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The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of the Planet Earth
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The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of the Planet Earth

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  380 ratings  ·  44 reviews
When Peter Thiel and Max Levchin launched an online payment website in 1999, they hoped their service could improve the lives of millions around the globe. But when their start-up, PayPal, survived the crash only to find itself besieged by unimaginable challenges, that dream threatened to become a nightmare. PayPal's history - as told by former insider Eric Jackson ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by World Ahead Publishing (first published September 1st 2004)
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147th out of 152 books — 245 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jackson's writing is insufferable and self-satisfied, with no capacity for generating empathy. I wanted to cram a banana down his throat then reach in and peel it. Otherwise, a fascinating tale of the origins of the company that rose to dominate online payments.
Iván Braga
Notable libro que narra desde dentro y desde la propia vivencia del autor lo que fue el surgimiento de Paypal. Desde los primeros pasos, pasando por los múltiples desafíos que tuvo que enfrentar, hasta su adquisición por parte de ebay. En el relato se muestra como el equipo va evolucionando la idea original para lograr encontrar su espacio de negocio y sobrevivir e imponerse a actores consolidados y otras compañías que buscaban incursionar en ese espacio. Interesante es ver como la cultura organ ...more
Eric Jackson's recounting of Paypal's early days may stand the test of time as one of the best accounts of high-growth startup life right around the time of the dotcom bust. As someone who got into that world right around the time, I found a lot of this book to ring true.

If you work in startups - or if you're simply curious about what it was really like to build a Silicon Valley company during those days - definitely pick this one up.
Sagar Jethani
Eric M. Jackson's "The PayPal Wars" stands as one of the finest accounts yet written of the heady days of dot-com in 2000 and 2001. What makes Jackson's account so imminently readable is the author's sense of humility, and his reflexive empathy for the travails of his colleagues at PayPal.

Originally recruited away from Anderson by Peter Theil, Jackson writes from the vantage of one accustomed to the ways of the old economy-- strict hierarchy, clearly-defined roles, and an emphasis on structure.
Michael Connolly
PayPal was founded by Peter Thiel, David Sacks, and Max Levchin. Peter Thiel was born in Frankfurt, Germany. Max Levchin was born in Kiev, Ukraine. David Sacks was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Peter Thiel and Norman Book had earlier founded the libertarian newspaper, The Stanford Review. Thiel and Sacks had earlier written The Diversity Myth, which criticized political correctness and multiculturalism at Stanford University.

Money Transfers
PayPay was originally designed for people wi
The story of Paypal's struggle for World Domination is well told by their former marketing director who joined the company Conformity in its early days. He is a strong supporter of the Paypal Brand and an arch enemy of all things Ebay whose attempts to throw "roadblocks" at the company would almost cause disaster on numerous occasions. This book is very well done with top analysis on the business functions of Paypal. It considers Paypal's inability to get profitable and the problems inherent in ...more
The best source for the early history of PayPal. It presents the ups and downs, dangers and high moments of the startup company that went through on to revolutionize the online payments.
Remo Uherek
Very interesting founding story. Lots of Do's and Dont's to be learned. Enjoyed reading it.
Cool story for those interested in payments and the start-up world, though the writing style got repetitive after a few chapters.

The epilogue makes an interesting argument - very true to a libertarian / fiscal conservative viewpoint and supported by the story of PayPal's experience immediately post-IPO - that Joseph Schumpeter's idea of creative destruction has now largely moved from being driven by competitive "market forces" to non-market forces such as capricious regulatory bodies, clueless h
Great startup story
The writing is pretty horrid, but the details and author's authenticity make reading this book still worthwhile.
Ann Evans
I read this book because I had an early relationship with Paypal. In about 1999, I started using Ebay, first as a buyer, then as a seller (and I sold a LOT - became kind of addicted)! Paypal was all a part of that, of course, and it was mildly interesting reading about first the rivalry between Ebay and Paypal and then their eventual merger. If you don't use Ebay, however, I would probably give this book a big YAWN!!
Michael Wilson
Solid read on how chaotic it was building Paypal and the battles that took place internally and externally. When I think about their original focus I keep thinking of Bitcoin.
Rob Olson
I loved the inside story into the early days and rise of PayPal. It could have been made better if told from the perspective of Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, or another very senior executive. Eric Jackson was able to capture some of the juicy bits but I know there was probably so much more that Peter Thiel was privy to that went untold.
Brentley Campbell
I loved this book! It was hard to put down every time I needed to study. For entrepreneurs, the epilog is especially relevant. I would recommend this book to anyone with the interest in starting a company. It is very inspiring and at the same time shows all of the choices involved that either make or break a company.
Bill Seitz
I had hoped this book would include more on the early thinking about becoming an independent currency. But that just gets a couple brief mentions.

The only real detailed "war" coverage is with eBay.

It's just another corporate history. If you like that sorta thing, maybe you'll like this more than I did.
Interesting insight into the pre-eBay culture at PayPal, but remember it was written by a marketing guy. You'll learn some interesting things from what he says (and infer some things from what he doesn't say). It's a decent book, but don't expect a balanced view from it.
Kevin Leu
I really enjoyed this book, because it gave me my first insight into how Silicon Valley really works and what it takes to win. I enjoyed the personal accounts and descriptions of key players who would all wind up building many other successful valley startups.
Ronan O'Driscoll
Excellent recent history and overview of how a startup is successful in Silicon Valley. Perhaps focuses a little too much on eBay. I would have liked to know more of the technical details on how paypal combatted rampant fraud and mafia incursions.
Reads like a novel. I very good look into the VC culture of silicon valley. Additionally, it should be a must read for generation Y employees. It really shows how necessary problem solving, adaptability leads to accomplishments and success.
Tom Kamei
An excellent read for anyone considering entrepreneurial ventures as a career - gives an inside look on lifestyle and thought process of navigating an industry changing at lightening speeds.

Understanding the characters behind the PayPal Mafia
I found this book to be very valuable to me as a business executive in the technology and advertising industry. Great storytelling which makes this an easy ready with practical examples of how PayPal approached various situations.
This was a good read, but I think the author may have been hindered somewhat because he was a junior employee and because of this, some senior executive level insight was lacking that might have added some good context.
Christina Boyle
Incredibly detailed account of the founding and sale of Paypal. Was interesting to read through each of the business problems (fraud, competitive response, charge backs) they solved with product solutions.
The nature of money is changing. This book, written by one of the early employees of PayPal, traces his experiences through the early days of one of the disrupters in this industry. Interesting read.
Anders Nissen

Slightly repetitive ("...but our challenges weren't over, the next day so-and-so came into my office..."), but a great insight story from the entrepreneurial trenches of Silicon Valley.
Ajay Tripathi
The story of PayPal and about the team that made it happen. The author, Eric Jackson, provides a wonderfully detailed, insider perspective. Exciting, inspiring and fun read. Highly recommended.
An insider's account of the birth, rise, and struggles of PayPal. This gripping and fast read really showcases the ingenuity and nimbleness needed to survive in the internet age.
Good for those with a particular interest in the company or industry...Also may be of interest to those who want to learn more about how start-ups grow /evolve
A surprisingly interesting book about the beginnings of PayPal. It's a fast paced read, and a great look into the world of a high tech startup.
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