Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft

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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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

The highly anticipated, eyebrow-raising memoir of the other founding partner of the Microsoft Corporation.

Even at 58 and one of the wealthiest people in the world, Allen admits that writing his life story was "one of the hardest things I've ever done." The result is surprisingly profound and refreshingly frank. Inspired by an oral-history project he'd initiated in 2000 to commemorate his early years with Microsoft, the author begins and ends his chronicle with nods to his friendship with "partner in crime" Bill Gates—from their beginnings driven by an all-consuming enthusiasm for computers to Gates' regular appearances at Allen's bedside as he defeated aggressive cancer. Yet it's the often-turbulent years sandwiched in between that form the indulgent crux of this heavily jargonized narrative. Allen amiably retraces his Seattle roots raised by staunch booklovers as he dabbled in circuitry and mechanics. He honed rudimentary computer-programming skills while enrolled at a private school where he met Gates, who, at 13, was already competitive and scheming of wild successes. Lofty ambitions cut Allen's collegiate career short, and, following many years of hard work, Microsoft was born in 1975, helmed by himself and increasingly tyrannical "taskmaster" Gates. Allen writes extensively of locking horns with his partner soon after the company became profitable, and, with the same heft used to praise the successes of a company that made him rich, he skewers his co-founder for his "mercenary opportunism" when conspired to dilute Allen's Microsoft equity after he developed cancer. His disillusionment with the company, he writes, was "like a failed romance." Allen spends the closing chapters elucidating his critically scrutinized interests in commercial space travel, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, neuroscience and, more recently, artificial intelligence.

A diligently crafted scrapbook of gratitude, accusation and excess, guaranteed to entertain and even ruffle a few feathers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780241953716
  • Publisher: Portfolio
  • Publication date: 5/28/2012

Meet the Author

Paul Allen is the billionaire technologist and philanthropist who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates. He is the chairman of Vulcan Inc. and founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. He also owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, and is co-owner of the Seattle Sounders pro soccer team. He lives on Mercer Island, Washington.

Visit www.paulallen.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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