In first live interview in five years, Ben Mezrich offers insight into writing



Ben Mezrich visited Brookline High School on Oct. 12 to talk about his work as a writer, in a discussion and Q and A moderated by USA Today writer Hank Philippi Ryan. Mezrich’s writing has spawned many media adaptations, including Aaron Sorkin’s 2010 hit The Social Network.

Huddled together in the new 22 Tappan auditorium on Oct. 12, a crowd of excited fans were first-hand witnesses to author Ben Mezrich’s first live interview in five years.

Mezrich is a successful author from Boston, most well known for his books “Bringing Down the House” and “The Accidental Billionaires,” the latter of which spawned the blockbuster hit movie “The Social Network.”

The interview was organized by the Brookline Public Library Board of Trustees, with many members present. It ran from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sitting down with USA Today author and investigative journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mezrich said he was thrilled to return to live interviews after the pandemic.

“It’s so exciting to be here with you all face to face,” Mezrich said. “It’s been around five years since I’ve gotten to do something like this.”

Throughout the interview Mezrich discussed his various novels, going into depth on his 2015 book “Once Upon a Time in Russia.” Mezrich said he entangled himself with the stories of the powerful Russian oligarchs while researching the book.

“The process of writing that book really brought me into danger,” Mezrich said. “I was scared to walk on busy streets or eat food for a few months after finishing that book.”

Ryan, who interviewed Mezrich, said she’s a big personal and academic admirer of his, and was very happy for the opportunity to interview him.

“Ben is the most exuberant, hilarious, wonderful, smart, funny person I know. I’ve been a fan of his since moment one,” Ryan said. “He’s truly smart, does incredible research, and is one of the most cinematic writers there is.”

Following the interview, a Q&A segment with Mezrich began where audience members could ask him questions. A father asked Mezrich for writing advice for his 13-year-old daughter, who hopes to be an author one day.

“My best advice is to focus on pages and not time,” Mezrich said. “Don’t say you’ll write for six hours for the day, say you’ll write six pages for the day. Also, be aware of the current environment for authors. There are so many opportunities for aspiring writers, such as in magazines, TikTok and so on.”

Brookline Public Library Board of Trustees member Kristin Hung said she was very pleased to have Mezrich come to BHS.

“I’m so happy he came,” Hung said. “It’s not everyday you get to meet and hear someone who has done so much for writing and influenced the world so much.”