on July 17, 2011
For someone branded as a self-absorbant, pompous party animal, Paul Carr exhibits a surprising amount of humility and self awareness that strengthens throughout his journey. THE UPGRADE is an extremely well written hybrid of a diary/travelogue that includes drunken stories, spontaneous adventures, relationship bonding, but most importantly, a self awareness that over-indulgence is not consequence free. A powerful nostalgia for unanchored life. Travel tips included.
on July 14, 2011
I don't read a lot of books like this. Authors that do what most people would consider idiotic and then write about it in a self deprecating manner. It always seems pretty self serving.
But this one is different (although still self serving). I read it for a couple reasons. #1) Because I'm in an industry that Paul writes about (tech) and I know the work of several of the people in the book. It's always fun to read about people that you only "know" professionally and see how these anecdotes mesh with the impressions that you can't help but form about them. and #2) Because Paul is so approachable. I've traded Twitter messages with him during his month in Vegas and followed his antics. Rarely is an author as accessible as he is in his every day life. It makes you want to get to know him and root for him.
And you really do get to know him in this book. To me, it's a book that all at once makes you wish you were Paul Call and at the same time makes you incredibly grateful that your anyone but.
Paul is a great writer and I'm glad he can be as introspective as he is here. He's definitely someone I'd love to have a drink (coffee) with.
on July 17, 2011
I enjoyed this book much more than <em>Bringing Nothing to the Party</em>, in part because in between the tales of drunken excess, there's several pretty practical tips for how to actually afford to live in hotels full-time on a writer's salary. Though perhaps not the point of the book, it was an interesting insight.
If you follow Carr's work online at all (particularly on TechCrunch), several of the names in the book--including Sarah Lacy's--will be familiar. If you're not aware of the circumstances under which they met (I wasn't), it's sort of a fascinating relationship to watch unfold.
The book's a quick read, and good for summer. I recommend it.
on July 18, 2011
Short but sweet...when I first heard of the concept that Mr Carr lives his life with (it's just as cheap to live out of hotels than to live in downtown London), I was skeptical. Putting that concern aside as I got into the book, I quickly traded my skepticism for envy. Although there are a number of circumstances that I do not have the urban survival skills to easily navigate, there are more that I wish I could have. If only I wasn't so tied down to a job requiring me to be in one place and all too tied to my earthly possessions< i could see doing this.
A final thought...is it the modern day Thoreau or ascetic monk to live a life with no true anchor? A thought raised by this great book.
on July 17, 2011
This was actually the first of Paul Carr's books that I've read, though I had read several of his Guardian columns and TechCrunch pieces over the years. To say I enjoyed it would be a grave understatement...I think I'd finished reading within 6 hours of the download, basically ignoring my kids & other responsibilities for the entirety of that time. The story takes you on a journey from London to New York, Vegas, San Francisco, Spain, Iceland and other locales, but much more importantly it takes you along on the author's personal journey. As the book progressed, I found myself wishing I had met him when I was single, then flooded with relief that in fact I had not, and then feeling worried for and sightly horrified by him, only to have the worry replaced by pride at what he had learned and accomplished at the end. You really do come to know Paul Carr in this book. He's hilarious, self-deprecating, clever, and a real jackass plenty of the time. Exactly the sort of person with whom I'd like to be friends. I loved the book, is what I'm saying here.
on August 18, 2011
I read this book in a few hours, I couldn't put it down. Paul is at his best: writing about himself. You get to go with him on a journey through NYC, Las Vegas, San Francisco and fancy european villas. This is not just a trip around the word's tech hubs, it's a journey down the spiral and back up again.