What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big or go belly up , and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. Perhaps my expectations for a book about technology - and the business of technology - were unfair? I rarely read biographies, or much nonfiction at all, but was intrigued enough to give this a try. He wanted to interact with others to get ideas, and even today, that need inspires him to use his own Tesla to drive for Uber, not for the money but because he likes to interact with people, to learn about their ideas. To partner with him, you would risk failure, but when you succeeded, it would be beyond your wildest dreams.
English, who grew up in working-class Boston, possesses a brain that was phenomenally suited to mine the depths of the technology advances this country has experienced in the last 30 years. But he's a rich educated white male, after all, and he has the financial resources to manage his medications and find physicians he likes, not to mention a roof over his head several rooves , and the luxury to take as much time off work as he needs when he's having trouble. Though the book covers the typical topics you'd expect to see in a life story like English's childhood, his various career moves, and descriptions of the key friends and coworkers in his life , it also covers some things that surprised me--for instance, English's bipolar disorder, his extreme discomfort guilt? When Paul first met him, he was 80 years old. If anything, I have a suspicion that it gave the book a little more life than it would have had if told straight and I'd bet that he first composed it in linear chronology, but he or an editor noticed how blah it was - so they mixed it up to give it some jagged momentum. In a strange way, that feels like the beginning of a story, and this one feels like, not the end, but maybe the end of its middle. I had such high hopes for this book.
Kidder can weave facts together to make a great story. I asked Paul if I could blog about it and he asked me to hold off until his publisher said it was ok to do it. English is both beguiling and passionately creative—planning an office space that transforms into a cutting-edge night club or showing up in his Tesla as an Uber driver while conducting research for his new travel company, Lola. Tracy Kidder wrote an amazing book. But it is not just about computers and companies and tons of money, although all of that is present here. I prefer personally the Steve Jobs biography or reading about Bill Gates career and his and Melinda Gates philanthropic work. English grew up in an Irish-Catholic Boston neighborhood.
English was a risk taker, and he sometimes broke rules, even as a school boy. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself. His ventures, large and small, some hare-brained and some brilliant, some failed and some successful, were and still may be, all over the map, but he made fortunes and lost fortunes, because he was in the right time and the right place at the crossroads of an America about to enter cyberspace. During this early period in his career, he discovered that he also had a flair for entrepreneurship. He often judged himself and found he fell short of the mark. . He took time off to care for his father when his memory began to fail.
I try really hard to finish all book club selections but I just could not get past the 45% mark on my Kindle. In a way Paul and his band of close associates almost tend to have a Robin Hood sort of character, taking what the market will allow and willingly pay for and helping many charitable causes. Nothing new in new colorful cover. This was the story of Paul English, founder of Kayak. And except for a gratuitous scene near the end where Paul English tags along in the van with an actual humanitarian giving aid to homeless people of Boston, it's not about giving back. Local Boston stuff, poor kid strikes it rich doing something he loves, a successful battle against mental illness, etc. I jumped at the opportunity to read another book by Tracy Kidder.
And how the manic side, can be both helpful many times and destructive at other times. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself. In part, it is to contemporary computer software what Soul was to 1970s computer hardware. Sort of a rags to riches story with blips along the way. I can see why Tracy Kidder wanted to write about him. It was a rehash of three stories that are already out there: the innovator, the mental health patient and the philanthropist. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made Michael Lewis' work possible.
Tracy Kidder has written some incredible books especially The Soul of a New Machine. The mania part of his illness works positively for him because it keeps him on his toes, thinking and creating constantly. You'll ask yourself that question about a dozen or so pages into A Truck Full of Money, Tracy Kidder's expertly reported, deftly written new book that tracks the rise of unconventional software executive and Kayak. This volume will appeal to fans of biography, technology, and business, as well as lovers of exceptional storytelling. Download the entire issue for the or. But he devotes nearly as much time to the many failures — and to his psychiatric problems.
So what separates the start-ups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants? The major accomplishment for English was the creation and development of Kayak. By the way, English insisted that Kidder tell the whole story with complete honesty. I wanted the book to cover his struggle founding a company and getting rich or, really, any struggle at all , but this is addressed mostly as back-story. Would you be willing to give A Truck Full of Money a Chance, and argue with me about this review? Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Kidder describes how English coped as a child with this disorder, and I really enjoyed that part of the book. So, he always needed to keep busy, busier when he was in a mania phase of his bipolar disease, but it was his passion that stood out most for those people who worked with him or listened to him or attended his classes.