One Red Paperclip: Or How an Ordinary Man Achieved his Dream With the Help of a Simple Office Supply
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One Red Paperclip: Or How an Ordinary Man Achieved his Dream With the Help of a Simple Office Supply

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  595 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip. One red paperclip, a dream, and a r?sum? to write. And bills to pay. Oh, and a very patient girlfriend who was paying the rent while he was once again “between jobs.” Kyle wanted to be able to provide for himself and his girlfriend, Dominique. He wanted to own his own home. He wanted something bigger than a paperclip. So he put an ad on Crai...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2007)
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Harrison Farrugia
I first heard of this story years ago when reading the 2008 Guinness Book of World Records. A man who started with one red paperclip traded it for bigger and better things until he made his way to a house in Canada. Since I had heard a very brief version of the story, I was interested to learn more about the details. What I really liked about this book is that Kyle is completely honest about what he did, and acknowledges that a lot of it was pure luck. The way he formatted the story, going in or...more
Wendy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill
Canadian slacker decides he'd rather play Bigger and Better (a game where you start with a small object and trade for progressively better things) than look for a job. He starts with a paperclip, and over a dozen or so trades, winds up with a house, and becomes an internet celebrity along the way. I think the synopsis of the story is more interesting than the actual telling, but maybe that's just me. I could have completely done without the bogus, high-school-motivational-speaker-esque affirmati...more
Elizabeth
What a sweet little book! The writing style is a bit clumsy (which at first I attributed to that I started reading it from page 130, finished it and then started again at the beginning, but it's actually just awkward writing) but when I read it as a long, chatty email, I didn't really care. My tiny mind is warmed by how excited people get about each other doing cool things. I'm not going to say the story is "inspiring," but it's very affirming, and reminds you that people actually do like (and W...more
Tracey  Wilde
Enjoyed it but I could have found out the story from a long article. Very padded out. Very repetitive. He tells you something at least three times in three different ways just to make sure you've got it and that is in the same paragraph. The tips at he nd of the chapters don't mean anything and I didn't even bother reading them after the first couple. I'm sure that if I met Kyle Macdonald he would definitely say 'Dude' !
Danielle
What a great book! A funny, fast read just perfect for a long flight. There are plenty of lessons to learn, too. After all, it's all about the journey. Next time you're faced with a big decision, ask yourself: What would you do if you weren't afraid?

I'm afraid I may have to read this book again!
lisa
Oct 11, 2012 lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to lisa by: Manel
I really loved this book.
It was exactly what I needed at the moment a light novel with some humor that was easy to read.
I read it in no time and would recommend it highly as a light book as it is very interesting.
Spencer Levin
In this book Kyle Macdonald has a dream to trade up from this one red paper clip to a house. He makes various trades throughout Canada and the USA. He meets new life long friends and goes on a wild trip to accomplish his one goal. It took him around a year to complete this goal but with the help of many people such as Television stations and many more close family friends he achieves his goal and makes the impossible, possible. I really enjoyed the book it showed his and the traders hardships bu...more
Phillipa
This book was fabulous ... even if you pretty much know the outcome before you start, it's all about the journey! It's a fantastic idea, although I'm no where near positive enough to try it for myself (or to think it might work here in South Africa ... or to actually work a 2nd time around!) Check out the One Red Paperclip blog (mentioned regularly in the book) and read up for yourself if you're not gonna get the book. I think it's a fantastic uplifting story based in the here and now of the int...more
Joel
The official version of the story goes like this: Inspired by memories of playing "Bigger and Better" as a kid, and by urban legends of other kids trading up to such prizes as cars, Kyle MacDonald embarked on an adventure. Beginning with an ordinary red paperclip which happened to be lying on his desk, Kyle began trading with person after person, slowly acquiring larger and more valuable items until, finally, he reached his end goal: A house.

A moment, and we'll get to the fuller story.

One Red Pa...more
Beth
I read this book about a year ago. It's about a young guy from Canada who started with a red paperclip and traded his way up to a house. Kyle MacDonald was mostly unemployed and living with his girlfriend. He felt guilty about having his girlfriend pay most of the bills, but wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life. He hatched the idea of trying to play the game "Bigger or Better," where you keep trading items with people, to get a house. He started a website on this topic. Using Craigslis...more
Dana
Kyle MacDonald is an unemployed slacker. He realizes he is sponging off his girlfriend and decides to trade a red paper clip eventually for a house. The idea is to trade bigger and better. His first trade is a paper clip for a fish pen; his last a movie role for a house.

The writing in this book is atrocious with many repetitive sentences seemingly to fill up space. Also Kyle writes what he considers hilarious events which for this reader fell dead. Although the trades were interesting there was...more
Samilja
Oh, how I thought I'd love this book. Twenty-something embarks upon a quest to trade for a house. A house! Starting with a paper clip. A paper clip! And the story is very interesting. But oh, the writing! Glib, ironic, oh-so-clever and witty! Way over the top. A lot like this paragraph. I seriously considered throwing in the towel about 1/3 of the way in.

Luckily, as the story improves with each bigger & better trade, so does the writing. To be fair, our author Kyle was, at the time, a mid-tw...more
Trin
That guy who traded up from a red paperclip to a house in Saskatchewan tells his story. Unfortunately, he doesn't tell it particularly well. It's a great story, don't get me wrong, but MacDonald's style...I don't want to call it too "bloggy," as there are a lot of well-written blogs out there. But I could understand someone leveling that criticism, because MacDonald's writing, whether the product of blogging or not, is unfocused, not terribly descriptive—none of the places he visits ever came al...more
Justin
Aug 05, 2012 Justin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: dull readers
Kyle Macdonald's concept of trading one red paperclip to eventually gain a house is an interesting topic per se yet the presentation was poor. Kyle's odd sense of humor is confusing at times (maybe because he's Canadian and I am American) and takes up unnecessary pages. Keeping up with who's who in Kyle's world is difficult and frustrating considering he does not introduce most of them as anything other than his friend. The motivational advice at the end of every chapter was also a confusing tim...more
Grant Trevarthen
I looked at the cover of this book, and it had me immediately intrigued.
At first, it looked like the story of the creation of another trade website, but this story had a delightful twist.
Kyle Macdonald, a Vancouverite came up with the idea of starting of with a particular item, in this case a Red Paperclip,and trading it up for something 'bigger and better'.
With the help of his very understanding girlfriend Dominique, a native of French speaking Montreal, they with Kyle's father go on a road...more
Ben
Around 2006, a story made the rounds about a guy who started with a red paperclip and, through a series of internet trades, bartered his way to a house. The story served as a testament to the power of e-commerce, a rapidly developing but not yet fully realized concept back then. Nowadays, online trading is so ubiquitous that there's little reason to read about this guy's story. He seems likeable enough, but he's not much of a writer, and the little "if you dream it, you can do it" motivational n...more
Skyring
A bit of fun. One of those internet things that take on a life of their own, fed by obsessive folk, not least the author, who discovered another use for one red paperclip right at the end of the book.

Some philosophical observations at the end of each chapter, most of which I skipt, but overall, it's pretty much a textbook on how to become an internet sensation. Nowadays, he'd use Twitter and Facebook and Youtube and the process would probably take a month instead of a year.

The book was enjoyable...more
Stephanie
This was a good, light, quick read and a lesson on how resourcefulness can merge with motivation (or procrastination, depending on how you look at it). I felt more like I was reading emails from a funny twenty-or-thirty-something friend than a book. I think it will appeal most to those who either know what Craigslist is, have ever had to live on the cheap, or have ever wanted to skip out on their job to do something more interesting that they don't otherwise have time to do. The author gives you...more
Don
It is amazing that this is a true story, I am finding myself reading more and more non-fiction. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction, a man trades up from a paperclip to a house in about a year, an amazing journey.
Sally
not only was he a Canadian, he was from tha 604!!! ... its hard not to peak forward if you don't know what he trades for what (obviously its paperclip to house, but I mean the in between stuff)... the chapters get longer and longer as the story goes, but that's because of the popularity he's gained and as he gets further into journey he tells the complete story... its written as if he's sitting in front of you telling you what's going on (and just to mention, he's not a writer if u didn't alread...more
Yvette
This book lived up to my expectations - even though it has sat on my To Be Read pile for ages, sent on by my patient Bookcrossing friend Skyring.

I love stuff like this - random, ridiculous pursuits that grow from a silly idea. Other favourites in similar vein are Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks; Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant and Join Me! by Danny Wallace.

In the spirit of the book combined with its Bookcrossing journey, I want to pass it on to someone who appreciates the point: so email...more
Tania
reserved from library - am squeezing this book in.

quotes#473592 One Red Paperclip

As soon as you believe there was someplace in the past where things were better than they were today, you won't operate at your full potential now. You are where you are, and if you aren't, it's probably a good idea to figure out how to get to yourself. p164

The grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side, but maybe it is. Listen to the advice of other people, but remember that we all see colour differently. Wh...more
Mel
What a great idea.
Good people and good ideas don't always have to be Pulitzer Prize winning writers. He is someone I liked getting to know because of his sense of joy and adventure.
This book was perfect for what it was, an entertaining look at one guy's successful realization of his dream.
I loved making the journey from one red paperclip to home ownership and meeting the people encountered along the way.
Anything is possible in America!
If you haven't read this-it is a good time to read something...more
Shonna Froebel
This fun read follows the true story of how Kyle MacDonald, a young Canadian man, managed to use the system of barter, along with some luck, to turn a red paperclip into a house. Kyle has a lot of support from his family, and takes advantage of what circumstances bring to him in order to not only do well for himself, but have a lot of fun along the way. His attitude is optimistic and open and he has a good sense of humour, going with the flow even when he is not sure where it will take him.
This...more
Hayley


I was really looking forward to reading this book; it seemed like it would be a great read - a guy who trades from a paperclip to a house should have the makings of a great book. Unfortunately, although MacDonald has a brilliant story to tell, he just doesn't tell it well. I only kept reading because I was intrigued to know what he traded in between the paperclip and the house, and how ultimately he got the house. His writing style was irritating and I almost gave up at times. Nevertheless it's...more
Kip
An entertaining story, but not really about being an entrepreneur. Guy had amazing amount of media coverage, support and benefit in most of his later trades.

Save yourself the money and read it on the blog for free. Not much to this book you can't find on the blog, in fact there's probably more in the blog now than in the book.

* Couldn't finish
** I had nothing else to do
*** Passed the time, would be **** for genre / author fans
**** Everyone could enjoy this book
***** Everyone should read this boo...more
Caroline Thomsen
This book took me a little longer than expected to finish.
I liked the story behind the book, but the book itself wasn't that interesting to get through.
I constantly found myself trying to skip sentences in the book, because I wanted to get on with the story, but didn't feel like reading it all, because I didn't feel like it made any difference to the story.

The story IS very cool and amazing but the book about it just make it seem so easy, and a little boring.
It was an okay read, but I don't thin...more
Melissa Wilkinson
i actually completely agree with Samilja below. fun to read but not a good writer, so almost makes you want to give up early. but then again, he's not a writer, so so-what. it's entertaining to hear of how this lazy twenty-something riding the easy-train of his live-in girlfriend's income and apartment finds yet another easy way out of working and succeeds to a ridiculous degree. ...and then is smart enough to capitalize on his silver plater success even more by writing it all down and getting i...more
Paul
The book starts off letting you know the basic premise (Guy has paperclip, wants something else, trades to get it), but the real story is about the people he meets, the adventure he has and the goal he is striving to reach. I can't discuss much more without ruining the ending for anyone who wishes to read it. All I can say is you really should give this a go, and it's perfect for the person who only reads a chapter at a time since most of the chapters are fairly self-contained stories. Do give i...more
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