Unpretentious. Open Ended. Unbiased.

Biography or entrepreneurial business story? Well, it’s a bit of both. I was stumped on how to describe this book and finding the best way to convey it was a challenge. I was sharing my difficulty with my husband and as I was explaining, there it was, an ah-ha moment. Here it is…

Firstly, a Tracy Kidder book is always engaging and well written. In that respect you’ll be satisfied. Secondly, Paul English turns out to be pretty interesting if tech startups and entrepreneurship is your thing. Definitely not my first choice but the book kept me engaged and curious. Not only do we learn about Paul English’s Irish Catholic childhood in Boston (this hit close to home as my mother was raised in a very similar family on the south shore of Boston.) and successful career, we get a look into the beginnings and present situation of the tech world, particularly coding. This was another title we listened to on the road to the mountains. When the final disc ended we both glanced at one another a bit puzzled. I thought, “That’s it? That’s how it ends?” In short, I think the ending caused the difficulty in getting this post moving, but it called for deeper thought, which never hurts.

Notable Nuggets:

  • Timing – The saying “Timing is everything.” has validity, particularly for Paul English’s career. While he was in middle and high school computers were in their infancy and he took an immediate interest. When he entered the workforce the development of software, the internet and websites was growing. It was ideal timing for someone of his skill set, passion and talent. Timing cannot be credited to his amazing success of kayak.com, but it played a part. Although timing is mostly out of our control it’s something to consider. Food for thought; feed your brain.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit – Paul English has this nailed down. His ability to keep thinking, dreaming and developing is fantastic. Regardless of how off the wall an idea may seem he pursues it or files it away for later. It’s his routine and a constant activity. There’s an interesting lesson there, at least I think so. Keep the ideas flowing, you never know what your next best thing may be.
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