Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A TRUCK FULL OF MONEY by Tracy Kidder Audio Edition

By Tracy Kidder; Read by Paul Michael
Random House Audio

    Success stories are always fascinating reading and are also often stories from which we may learn.  Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder tells the remarkable and perhaps unlikely life story of a software engineer and entrepreneur.

    Little in Paul English’s early life indicated that he would ever be a billionaire or the founder of a mega successful company.  He grew up poor in working-class Boston where he often got into fights and graduated close to the bottom of his high school class.  However, his outstanding SAT scores won him a tuition-free scholarships at the University of Massachusetts.  Still an unmotivated young fellow he attended college not knowing where it would lead.  As a teenager he’d shown a talent for computers, which is putting it mildly as he created programs that allowed him to change his computer teacher’s attendance files.  When he found the University’s computer science department he was off.

    What he learned there as well as the programming jobs he did outside the University made him realize the value of programmers and he met those who were as eccentric as he was.  After English earned his Master’s Degree he first worked as a coder before joining the management team at Interleaf, a company that made software for technical publishers.  It was around this time, early in his career that he found he also could be a successful entrepreneur and that the manic energy that drove him to hours of work came from bipolar disorder.

    When English left Interleaf he co-founded a a high tech firm, Boston Light, which he sold for a hefty profit the following year.  However, his greatest success was yet to come - the selling of his travel site, Kayak, for 1.8 billion dollars.

    Kidder could not have found a more engaging or energetic subject than English who is always creating something beneficial - his latest is another travel start-up, Lola.  And he is a philanthropist, asking himself what would be the best use of his fortune?  To date he is helping the homeless in Boston and the underprivileged in Haiti.

    A Truck Full Of Money is a terrific listen that almost buzzes with  Paul English’s energy thanks to the narrative skills of Paul Michael.


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