Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Idea Man A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft by Paul Allen

Idea Man A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft by Paul Allen

Paul Allen founded Microsoft with Bill Gates.  They went to the same high school together and were close friends.  They also were part of the early history of personal computers.  Microsoft was founded on the program BASIC.  One of the reasons it grew to prominence was also because it designed the disk operating system for IBM. 

Paul Allen does an excellent job describing the relentless drive behind people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  I liked his descriptions of how Bill Gates pulled all nighters programming fueled by caffeine and coffee.  It describes the extremely competitive, constantly demanding, will to succeed of many people in the computer industry.  However, this book is more than just a book about success in business.

Paul Allen originally wanted to be an astronaut but could not be because he wore glasses as a teenager.  He read lots of science fiction and constantly was thinking up new things.  In this book, Paul Allen innovates; he creates new computer products, starts new businesses, and does not stop trying new things.

The second part of the book is about what happens when he leaves Microsoft after getting cancer.  He starts living his ideals: founding a Jimi Hendrix museum, buying two sports teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, helps fund Spaceship One the X-Prize winner, starts a brain research institute, and becomes a serial entrepreneur.  I found this quite inspirational.

I especially liked his descriptions of being a serial entrepreneur.  He describes his failures as well as his successes in starting various businesses.  This is a story of failing a lot, but succeeding a lot as well.  I also liked his descriptions of traveling all over the world.  It would be some peoples dream to live this life.

This book is about business, ideas, innovating, and living your dreams.  It talks about how to take risks and succeed.  It is also about overcoming the adversity of cancer and trying new things.  The book says a lot about not giving up and paying attention to opportunities.

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