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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 story of the founding of the online travel website, Kayak, by inventer and entrepreneur Paul English. Interesting story beyond the DotCom boom is the story of English’ ongoing psychological problems. And then there is Tracy Kidder’s writing, which is always worth the price of admission. I also enjoyed Soul of a New Machine, House, and Among Schoolchildren. I would like to read Good Prose, which he co-write with Richard Todd. ( )
  DanDiercks | Jul 29, 2018 |
The Short of It:

If you are into the start-up culture and enjoy seeing ideas comes to fruition, you will find something of value in this read.

The Rest of It:

This is the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them, becoming “a Pied Piper” of geeks. ~ Indiebound

If you paid attention to the title of this post, you’ll see that this was a DNF (did not finish) for me . This is a rarity, especially when it comes to a book club pick, which is what A Truck Full of Money was to me. I try really hard to finish all book club selections but I just could not get past the 45% mark on my Kindle.

It’s well-written, so it’s definitely not the writing that caused me to eventually give up. No, I believe it was the subject matter. I work in Information Technology. I am surrounded by programmers and application developers but within the higher education sector so I expected to be somewhat enlightened to this new world of start-ups but I was bored people! Bored out of my mind.

At one point, Paul English becomes heavily involved in philanthropy and this part interested me because when someone is in possession of that much money, and we are talking quite a bit of money, it’s admirable when they choose to support charitable causes.

Kidder goes back into English’s childhood and here again, I was kind of pulled in only to be pushed away again. It just wasn’t enough for me to keep reading but he was the founder of Kayak.com and battled bipolar disorder to get to where he is today so I’m not really sure what didn’t work for me because his story is certainly compelling.

Have you read A Truck Full of Money? If so, let me know your thoughts.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | May 31, 2018 |
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 |
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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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