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A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder

A Truck Full of Money

by Tracy Kidder

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The CD, read by Paul Michael, was GREAT! There were so many interesting details about Paul English and Tracy Kidder was the perfect person to write about him. I'm about to look up several of the companies English was involved with. It will be fascinating to see what happens next in his life---will Kidder provide an updated book at some point, or perhaps add some chapters? ( )
  nyiper | Oct 16, 2017 |
Paul English used his education in computer science and work as a software engineer to develop several software programs and cofounded companies such as Kayak and Lola. The sale of Kayak to Priceline for over a billion dollars gave him the flexibility to try new things. This biography provides an overview of his childhood and highlights from his professional career. Readers learn about current partner Paul Schwenk, Karl Berry and Bill O’Donnell and other team members that help English achieve success. The book provides insight to the struggles and successes startup companies face and a glimpse at what some call a genus programmer. Although there is a selected bibliography, there are no footnotes or endnotes. This is a superficial look rather than an in depth study of Mr. English’s life. There is not even a photograph of the English in the book.

Goodreads Giveaway randomly chose me to receive this book. Although encouraged, I was under no obligation to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  bemislibrary | Jul 16, 2017 |
I am a huge fan of Tracy Kidder but am overall disappointed in the book. While I did find the inside world of software and the internet and venture capitalism intriguing as well as the minds that inhabit those worlds, Paul English seemed to be an unlikely subject for a book. The soul that Mr. Kidder usually captures so eloquently is missing on this subject. ( )
  bogopea | Feb 13, 2017 |
Pretty good story-line but a bit unfocused. I generally like Kidder's books, but this one seemed to lack one core over-arching theme. "House" or "Soul of anew Machine" both brought you into the single story of the book....this one seemed to bounce between the Dot-Com culture and philanthropy. As a result it seemed a bit scattered at times. But, overall, I'll keep reading whatever Tracy Kidder publishes! #TracyKidder ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Oct 31, 2016 |
Let me first state that I am an unabashed admirer of Tracy Kidder's work. He's my favorite non-fiction writer, and several of his books are among my all-time favorites (The Soul of a New Machine, Mountains Beyond Mountains, House.....). That being said, 'A Truck Full of Money' isn't up to the standards of his best production. It's still well-written, fast-paced, and interesting to a point, but there's not enough there there.

My main problem is with the subject of the book, programmer/entrepreneur Paul English. He doesn't come across as being very likable and neither his backstory nor mental condition are enough to make his story compelling enough to really care about. He may be a 'world-class recruiter' of software development talent, a programming savant, and successful enough entrepreneur to get a lot of money thrown his way, but he's also not Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or even Jeff Bezos. I think if the author went into greater depth on the effects of his mental condition, or his family background (this was covered to some extent, but I think there was much more material that should've been there) Mr. English would appear as a more sympathetic character. To me, though, he was someone who'd be a jerk to work for, a sort of symbol of the excesses of the internet bubble, and an egotist with a mental condition who, when he wasn't spending outrageous amounts of money would occasionally consider doing something charitable with his life.

If you've worked with software developers (as I have) of have a historical interest in the early days of internet applications, you'll probably have the same mixed feelings about this book. It's a good Kidder effort, but certainly nowhere near his best. ( )
  gmmartz | Oct 30, 2016 |
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"Like Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains, Paul English grew up poor, in working-class Boston, but as Tracy Kidder writes, he had "a mind for the age that was coming." Brilliant, reckless, endlessly energetic, Paul English, after Kayak sold for $2 billion, asked himself: What comes next? Start another company? Use his new wealth to make a difference in the world? With a riveting, page-turning narrative and unmatched storytelling skill, Kidder casts a fresh and critical eye on how new technologies and start-ups, new money, are reshaping our culture"--… (more)

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