Idea Man by Paul Allen

Book Review : Idea Man

By Paul Allen

  • Publication Date: 2011-04-19
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
3.5 Score: 3.5 (From 145 Ratings)

Book Review

By his early thirties, 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 hundred 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.

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User Reviews

  • honest, funny and important history

    By macarde
    I really enjoyed reading this book. It has been criticized for not being personal but I thought the early life stories were funny and give insight to why he was so successful. I don't think it was as negative as the news has made it toward Bill Gates. It was interesting for the non-techy and just demonstrates how hard work can pay off. Paul Allen is very critical of himself and I don't get where this bitter billionaire statement is coming from. Like every one else we would like to read about the glamour, but it was really not part of the story he was trying to tell. He is still friends with his first love, which tells you something about his character. Looking forward to book two.
  • Idea man

    By Panoramic iPhoner
    Probably less interesting to the person who is not somewhat familiar with Paul Allen's life... but for as much as I thought I knew, there was lots more too learn. It's great to be apart of the Seattle benefits Paul has provided. As a Hodgkins survivor myself, I also found inspiration in his battling cancer twice... and living through it and pressing on!
  • Idea man

    By Jeffseattle
    I liked this book a great deal. Paul wrote a heartfelt book that included the good and the bad of his relationship with Bill Gates set forth in a fair and honest way. The media has focused solely on that part, but the book is so much more. I am a Seattilite and I live a few minutes drive from where Paul grew up and a stone's throw from Bill's childhood home. Paul gets far too little credit for all he has contributed to our city, mostly because he doesn't seek it. His civic contributions and unselfishness in donating his wealth to bettering humanity as a whole don't get the recognition deserved, primarily because he refuses to sit for interviews and avoids the press. I for one thank him for all he has devoted to Seattle and society as a whole. Bill may have ended up with more money, but Paul got far more experience, and at the end of the day, you can't put a price on that. Thanks for the book, and my sincere gratitude for your unselfish contributions to all of us.
  • Great!

    By movies_music
    It's great to have the other side of the story. The book is a great read where the author tells a story that delivers both the facts and the context in which they take place.
  • Idea Man

    By Kmullaney
    I found the "post Microsoft" sections of this book very hard to read... Almost painful. I do not doubt that Paul Allen is extremely smart and very talented, but the accounts of his post Microsoft endeavors sound more like a man trying to prove he is a visionary despite epic failures. For all the faults that he so readily points out in Bill Gates, it is clear that Gates was the driver of Microsoft and the only reason Paul has the money to waste on things like listening for aliens. A true friend of Paul's would have read this as a manuscript and immediately talked the author out of publishing it. Sadly, Paul has no such friend.