ˈmɛzrɪk/ MEZ-rik;[2] born February 7, 1969) is an American author.

He has written well-known non-fiction books, including The Accidental Billionaires and The Antisocial Network, which have been turned into the films The Social Network and Dumb Money, respectively. Some of his books have been written under the pen-name Holden Scott.

Early life and education[edit]

Mezrich was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Molli Newman, a lawyer, and Reuben Mezrich,[3] a chairman of radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has two brothers, including Josh Mezrich. He was raised in a Conservative Jewish household, and attended Princeton Day School, in Princeton, New Jersey. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Social Studies from Harvard University in 1991.

Written work[edit]

Mezrich is best known for his first non-fiction work, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. This book tells the story of a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology who bet on blackjack games using a sophisticated card counting system, earning millions of dollars at casinos in Las Vegas and other gambling centers in the United States and the Caribbean.[4] The story was made into the movie 21, released in 2008.[5] Despite being categorized as non-fiction many of the characters in Bringing Down the House are composite characters and some of the events described have been contested by the people the characters are based on.[6][7][8]

In 2004, Mezrich published Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions. This book recounts the exploits of an American assistant securities trader, John Malcolm.[9]

In 2005, Mezrich published Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees, a semi-sequel to Bringing Down the House. The book tells the story of another student involved in a similar Blackjack team, but one that used more advanced techniques than the ones discussed in the first book. As with Bringing Down the House, many of the events depicted in Busting Vegas were later contested by main character Semyon Dukach, who described the book as "only about half true".[10]

In 2007, Mezrich published Rigged: The True Story of a Wall Street Novice who Changed the World of Oil Forever, which recounts the formation of what would eventually become the Dubai Mercantile Exchange by two young visionaries, one in the New York Mercantile Exchange and the other in the Dubai Ministry of Finance.

Mezrich published a new book in July 2009 about Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, titled The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. It debuted at No. 4 on The New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List, and No. 1 on The Boston Globe Nonfiction Bestseller List."[11] Aaron Sorkin adapted the book for the screenplay of the film The Social Network, which was released on October 1, 2010. It was directed by David Fincher and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin. Ten years later, in May 2019, Mezrich published a sequel centering on Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss: Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption.

In 2014, Mezrich published Seven Wonders, his first novel since The Carrier in 2001. Seven Wonders is "a fast-moving thriller involving murder, conspiracy, historical mystery, and the Seven Wonders of the World", according to Booklist.[12][13] Publishers Weekly wrote that "Mezrich has written a rollicking adventure with a fantastic behind-the-scenes tour of some of the world's most intriguing spots."[14]

His 2021 book, The Antisocial Network: The GameStop Short Squeeze and the Ragtag Group of Amateur Traders That Brought Wall Street to Its Knees, was adapted into the film Dumb Money[15] directed by Craig Gillespie.[16]

His 2023 book, Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History, is set to become a limited series.

Personal life[edit]

Mezrich has been married to Tonya M. Chen since 2006; they write the Charlie Numbers series together.[1] He lives in Boston.[17]




  • Threshold (1996, ISBN 0-446-60521-2)
  • Reaper (1998, ISBN 0-06-018751-4)
  • Fertile Ground (1999, ISBN 0-06-109798-5)
  • The X-Files: Skin (2000, ISBN 0-06-105644-8)
  • Skeptic (written under the pen name Holden Scott) (2000, ISBN 0-312-96928-7)
  • The Carrier (written under the pen name Holden Scott) (2001, ISBN 0-312-97858-8)
  • Seven Wonders (2014, ISBN 978-0762453825)
  • The Midnight Ride (2022, ISBN 978-1538754634)


Juvenile fiction[edit]

Other projects[edit]

Mezrich was the co-host of season 3 of the GSN series World Series of Blackjack and World Blackjack Tour. He also represented Massachusetts as a contestant in the Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant on Fox in 2000.[22] Fatal Error is a TBS premiere movie adaptation of his second book, Reaper, starring Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Robert Wagner. Skin was originally written as an X-Files episode. Rigged was optioned by Mark Cuban's company 2929, as was Q, a work of fiction by Mezrich. Ugly Americans has been optioned by Summit, with a screenplay written by Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Quiet American, and also a draft completed by Mezrich himself.


  1. ^ a b "Tonya Chen and Ben Mezrich". The New York Times. September 10, 2006.
  2. ^ "Ben Mezrich: Based on a True Story". CNBC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  3. ^ "Reuben Saul Mezrich MD". How does your doctor bill Medicare? Find out in ProPublica's Treatment Tracker. ProPublica. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  4. ^ Rivlin, Gary (December 30, 2007). "A Strategy Up Their Sleeves". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  5. ^ "MIT Blackjack Movie Set for Release". Online Casino News. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  6. ^ Gonzalez, John (March 2008). "Ben Mezrich: Based on a True Story". Boston magazine. Metrocorp, Inc. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2008.
  7. ^ "House of Cards". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 'House of Cards' Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  8. ^ Bennett, Drake (April 6, 2008). "House of cards". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 6, 2008.
  9. ^ Bellafante, Gina (May 23, 2004). "What Do Men Really Want (To Read About)?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  10. ^ "ThePOGG Interviews – Semyon Dukach – MIT Card Counting Team Captain". Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  11. ^ ""Author tackles Facebook, controversy with new book" by Mark Egan, Reuters, July 15, 2009". Reuters. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  12. ^ Booklist, May 1, 2014 v110 i17 p42
  13. ^ "Seven Wonders". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  14. ^ Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2014 v261 i24 p56
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 1, 2021). "MGM Lands Rights To Ben Mezrich's Book Proposal 'The Antisocial Network'; Would Chronicle Recent Wall Street-GameStop Chaos". Deadline. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  16. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 4, 2022). "Craig Gillespie To Direct GameStop Stock Pic For MGM Based On Ben Mezrich's Book 'The Antisocial Network'". Deadline. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  17. ^ Jasnoff, Brittany (December 3, 2019). "Q&A: Partners and Co-Authors Ben and Tonya Mezrich". Boston Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  18. ^ Leddy, Chuck (December 27, 2007). "In 'Rigged', Mezrich Ups the Ante on Wall Street". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
  19. ^ Moses, Asher (July 9, 2009). "Did Facebook founder eat koala?". Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  20. ^ Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (February 3, 2021). "'The Antisocial Network,' Book About GameStop, Is Sold to Hachette Unit". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  21. ^ "House Financial Services Committee". May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  22. ^ "The Sexiest Bachelor in America". Retrieved January 25, 2008.

External links[edit]