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An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur Paperback – February 1, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Inside Flap
From volunteering to set up an automated filing system for his local library to helping the Japanese government respond to the 2011 tsunami, an unwavering commitment to putting his technical savvy at the disposal of those who need it most has defined Saito's career. As a result, he has become a preeminent authority on homeland security, as well as a friend to young start-ups around the globe. He has been a judge for Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award as well as a winner of this prestigious prize.
Saito knows exactly what makes a company a winner, and he can identify the little things that prevent promising new ventures from ever making it big. In An Unprogrammed Life, he takes a lifetime of wisdom public. Ending each chapter with actionable "takeaway" advice, this book is a must-read for anyone looking to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Top Customer Reviews
He starts his business journey at an early age in Los Angeles and builds his US software company while still pursuing his education. Company owners will appreciate his successes and failures, and many will be surprised to learn that they've used many of his programs/products on a daily basis. Having achieved success in the United States, Saito returns to Japan and immerses himself in understanding how Japanese companies and government work (or don't work).
One of Saito's underlying themes is the importance of volunteering and assisting those in need. His response to Japan's triple earthquake/tsunami/meltdown disaster shows how one man can affect change based simply on compassion, common sense and business savvy.
Despite his success, Saito relentlessly continues to expand his experiences in business and public service arenas while selflessly teaching and inspiring a new generation.
This is not your standard successful entrepreneur vanity book; this is a story of passion, commitment and hard work. I recommend An Unprogrammed Life to anyone seeking inspiration, start-up advice or just a fine read. Those who care to learn more are also advised to read his essay in McKinsey's Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works.
The best part of this book chronicles Saito's childhood. He breezed through math on his own. He was sent to a private high school, Damien, where he joined the debate team (gaining lifelong benefits) and learned to appreciate English literature.
Bored with high school, Saito wandered over to a community college, where he discovered he could take courses even as a young teen. Along the way he met his friend Tas, who was to become his lifelong partner. Before taking off for college, he spend a year studying culinary arts.
Saito has a gift for shaping his world. In high school, he used his required service hours to set up databases for worthy nonprofits. In college, he programed the phones in his dorm so kids who were living off-campus wouldn't miss calls from parents. He did a pre-med course of study and actually completed medical school, at the behest of his Japanese parents, although he never practiced.
Saito's values are summed up on page 39, when he describes how he skipped his senior year of high school to graduate early. Originally he was told, "It can't be done." He writes, "Sure enough, I didn't get what I wanted. I *created* what I wanted. Big difference. I set up an accelerated program ...I was able to skip my entire senior year at Damien and graduate at 16. Not only was I the first student ever to do so ... but I believe I am still the only student who has ever done so."
The last part of the book deals with Saito's experiences in business. This section is somewhat drier - it's a series of business deals and experiences - but still interesting.Read more ›
The book is generally well-written though I found the narrative more gripping at the beginning than towards the end. As others have mentioned there are occasionally infuriating lack of specifics and generalities that can be frustrating for the reader. Still, this minor gripe aside, it's still a fascinating read about the sort of person you just don't come across very frequently.
In "An Unprogrammed Life" he shares his insights and experiences about personal success, community, hard work, setting goals, technology, etc.
This is a great, well-written book that will appeal to anyone who is interested in what it means to be fulfilled and successful in this day in age- no matter what your age or station in life.
His parents were not equipped to tutor him in medicine, but they could help him in mathematics, and did they ever! While in the lower grades, he became proficient in advanced high school math. When he was in high school, he wanted out. He thought he ought to be able to graduate after three years, but was told it couldn't be done. No one had ever done it. No one ever could. He did it.
Saito's autobiography particularly resonates with me because it reads much like the story of the man I wish in so many ways I could have been. Many of the things he did read like amplified, glorified versions of things I did or tried to do (and he did much better).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Talk about multi-tasking. Wow. Seems like one has to also be multi-tasking to keep up with the reading. Read morePublished 20 months ago by R.L.D.
This book read like an autobiography, as it should have.
No real "entrepreneurial wisdom" beyond the basics. It was written in a very "dry" tone, but Mr. Read more
This book will not bore you at all. It is much more interesting than I expected it to be. It will even make you laugh, like when he blew up his toy robot trying to make nitro... Read morePublished on April 8, 2013 by Slim
This book is probably exceptional for someone who is young, feels entrepreneurial and isn't sure where to start but is looking for some motivation to keep that feeling alive. Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by Dave Lakhani
William Saito isn't a household name, but reading his book, he comes across as the Forrest Gump of the '90s tech bubble, seemingly cropping up everywhere. Read morePublished on December 24, 2012 by Trevor Burnham
I truly enjoyed reading the story of William Saito's life, thus far. One of the things that appealed to me is that he spent much of his life living very close to an area where I... Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by Midwest Yogini
I expected this book to be a little bit dry, because of the subject, but it turned out to be interesting and fun. Read morePublished on September 20, 2012 by Ann P.
The thing I appreciated most about this book was how much he took your through his young life to show the beginnings of someone who is passionate and "talented. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Debra