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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

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip. One red paperclip, a dream, and a resume 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2007)
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Showing 1-30
3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,010 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Mar 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, non-fiction
The story itself is interesting, but could EASILY have been summarized into one long article. This is an INCREDIBLY poorly-written book that tries too hard to be funny and beats you over the head with every joke at least three times.

Case in point: he's driving a van across Canada. Someone asks him to deliver something for her. His response:
"'I don't know, it's not like I have hundreds of cubic feet of extra cargo room or anything...'
'Yeah right!' she said.
I laughed. There were actually many hun
Harrison Farrugia
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Tracey  Wilde
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
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' !
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Mehvish Irshad
May 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
What's your paperclip?
What will you "trade" to make it happen?
This was a book I'd been looking forward to reading for a while. I heard of Kyle Macdonald's blog through a magazine article years ago and I looked it up and read some of it. Sounded like an exciting idea and it's always been on my mind. So let me say right off the bat how cool it is to be able to do this.

But as a book it kind of fell flat. Kyle Macdonald isn't a writer, that's obvious, he isn't claiming to be, but he also isn't a
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I vaguely remembered Macdonald's story when it became a web trending topic probably about midway through. Like most internet stories, it showed up on all the major sites for a few days, then faded away, such that I'd largely forgotten about it until coming upon this book at a sale. Once I got to reading, I remembered the early steps of the trade, like the paperclip for the fish pen, and the fish pen for the doorknob, but definitely don't recall the celebrity involvement of Alice Cooper and Corbi ...more
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
Sep 17, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grant Trevarthen
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first became aware of the ORP project when I heard a mention of it on Alice Cooper's radio show (yes he has a show, yes he is quite funny). Unemployed dreamer Kyle MacDonald decides he is tired of sponging off his patient girlfriend Dom. Faced with the choice of finding full-time employment or providing for her in a creative way, MacDonald starts Over the course of a year, MacDonald plays the "Bigger and Better" trading game, eventually ending up with a hou ...more
Nov 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Spencer Levin
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 20, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
May 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Davida Chazan
The true story of how one man traded a simple, little, red paperclip and kept trading until he ended up with a house, exactly one year later. Read my review of this interesting autobiographical book that chronicles a fascinating idea and adventure, here.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alexander Kane
May 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: life-events
A candidate for the worst book I have ever wasted effort on. Not that his story is uninteresting, just the way he tells it. Some people are great story tellers, can make a walk to the park sound like a trek through the Himalayas with Spike Milligan, Gandhi and Ernest Hemingway... this guy makes a nice story sound like when you ask a 6 year old what they're hiding behind their back... he literally puts dictionary definitions in to explain simple words, spends over half a chapter in total remindin ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book, for me at least, was a slow starter. However, at the point in time when I read this book, I had mainly been reading fiction and hadn't really read any books that were in this style before.

Once I got into the book, I actually began to enjoy it more and more. It became quite interesting as it was all a true story and the story had been started from a teenager's game and an average office supply.

I had actually never heard of this story before or of Kyle Macdonald and the reason I was re
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a good story but not a good book, and this is the dichotomy that pervades this book. The events the author tells of how he traded a red paperclip into more are, of themselves, interesting. Reading about what he was thinking at certain points and how others (reaching a wider audience as publicity increased) reacted to his endeavour had a certain appeal. Yet the book just isn’t that well written.

There seemed to be a stream of consciousness type writing where a tighter edit would have prod
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I was really looking forward to this (expecting it be on the lines of Tony Hawks' Round Ireland with a Fridge ) but by the third or fourth trade I was tiring slightly of the writing style...though it was amusing in parts, I felt the writing could be a bit flat & too padded-out at times.

By the time I reached, One Famous Snowmobile & A trip to Yahk I found I was skipping bits but when Alice Cooper came into the trade it picked up for me & I quite enjoyed the rest of the book...& th
Miss Jith
Mar 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
The story is interesting, but the writing style is just something I can't get on with. There was a lot of fluff and awful jokes that needed a good editor to sort out. I didn't really get why the end of each chapter was padded out with some kind of "inspiring" advice, which grew more and more inane as the book went on. It's like the book couldn't decide whether to be a humorous tale or a self-help book and failed at being either.

Also very much reminiscent of Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman's advent
Alex Gomes
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
My girlfriend was not sure what present she is going to give me for Christmas. I told her to get me a paperclip and a pen.

She suddenly thought of this book and gave it to me for Christmas.

I opened the present and was not sure until she told me that I asked for a paperclip and a pen earlier. I thought that it was absolutely hilarious. My girlfriend is awesome.

When I finished this book, i thought it was a really good and funny book. I laughed loudly at some parts. Wowed at some parts. I would lo
Nathan Mayer
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic story about potential. I've read it before but it had been awhile and it was time to give it another read. Kyle is an excellent story teller, which you basically have to be considering the subject matter here. A story about making trades via Craigslist could get old and boring real quick, but doesn't thanks to Kyle's way of telling his story. The story is fun, insightful, and inspiring. It makes you think things like "If this guy could do THIS then maybe I could do THAT..." I definitel ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This book is an inspiring story about an un-assuming guy from Canada embarked on a mission to turn a red paperclip, one trade at a time, into a house. It isn't going to win any prizes for high literature, but it was an easy read with a great message, and a lovely ending. Each chapter ends with what are supposed to be life lessons learnt through the analogy of the paperclip story, but they are to be taken with a pinch of salt. It took me a while to get used to the style of writing and sense of hu ...more
Jane E
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian, non-fiction
Another "airport" book. Easy to read and it passed the time on a flight. Amusing idea and nice that it was carried through to the end. It was also fun to see how others got caught up in the game and hung around to see it play out. (Purchased at the Bookshop at University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)
Vivian Mace
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved how the author trades up to a house.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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