Angelico Hall, Dominican University of CA
Tickets: $35 (includes a signed copy of Truck Full of Money)
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Tracy Kidder, the “master of the nonfiction narrative” (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Soul of the New Machine and the bestselling Mountains Beyond Mountains, gives us the inspiring story of Kayak.com founder Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur. A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover from Great Success offers us a window on the strange and extraordinarily well-financed, world of software engineering and commerce, where genius and artistry often mingle with vulgarity and greed.
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 will later be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a gift for building creative teams of people, becoming a pied piper of geeks. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observes: “Someday this boy’s going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I’m going to be standing beside him.” Yet when English makes a fortune as co-founder of the travel website Kayak.com, which sold for almost two billion dollars, the first thing he thinks about is how to give it away. The second thing he thinks is, what’s next?
With the power of a consummate storyteller, Tracy Kidder casts a fresh, critical, and often humorous eye on the way new inventions and new money are reshaping our culture. This is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself.
Tracy Kidder, whose most recent book is Home Town, is also the author of Among Schoolchildren and Old Friends. He has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He lives in Massachusetts and Maine.