A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder

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Kidder is on familiar ground here, weaving themes of technology, philanthropy and human obsession found in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Soul of a New Machine” and bestselling “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” And he delivers his signature strength, which stitches extraordinary people into the context of their times.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

“A perfectly executed, exquisitely reported parable of the Internet age and the wild, mad adventure that is start-up culture.”—Charles Duhigg

Fortune, mania, genius, philanthropy—the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, the founder of Kayak.com and Lola.

Tracy Kidder, the “master of the nonfiction narrative” (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the bestselling classic The Soul of a New Machine, now tells the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them, becoming “a Pied Piper” of geeks. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observes: “Someday this boy’s going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I’m going to be standing beside him.” Yet when English does indeed make a fortune, when the travel website Kayak is sold for almost two billion dollars—the first thing he thinks about is how to give the money away: “What else would you do with it?” The second thing he thinks is, What’s next?

With the power of a consummate storyteller, Tracy Kidder casts a fresh, critical, and often humorous eye on the way new ideas and new money are reshaping our culture and the world. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself.

Praise for A Truck Full of Money

“Kidder’s prose glides with a figure skater’s ease, but without the glam. His is a seemingly artless art, like John McPhee’s, that conceals itself in sentences that are necessary, economical, and unpretentious.”—The Boston Globe

“Kidder’s portrayal of living with manic depression is as nuanced and intimate as a reader might ever expect to get. . . . You can’t help admiring Mr. English and cheering for him.”—The New York Times

“[A] powerful and insightful tale that makes the Internet era entertaining, and defines English as an endearing, generous and eccentric geek.”—USA Today

“At times, the narrative of the young technologist, at least in Kidder’s hands, seems the modern equivalent of the story of the godless wayfarer who stumbles into a cathedral in a distant city, only to find that its vaulting arches and organ music bring on exaltations of mind and spirit.”—The New York Times Book Review

“What kind of entrepreneur talks about making money as if it’s, well, kind of a bummer? You’ll ask yourself that question about a dozen or so pages into A Truck Full of Money, Tracy Kidder’s expertly reported, deftly written new book that tracks the rise of unconventional software executive and Kayak.com co-founder Paul English.”—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Kidder writes beautifully, creating an engaging storyline while avoiding clichés and pretention. . . . Readers are in for a fascinating ride.”—The National Book Review


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Tracy Kidder

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TRACY KIDDER graduated from Harvard University and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine. MICHAEL FRENCH has published twenty books, including fiction for adults and young adults, biographies, and art criticism. He has adapted many acclaimed adult works for young people. Michael French divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 
Published September 20, 2016 by Random House. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for A Truck Full of Money
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 19 2016

While eminently readable as a biography, Kidder’s book is also a trenchant study of the new American economy and the technological world that built it. More engrossing work from a gifted practitioner of narrative nonfiction.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Sep 13 2016

Before the sensibility of Tracy Kidder’s new book clearly emerges, and before its subject, Paul English, becomes endearingly familiar, you may be tempted to put it down. The first few chapters of “A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover From Great Success” have the sound of a glossy business-magazine hagiography...

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by JACQUI BANASZYNSKI on Sep 30 2016

Kidder is on familiar ground here, weaving themes of technology, philanthropy and human obsession found in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Soul of a New Machine” and bestselling “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” And he delivers his signature strength, which stitches extraordinary people into the context of their times.

Read Full Review of A Truck Full of Money | See more reviews from Star Tribune

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by David Hayes on Sep 30 2016

Kidder’s style as a nonfiction writer, which he has described as “the voice of a person who (is) well-informed, fair-minded and temperate,” is sometimes a bit too judicious.

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Reader Rating for A Truck Full of Money
75%

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