• The Founders

  • The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley
  • By: Jimmy Soni
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
  • Length: 18 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (382 ratings)

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The Founders

By: Jimmy Soni
Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
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Publisher's Summary

National Bestseller * New York Times Editors’ Choice * Financial Times “Books to Read in 2022”

“A gripping account of PayPal’s origins and a vivid portrait of the geeks and contrarians who made its meteoric rise possible” (The Wall Street Journal)—including Elon Musk, Amy Rowe Klement, Peter Thiel, Julie Anderson, Max Levchin, Reid Hoffman, and many others whose stories have never been shared.

Today, PayPal’s founders and earliest employees are considered the technology industry’s most powerful network. Since leaving PayPal, they have formed, funded, and advised the leading companies of our era, including Tesla, Facebook, YouTube, SpaceX, Yelp, Palantir, and LinkedIn, among many others. As a group, they have driven twenty-first-century innovation and entrepreneurship. Their names stir passions; they’re as controversial as they are admired.

Yet for all their influence, the story of where they first started has gone largely untold. Before igniting the commercial space race or jumpstarting social media’s rise, they were the unknown creators of a scrappy online payments start-up called PayPal. In building what became one of the world’s foremost companies, they faced bruising competition, internal strife, the emergence of widespread online fraud, and the devastating dot-com bust of the 2000s. Their success was anything but certain.

In The Founders: The Story of PayPal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley, award-winning author and biographer Jimmy Soni explores PayPal’s turbulent early days. With hundreds of interviews and unprecedented access to thousands of pages of internal material, he shows how the seeds of so much of what shapes our world today—fast-scaling digital start-ups, cashless currency concepts, mobile money transfer—were planted two decades ago. He also reveals the stories of countless individuals who were left out of the front-page features and banner headlines but who were central to PayPal’s success.

Described as “an intensely magnetic chronicle” (The New York Times) and “engrossing” (Business Insider), The Founders is a story of iteration and inventiveness—the products of which have cast a long and powerful shadow over modern life. This narrative illustrates how this rare assemblage of talent came to work together and how their collaboration changed our world forever.

©2022 Jimmy Soni. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Founders

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Wonderful, Engaging & Insightful

This book was well written and kept me engaged throughout its entirety. The author was unbiased in his approach and provided enjoyable insights about Max Levchins & his technological prowess along with David Sacks and his masterful operational abilities.

1 person found this helpful

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Story of PayPal founders

The story is narrated in engaging way. It might be a bit long but provides a lot of details of PayPal formation as a company, different ideas that they tested and pivots they went through.
It's a good read for any startup founder.

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Loved it

A lot of a great information on how to be a better cofounder and how much work it really takes.

I’ve read on Thiel and Musk, but this books does a good job showing you their differences and PayPal behind the glamour and glitz

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Remarkable story of innovation and persistence

Inspiring story of how an odd group of entrepreneurs with some luck and sheer will built PayPal. One key takeaway was how many decisions by smart people were in retrospect somewhat boneheaded. (My favorite was the over-emphasis on beaming money between palm pilots.) And yet they persevered and iterated until they found a hit.

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Long story on PayPal and Silicon Valley 20 years ago

The research for this story is profound and I can only marvel at the amount of facts, emails and conversations the author collected. However, an author does not need to add everything he found to a book. It is too verbose, repetitive and frankly at times boring. It would have benefited to have a strong editor to cut several chapters and/or repetitions and concentrate more on conclusive content rather than adding quote on quote, sometimes in a non coherent fashion.

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Great story with good detail and narration

Fantastic read for anyone looking for business inspiration and historical PayPal accuracy. Awesome book

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This book should be made into a movie @readingwithenrique

print(“For anyone who dreams of changing the world and bringing their vision to life — Start Here”)

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Captivating

I usually judge a book by how eager I am to be done and when I start increasing the audible playback speed. This was one of the rare books that I felt sad when it was over. Well written and a truly compelling story. Highly recommend!

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Good history on the cofounders and Elon musk beginnings

This was a great book and interesting stories on how PayPal got started, it’s murky relationship with eBay, and the origins of Elon musk.

The only downside I had with the book was it seemed to take longer to explain things then necessary which made it seem to drag at times.

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🤯

love this story and especially the epilogue which really helps add a perspective and round lessons covered throughout the book.