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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Idea Man: A Memoir by the co-Founder of Microsoft by Paul Allen

The first half of Paul Allen's book about the genesis of Microsoft was very interesting. As a software developer myself I could step into Paul's shoes and imagine very much how his teenage life was, for I spent many of my formative years writing code.

Sadly I never bumped into a Bill Gates but it's interesting to read how Paul's hobby transformed itself into being half of the largest company in the world, unlike my own which plodded along in a more pedestrian path! There's no doubt that Gates was the business brain and Paul was of more a technical guru, which is reflected in the title. That's more my role so I could identify with the situation he found himself in, a few years before I wrote my first software.

The second half of part 1 of the book roughly covers the process of disentangling himself from Microsoft after a health scare and developing his own life and interests. The depths of his involvement in other things is amazing. Most people would be happy to do one of the dozen or so things Paul Allen has get involved in since his early thirties. This varies from owning sports teams, space pioneering, genetic research as well as establishing numerous companies and museums. Then there's a long list of hobbies too! Even though he's had money it's all been put to good use. Compared to someone like Booby Fischer and even Marx to an extent (subjects of other biographies I have read) Paul Allen has packed so much more into his life.

In truth the first part of the book is very interesting. the second half less so. Much that Paul Allen has done, there's just a bit too much details really. He's obviously very proud of his achievements and rightly so, but they do become a bit tedious in places. Overall Idea Man gets 7 out of 10.

All in all Paul Allen is definitely my type of business man compared to Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, who I have already encountered books on during this project. I'd have loved to have him as a boss, the other two I would hate!

Now finally after months of non-fiction and weeks of biography I return to fiction where I started. I have arrived at a curious section of the library with a set of shelves labelled "Enjoy", According to mention definition of a bookcase there are about seven very small bookcases in this area. There are numerous copies of all the books in this section, most of which are fairly light-looking bestsellers. There's not much choice on each bookcase but I am starting with a work by Amor Toyles

I think this book is a work of historical fiction set in USA of the 1930s. Let's hope it lives up to its area's name and I enjoy it! I love a great work of fiction but it's incredibly hard knowing from the cover whether it's going to be one or not - non-fiction is so much easier to assess on the book shelf.

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