Off the Cuff

Best-Selling Author: “If I Weren’t a Writer, I Would Be Homeless”

Off the Cuff

“The best advice I got was write, write, write because if you're a writer you have to write every day - as much as you can - and everything else kind of just falls to the side. You have to be obsessive,” the author Ben Mezrich told Off The Cuff. Some of Mezrich’s best-known works are 'Bringing Down the House:The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions' which was adapted for film and released as '21' and 'The Accidental Billionaires:The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal ' which he helped develop into the movie 'The Social Network'.

Mezrich is a self-styled gonzo writer of non-fiction, whose stories focus on “young geniuses” making their fortunes with their wits and questionable ethics. Mezrich's books have made him a fortune. By one estimate, Mezrich has a net worth of $35 million. ‘Bringing Down the House’ spent sixty-three weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, and sold more than two- million copies, in fifteen languages. ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ was on the list for eighteen weeks. “I think wealth to me is being able to pick up and go when you want, where you want to go, live how you want to live. It’s not necessarily a Ferrari parked out front or a massive beach house. But it is the ability to, on a Wednesday, to get up and fly somewhere,” he said.

Some critics have accused Mezrich of playing fast and loose with the facts of the stories he relates. He says that he “disappears into his stories,” which can make balancing work and real life complicated. “It’s pretty intense, it’s kind of insane kind of a circus act… balancing kids and writing and especially the kind of writing I do which is very get inside the story and live in this kind of wild rides to talk about the kids that I write about. You have to balance that with being a normal person which has always been kind of hard,” he said.

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Mezrich told Off The Cuff that he’d wanted to write since he was twelve years old. If he hadn’t fulfilled that ambition, "I would probably be homeless," he laughed, "if I weren’t a writer I would have probably gone into finance but I would have been horrible at it - because I’m awful at math and numbers, and I’m really bad with authority, so I don’t take orders well.”

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