Ben Mezrich (born February 7, 1969) is an American author.
Mezrich in 2011
February 7, 1969|
|Alma mater||Harvard University (BA)|
|Known for||author of the book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions|
|Spouse(s)||Tonya M. Chen (2006–; 1 child)|
Mezrich was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Molli Newman, a lawyer, and Reuben Mezrich, a chairman of radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 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. Some of his books have been written under the pseudonym Holden Scott. He is known for his non-fiction books.
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 MIT 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. The story was made into the movie 21, released in 2008. Despite being categorised 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.
In 2004, Mezrich published a new book called Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions. Also a nonfiction work, this book recounts the exploits of an American named John Malcolm, who was an assistant securities trader.
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".
In 2007, Mezrich published Rigged 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." 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.
2014 saw the release of Seven Wonders, Mezrich's 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. 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".
- Threshold (1996, ISBN 0-446-60521-2)
- Reaper (1998, ISBN 0-06-018751-4)
- Fertile Ground (1999, ISBN 0-06-109798-5)
- Skin (a story set as an X-Files episode), (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)
- Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions (2002, ISBN 0-7432-4999-2)
- Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions (2004, ISBN 0-06-057500-X)
- Busting Vega$: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees (2005, ISBN 0-06-057512-3)
- Rigged: The Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, From Wall Street to Dubai (2007, ISBN 0-06-125272-7)
- The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (2009, ISBN 0-385-52937-6)
- Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History (2011, ISBN 0-385-53392-6)
- 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 . . . (2013, ISBN 0-0622-4009-9)
- Seven Wonders (2014, ISBN 978-0762453825)
- Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder (2015, ISBN 978-1476771892)
- The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway (Sept. 2016)
- Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures (Due July 4, 2017, ISBN 978-1501135552)
Mezrich was the co-host of season 3 of the GSN series The World Series of Blackjack and the World Blackjack Tour. He also represented Massachusetts as a contestant in the Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant on Fox in 2000. 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 2929 as well as "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.
- "Tonya Chen and Ben Mezrich". The New York Times. September 10, 2006.
- 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.
- "MIT Blackjack Movie Set for Release". Online Casino News. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
- 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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. MickeyRosa.com 'House of Cards' Retrieved July 31, 2008.
- Bennett, Drake (April 6, 2008). "House of cards". Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- 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 2008-01-25.
- "ThePOGG Interviews – Semyon Dukach – MIT Card Counting Team Captain". Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- "Author tackles Facebook, controversy with new book" by Mark Egan, Reuters, July 15, 2009
- Booklist, May 1, 2014 v110 i17 p42
- Running Press website, 9/15/14: http://www.runningpress.com/book/hardcover/seven-wonders/9780762453825
- Publishers Weekly, June 16, 2014 v261 i24 p56
- Leddy, Chuck (December 27, 2007). "In 'Rigged', Mezrich Ups the Ante on Wall Street". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- Moses, Asher (July 9, 2009). "Did Facebook founder eat koala?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- "The Sexiest Bachelor in America". Retrieved 2008-01-25.