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Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft

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Overview

“The entire conversation took five minutes. When it was over, Bill and I looked at each other. It was one thing to talk about writing a language for a microprocessor and another to get the job done….If we’d been older or known better, Bill and I might have been put off by the task in front of us. But we were young and green enough to believe that we just might pull it off.”
 
Paul Allen, best known as the cofounder of Microsoft, has left ...

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Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft

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Overview

“The entire conversation took five minutes. When it was over, Bill and I looked at each other. It was one thing to talk about writing a language for a microprocessor and another to get the job done….If we’d been older or known better, Bill and I might have been put off by the task in front of us. But we were young and green enough to believe that we just might pull it off.”
 
Paul Allen, best known as the cofounder of Microsoft, has left his mark on numerous fields, from aviation and science to rock ‘n’ roll, professional sports, and philanthropy. His passions and curiosity have transformed the way we live. In 2007 and again in 2008, Time named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world.
 
It all started on a snowy day in December 1974, when he was twenty-one years old. After buying the new issue of Popular Electronics in Harvard Square, Allen ran to show it to his best friend from Seattle, Bill Gates, then a Harvard undergrad. The magazine’s cover story featured the Altair 8800, the first true personal computer; Allen knew that he and Gates had the skills to code a programming language for it. When Gates agreed to collaborate on BASIC for the Altair, one of the most influential partnerships in the digital era was up and running.
 
While much has been written about Microsoft’s early years, Allen has never before told the story from his point of view. Nor has he previously talked about the details of his complex relationship with Gates or his behind-closed-doors perspective on how a struggling start-up became the most powerful technology company in the world. Idea Man is the candid and long-awaited memoir of an intensely private person, a tale of triumphant highs and terrifying lows.
 
After becoming seriously ill with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982, Allen began scaling back his involvement with Microsoft. He recovered and started using his fortune—and his ideas—for a life of adventure and discovery, from the first privately funded spacecraft (SpaceShipOne) to a landmark breakthrough in neuroscience (the Allen Brain Atlas). His eclectic ventures all begin with the same simple question: What should exist? As Allen has written:
 
To me, that’s the most exciting question imaginable….From technology to science to music to art, I’m inspired by those who’ve blurred the boundaries, who’ve looked at the possibilities, and said, “What if…?” In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way…The varied possibilities of the universe have dazzled me since I was a child, and they continue to drive my work, my investments, and my philanthropy.
  Idea Man is an astonishing true story of ideas made real.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591845379
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 498,027
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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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Table of Contents

1 Opportunity 1

2 Roots 10

3 Lakeside 24

4 Acolytes 39

5 Wazzu 52

6 2+2=4! 69

7 MITS 84

8 Partners 102

9 SoftCard 118

10 Project Chess 133

11 Borrowed Time 149

12 Wake-Up Call 160

13 Hellhounds 175

14 Blazermania 191

15 12th Man 208

16 Space 218

17 Jimi 246

18 Wired World 266

19 Fat Pipe 283

20 Searching 296

21 Mapping the Brain 304

22 Adventure 317

In Sum 331

Epilogue 335

Acknowledgments 347

Appendix 351

Index 359

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Idea cat!!!!!!!!

    Is here!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Great food

    Gives a great inside story of his life. Could be better if it didn't jump around so much and was a little more in depth with the stories.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    this is an very intriguing book from a tech visionary and billio

    this is an very intriguing book from a tech visionary and billionaire. i bought this book primarily because i used to work for microsoft, the company mr allen co-founded 37 years ago. mr allen's writing was surprisingly engaging in this book, and you can still see his insight on tech still very relevant even to this day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    A good read for an entrepreneur

    A throughly enjoy book about a man with a vision

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    A Great American

    Not only did I learn how an "idea" can change one's life, I discovered a man who honestly wants to make a difference to future generations. From rapping on his guitar with friends to working with world leaders, Paul Allen is making his "mark" on society. Jack Vax Mt. Pleasant, SC

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It was clearly organized and easy to read, even if you are not a huge techie!

    How does one person accomplish all that Paul Allen has done in one life? His work ethic is admirable, and as a parent, I have to say that the root of his success is a result of the great job his parents did in raising him. Some might say he was lucky, but this book showed me that he created his own luck through basic hard work and determination.

    It was great to see that his money not only allowed him to pursue his interests, but that doing so also enabled him to contribute to society in such positive, meaningful ways.

    I'm now a huge fan!

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    What a reader can accomplish

    Paul Allen's Idea Man demonstrates what a reader (of any age) can accomplish once he puts his imagination and his hands to a problem. I'd recommend its purchase to every public library. I'm writing a check to the Town of Acton's (MA) library, along with this recommendation. My copy's copiously annotated, so I'm buying another for my 12 year old Leggo-loving nephew. I already gave a copy to my Ron Chernow-loving brother-in-law. This isn't an "I, then I" memoir. Allen credits many team players to whom he's indebted. This is for anyone who's interested in computers, team building in basketball and football, brain research, outer space, and the list continues. WOW!

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Buy the hardcover version if you want to see the photos!

    I really liked this book, at least the first half which covers his stint as Microsoft co-founder.

    However, when I checked out the hardcover print edition in the store it had a dozen pages of photos which are not in the e-book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    The First Accidental Billionaire

    Paul Allen is a visionary who was not afraid to dream big. Had Allen not continually push Gates to abandon his 'sure thing' at Harvard, how different would our world be today? Allen tells a story not so different from the 1999 movie 'Pirates of Sillicon Valley'. He paints a surprisingly personal and borderline bias image of his tattered relationship with Gates during his tenure at Microsoft. Allen seems to blame Gates for his erratic, explosive, and controlling behavior and its role on his departure from Microsoft. It becomes apparent that Allen, while being a founder of a business empire, doesn't fit in with the hard-nose corporate culture. His shortcomings in corporate America were the product of his big heart. Allen is simply a lover and not a fighter. He plays fair, follows the rules, and is genuine to his core. This is half a story about the founding of the largest software vendor in the world and half a story about a simple man, with little desire for power, who stumbles into one of the world's largest fortunes and struggles to stave off boredom. This is an epic story about a nice guy who finishes first while following his heart.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    Great book, a must read !

    Just started the book and so far I am so enveloped in it, great book,

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 23, 2011

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