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A Truck Full of Money

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,584 ratings  ·  268 reviews
"A perfectly executed, exquisitely reported parable of the Internet age and the wild, mad adventure that is start-up culture."--Charles Duhigg

Fortune, mania, genius, philanthropy--the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, the founder of and Lola.

Tracy Kidder, the "master of the nonfiction narrative" (The Ba
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Random House
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  1,584 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I jumped at the opportunity to read another book by Tracy Kidder. It's been a few years since I've read him. I enjoyed both "Strength in What Remains" and "Mountains Beyond Mountains"...a book that won the Pulitzer Prize.
Kidder is terrific literary journalist. His non-fiction books have a strong story line and personal voice to his writing.

This is an 'engaging' -fascinating - personal story about a man named Paul English, CEO and co-founder of Kayak, ( a travel website), founder of an online C
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
With a title like "A Truck Full of Money" and a bright rainbow-y cover I assumed this would be about a person who gives his money to the less-fortunate or uses his wealth to make the world a better place. Lord knows I'm ready to read about a generous American this month. And while I'm not particularly a Kidder fan, his subjects are sometimes interesting (Paul Farmer and Partners in Health; the Burundian immigrant in Strength in What Remains). I realize that he has earned the respect and vast rea ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, arc
Paul English is the cofounder of, the popular website that helps buyers find the cheapest flight available across multiple airline sites. English built the company from the ground up, and, in 2012, after Kayak (very successfully) went public, he sold the whole caboodle for almost 2 billion dollars.

A Truck Full of Money is English's biography as told by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder. Though the book covers the typical topics you'd expect to see in a life story (like English's child
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having read and enjoyed Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder, and also having seen an interview with Paul English on my local (Boston) PBS station, I definitely was interested in reading this story of English's life to date: his success in programming is legendary but I knew only bits and pieces otherwise, hints of his wealth, his bipolar disorder, etc. What Kidder is able to do is to link the man of the present with the boy who ...more
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

The first book of Tracy Kidder’s that I ever read was The Soul of a New Machine, an inside look at the development of a new 32-bit minicomputer at Data General in the late 1970s. In internet years, that feels like several centuries ago.

The universe of computing, and the universe of the ways in which our lives are impacted by computers and related technology, has changed immeasurably since that “soul” was put into that “new machine”. But those giants at Data
Karen R
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder writes a great biography of Paul English, the man who built Kayak into a multi-billion dollar company. A passionate techie entrepreneur and philanthropist, Paul’s story is extraordinary.

Paul grew up during the early days of the personal computer, software engineering and the Internet. He was pegged as an overachiever early in life when he ranked 8th out of several thousand 12-year olds taking admissions testing for prestigious Boston Latin School. Paul was unh
Brad Feld
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology, biography
I’m a huge Tracy Kidder fan. I read The Soul of A New Machine as a senior in high school and, even though I don’t include it in the reason I went to MIT, I’m sure it played a part. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite books, although I haven’t read it in many years. I just kindled it (and several other Tracy Kidder books I’ve decided to re-read) and expect it’ll be in my near term reading list.

About a month ago Paul English sent me an email asking me if I wanted to read an ARC of Tracy Kid
Kasa Cotugno
Fascinating. Tracy Kidder writes books about subjects that intrigue him and makes them intriguing to the reader. In this case, Paul English, an Internet billionaire who makes the best use of his resources.
Liza Fireman
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I can't say that this book is not good, it is just not that great, not that interesting. Paul English, CEO, while being a very impressive person, is yet another successful person in software, that came from rags or riches (and contributed money for good causes). I prefer personally the Steve Jobs biography or reading about Bill Gates career (and his and Melinda Gates philanthropic work).

The more interesting parts of the book were his coping with bipolar disorder, and sleep apnea. And h
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just a great book. Maybe Tracy Kidder has come full circle in some sense by coming back to a book about the computer industry.

In 1981, Trace Kidder wrote The Soul of a New Machine about the efforts of computer engineers at Data General to get a new computer, a minicomputer to market. I loved that book, even though with hindsight it wasn't as well written as I thought at the time. But it captured the excitement of the team at Data General and explained the technical issues at just the right level
Mal Warwick
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Most business biographies are about heroes. Though their stories may be leavened by references to the negative side of their character, the overall effect is overwhelmingly positive. Not so with Tracy Kidder’s even-handed new account of a successful software entrepreneur, A Truck Full of Money. Kidder doesn’t skimp on the man’s business successes. There were several. But he devotes nearly as much time to the many failures — and to his psychiatric problems. It’s a remarkable tale.

A software entre
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: september, arc, 2016
Kidder continues to write enchanting non-fiction.
Sharon Orlopp
Tracy Kidder's book is about Paul English, CEO and founder of Kayak who focused on how to give his money away after Kayak was purchased. ...more
Mark Jr.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book, audio, 2019
Read this because I read the author's Good Prose, co-authored with his long-time editor—and I wanted to see what kind of work the two have produced together. (I'm not sure Todd did edit this book, but I presume so?) The story kept me interested and entertained, and the New York Times reviewer was right to say that the fairly standard rags-to-riches American tale gave way to something more interesting: a bit of an exploration—or maybe just an extended observation—of a successful man who both suff ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable tour through another genius/crazy software guy's private world. I'll read anything Kidder writes, and I'm rarely disappointed. ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up, i-won
I had such high hopes for this book. I rarely read biographies, or much nonfiction at all, but was intrigued enough to give this a try. Local Boston stuff, poor kid strikes it rich doing something he loves, a successful battle against mental illness, etc. What's not to love?

Well, unfortunately, there is a LOT not to love. The story is told completely out of chronological order. It's not even filled with flashbacks; I couldn't find any logic to the order in which things were told. It jumped aroun
Chris Witkowski
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in anticipation of Tracy Kidder's appearance in Schenectady this coming November. The author provides an intimate profile of the incredibly successful tech entrepreneur, Paul English.

English, who grew up in working-class Boston, possesses a brain that was phenomenally suited to mine the depths of the technology advances this country has experienced in the last 30 years. Brilliant, energetic, indefatigable, diagnosed as bi-polar, he founded several
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic inside look at the big money men creating magic with the internet. A peek inside the brains behind some of the most innovative minds writing code/programs that we all use. Paul English was a computer genius with one setback, he suffered from bipolar disorder. It didn't stop his creative side though because he was driven to succeed. I recommend this book, even though I'm no geek, not by a long shot. ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-pick
The Short of It:

If you are into the start-up culture and enjoy seeing ideas comes to fruition, you will find something of value in this read.

The Rest of It:

This is the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
“Someday this boy’s going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I’m going to be standing beside him.”

I have not read a Tracy Kidder book, in a few years, so I thought I would try another one. As usual, it does not disappoint. This one focuses on Paul English, a Boston inventor and entrepreneur and who became a driving force on the internet. He had a wizard-like talent for tracking down innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them. After becoming a billionaire, he decided to
A Truck Full of Money, Tracy Kidder, author; Paul Michael, narrator

Kidder describes and extols the accomplishments of Paul English, a product of the Boston school system, who was a creative student of technology and a supporter of entrepreneurship for decades. His ventures, large and small, some hare-brained and some brilliant, some failed and some successful, were and still may be, all over the map, but he made fortunes and lost fortunes, because he was in the right time and the right place at
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
A slow start, but once I understood that this book was an impressionistic portrait of a man, a time and a place--Paul English (bipolar, inspired, flawed, kind), the internet age, Boston--it all made more sense. A thoughtful and honest portrait of bipolar disorder. A fascinating take on the history of computer science. A nostalgic read for me about MIT, Cambridge and the Boston area. The book grew on me as I read it.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m finding it so fascinating to compare the healthy corporate cultures that Paul English cultivates vs the toxic culture at Theranos, as described in Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, which I recently finished reading too.
Mary Anne
Tracy Kidder does it again!
Melody Warnick
Not at all what I thought it would be, but my idol Tracy Kidder manages to make everything, even a technology millionaire, interesting.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I didn't find this book very engaging but what I found most interesting was the main character's struggles with mental illness. ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
it was like an overgrown magazine feature. sure, it was interesting and it had its moments but it wasn't that interesting! take about mental health and being successful and stuff like that. ...more
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-biography
Book reviewers – both professional for mainstream media and amateurs here – often seem to understand clearly, on the basis of reading a book (no personal interviews), what the author is thinking about and what point they are trying to make. I envy their certainty.

I didn't know quite what to think of Tracy Kidder's approach to Paul English, the protagonist. At first I thought that was a weakness of my comprehension, but then I thought, well, maybe that's supposed to be the point. There are certa
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Out Tuesday is Tracy Kidder's newest book, A Trunk Full of Money! I heard good things about Tracy Kidder and was excited to have the opportunity to review this book, thank you Random House! A Trunk Full of Money is a non-fiction piece on Paul English, an entrepreneur and computer genius who although poor as a child, made a fortune when was acquired by Priceline. He then attempts to figure out how to manage this level of wealth and how to give some away to help others.

While incredibly g
Tom Donaghey
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A TRUCK FULL OF MONEY by Tracy Kidder is a thoughtful peek into the life of Paul English, computer entrepreneur and founder of KAYAK, the on-line travel service. But it is not just about computers and companies and tons of money, although all of that is present here.
What the book is about is a look into the life of a success business man and leader, a person who overcomes his bi-polar nature to lead a small unit of computer gurus into several different ventures, not all of them successful, but
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Tracy Kidder is an American author and Vietnam War veteran. Kidder may be best known, especially within the computing community, for his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Soul of a New Machine, an account of the development of Data General's Eclipse/MV minicomputer. The book typifies his distinctive style of research. He began following the project at its inception and, in addition to interviews, spent c ...more

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