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Publisher's Summary

By his early 30s, Paul Allen was a world-famous billionaire. And that was just the beginning.

In 2007 and 2008, Time named Paul Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft, one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Since he made his fortune, his impact has been felt in science, technology, business, medicine, sports, music, and philanthropy. His passion, curiosity, and intellectual rigor - combined with the resources to launch and support new initiatives - have literally changed the world.

In 2009 Allen discovered that he had lymphoma, lending urgency to his desire to share his story for the first time. In this long-awaited memoir, Allen explains how he has solved problems, what he's learned from his many endeavors - both the triumphs and the failures - and his compelling vision for the future. He reflects candidly on an extraordinary life.

The book also features previously untold stories about everything from the true origins of Microsoft to Allen's role in the dawn of private space travel (with SpaceShipOne) and in discoveries at the frontiers of brain science. With honesty, humor, and insight, Allen tells the story of a life of ideas made real.

©2011 Paul Allen (P)2011 Penguin

What members say

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The part about Microsoft is good

Any additional comments?

Great account of Microsoft's early years. Too bad it is only a third of the book. The rest is about Allen's other activities, which are not so interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 12-03-11

an interesting journey

Two part book. First, an inside look at the journey of a curious kid from his days mixing household chemicals in the basement through his co-founding and eventual departure from Microsoft. Second, a primer on how not to go shopping after hitting the jackpot.
Sadly, no mention of the egregious "patent troll" behavior by Vulcan, especially on small and growing tech start-ups.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dustin
  • Walton, KY, United States
  • 12-02-11

Pretty good

This biography was a mixed bag. The parts about Allen's relationship with Bill Gates before Microsoft, and about his time working at Microsoft, were great. It really makes you realize how intergel Microsoft was at the time. They were involved with so much, listening to Allen talk about it was almost like reading Fire In The Valley. It was like hearing a complete early history of personal computers. When Allen finishes talking about Microsoft he gives his take on the computer industry, and it's pretty awesome to hear his perspective on the industry today. I really enjoyed these parts of the book. With that said, the beginning, before Allen meets Gates, and the parts about owning a basketball team and the non-tech investments he made after Microsoft were incredibly boring. I couldn't take it and ended up skipping these chapters. Finally near the end he starts talking about his tech investments. This part wasn't bad, but his involvement with his tech investments are never as interesting as his involvement with Microsoft. It really makes you wonder if he was as passionate about these investments as he was about Microsoft. Overall I'd say if you're into tech like I am then reading this is a no-brainer... you'll just end up skipping the boring parts like me. The parts I mentioned that were interesting are well worth the price tag.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Awesome life story

Strength through adversity, how to build a successful business despite a battle with cancer. A testament to human resilience and perseverance! I genuinely enjoyed this book!

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I love this book.

I truly loved every minute of this book. It held my interest every step of the way. When was finished I wanted more, so I've been searching for other books written by Paul Allen.

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Best autobiography

There is far more to Paul Allen's story then "just" co-founder of Microsoft. His multi-faceted interests span life. Told in a compelling, yet intimate voice, this is the most interesting autobiography I have ever read.

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Fascinating, but I got bored by the end

I loved the story in this book. There were many facts about the origins of Microsoft I didn't know, which were very interesting. However, as Mr. Allen's life kept morphing into different phases, the story became a little long in the tooth, and I have to say I was happy when I reached the end! Not so much as a sign of accomplishment, but rather of relief!!

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Fascinating to hear this "inside" viewpoint

The man behind the many achievements finally gets to tell his version! Glad I read it.

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A great biography

Some of the most brilliant people keep a low profile, so it was fascinating to get an inside look at Paul's life and career.

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Creative

Idea man by Paul Allen gives an opportunity for the listener to get an understanding of how Microsoft came about. In addition, shows the creativeness of Paul Allen kind of sits behind the shadow of Bill Gates. After reading idea man one would have a better appreciation of Microsoft and Paul Allen's contributions to the company.

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