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A Truck Full of Money (Paperback)

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Like millions of other people, I read Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine over thirty years ago. I never imagined how much computers would be a part of my life and career in the decades to come. And that's kind of the point:  it takes someone with extraordinary gifts to imagine so much change. Kidder's newest book will not seem as groundbreaking as Soul. It's an extended profile of a genius serial entrepreneur (who coincidentally worked once  at Data General, the featured company in Soul). What makes this somewhat different  for a business profile, is that the subject, Paul English--one of the co-founders of the Kayak travel website--is on the bipolar spectrum. He gave Kidder unique access to himself and others to tell his story--depressions, hypomanic episodes, dangerous rages, and business failures are all included. English is a compassionate, philanthropic figure, with a little band of well chosen business partners, who have sensed what he needs without having to ask him about what's wrong with him. They form a "skunkworks" that would follow English even if he didn't have a magnetic attraction for trucks full of money.

— From Carla's Picks


"A perfectly executed, exquisitely reported parable of the Internet age and the wild, mad adventure that is start-up culture."--Charles Duhigg

Fortune, mania, genius, philanthropy--the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, the founder of and Lola.

Tracy Kidder, the "master of the nonfiction narrative" (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the bestselling classic The Soul of a New Machine, now tells 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. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observes: "Someday this boy's going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I'm going to be standing beside him." Yet when English does indeed make a fortune, when the travel website Kayak is sold for almost two billion dollars--the first thing he thinks about is how to give the money away: "What else would you do with it?" The second thing he thinks is, What's next?

With the power of a consummate storyteller, Tracy Kidder casts a fresh, critical, and often humorous eye on the way new ideas and new money are reshaping our culture and the world. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself.

Praise for A Truck Full of Money

"Kidder's prose glides with a figure skater's ease, but without the glam. His is a seemingly artless art, like John McPhee's, that conceals itself in sentences that are necessary, economical, and unpretentious."--The Boston Globe

"Kidder's portrayal of living with manic depression is as nuanced and intimate as a reader might ever expect to get. . . . You can't help admiring Mr. English and cheering for him."--The New York Times

" A] powerful and insightful tale that makes the Internet era entertaining, and defines English as an endearing, generous and eccentric geek."--USA Today

"At times, the narrative of the young technologist, at least in Kidder's hands, seems the modern equivalent of the story of the godless wayfarer who stumbles into a cathedral in a distant city, only to find that its vaulting arches and organ music bring on exaltations of mind and spirit."--The New York Times Book Review

"What kind of entrepreneur talks about making money as if it's, well, kind of a bummer? 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 co-founder Paul English."--The San Francisco Chronicle

"Kidder writes beautifully, creating an engaging storyline while avoiding cliches and pretention. . . . Readers are in for a fascinating ride."--The National Book Review

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Strength in What Remains, My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine. From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780812985351
ISBN-10: 0812985354
Publisher: Random House Trade
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English