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Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft Paperback – October 30, 2012
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The virtual world he imagined is now as real as concrete ... the very fabric of a twenty-first century that he and a tiny club of others literally invented. Shy, humble, brilliant ... Paul Allen's intellect and generosity of spirit are there on every page. Bono Paul's natural curiosity will always guide him into uncharted waters. Whether it's a newfangled device called the personal computer; exploring the bottom of the sea or deep space; music, movies, and museums; or perhaps his most significant adventure so far-the human brain-two things are certain: It won't be the same afterward, and it will be an extraordinary journey. Peter Gabriel Paul is a true adventurer in every sense of the word and, as a friend, he is both loyal and generous of spirit. His ideas have helped shape the world we live in, and witnessing the way his mind works is like watching a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo: you have no idea how he does it, but it blows your mind. Dave Stewart This son of Oklahoma, by way of Seattle, electrocuted a classmate, soldered his skin, gassed the family pet, purposely crashed systems, dove in Dumpsters for coffee-stained printouts, and went on to create the engine that changed the world. Dan Ackroyd --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Paul Allen is the billionaire technologist and philanthropist who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates. He is the chairman of Vulcan Inc. and founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. He also owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, and is co-owner of the Seattle Sounders pro soccer team. He lives on Mercer Island, Washington.
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Top customer reviews
Contrary to the press reports, this book draws a neutral portrait of Bill Gates. He is both highly praised and criticized. The book truly delivers an unvarnished view of Bill Gates and the beginnings of Microsoft. If you are into tech-history, this book should not be missed.
I think the title "Idea Man" is spot-on. Paul is the founding Visionary of Microsoft. He had the world-changing ideas and inspirations. But it was mostly Bill Gates who sorted them out and drove Paul Allen and rest of Microsoft's employees to execute those ideas into a reality. It is important to note that game changing ideas at Microsoft were somewhat lacking after Paul Allen left Microsoft. Instead, Microsoft became more like Bill Gates, an entity that is ruthless, sucessful, and technically brilliant. Yet, Microsoft lacked a vision and played mostly catchup to other visionary companies and ideas (Netscape, Apple, smartPhones, tablets, game consoles etc). I am convinced that Microsoft may have been a different and a more visionary company if Paul Allen had stayed.
I have also read the two books written by Bill Gates. In both books, Bill Gates gives strong endorsement and credit to Paul Allen for the co-founding of Microsoft. The two men have known each other for over 40 years and grew up together. The bond between the two seems very deep.
1)This book is written in an extremely fluid style. I am not sure if Paul hired a ghostwriter, but if the book was mostly first-hand written, then I am impressed.
2)Paul Allen provides details on his days with Bill Gates at Lakeside school, Harvard, and Microsoft. When Paul Allen asked Bill Gates how large their software company could be, Bill replied "about 35 employees" and Paul Allen thought that was little ambitious.
3)The story of the founding and the early days of Microsoft was very engaging. It kept me up until 4am reading this book.
1)Where is the sage advice? What would have Paul Allen done differently? He takes a passive retroactive account of his past, and does not delve too much into the lessons he has learned from them.
2)Where is the analysis of the past, the current, and the future state of technology? I am especially interested on Paul Allen's take on technology's future 10-20 years down the road.
3)This book is missing huge parts of Paul Allen's life. Paul Allen writes mostly about his relationship with his parents and Bill Gates. I don't think one could categorize this book as a complete autobiography.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. This book is not written as a completely autobiography. Yet, it provides rich details on many things people would find interesting and engaging.
I don't think people realize the other things he is doing - his brain project for instance - these are things that could and are having tremendous impact on humanity.
I came away with not only good insight, but certainly food for thought about much larger things. For one - when you read about the education he and Gates were getting in high school and junior high - it pales to mine and probably most others. I think it shows how the 'right' education, early enough, is really important.
He lays on our shoulders his feelings of first learning he has cancer. His sleepless nights, his idea that perhaps its time to stop and smell the roses. From his explanations we learn that he is compassionate, caring and most sensitive, and agree that he needs to be drama free which also means that he must leave Microsoft and those around him which cause him mental anguish.
I recommend this book for an in depth look into a family who was not rich but struggled to provide the best for their children.
Very, very cool book and worth reading...