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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 classic 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

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Whole lotta of nothing

empty. weak. shallow. looking for more adjectives to describe the loss of the credit I used to buy this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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  • 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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Paul Allen was a visionary

I live in Seattle we knew Paul Allen owned the Seahawks and Blazer and was Co-founder of Microsoft. however after listening to this book I believe Mr Allen was an extraordinary visionary. More so than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. he just did it without the spotlight. I believe after listening to this book you will agree.

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Great Book

This was a great book and Paul Allen was a good man! This book was a good telling of the history of the Personal Computer and Paul's life.

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Would rate 6 stars if I could

I may be a little bit biased because I am both a programmer and a huge NBA fan. It felt like the book was written specifically for me. I loved the deep dives into how they made all the different technology work at Microsoft, learning about the history of computing, and especially the behind the scenes of what it’s like buying and running NBA team. The narration was fantastic as well. I only wish I read this while Paul Allen was still living (may he Rest In Peace)

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Never knew I had so much in common

Great listen. I liked him before and now I think we were brothers from a different mother.

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Must Read for All Technies

Not only an inspiring story for all technies and tech entrepreneurs, this is THE story of computers as we know it today.