Out today 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 kayak.com 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 good in the area of technology, Paul also has bipolar disorder and I liked how that was an honest part of the story without being the entire focus. I also enjoyed stories from his childhood such as when he created a program that would allow him to steal his teacher’s username and password without being caught.
That said, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. I read books on a wide range of topics and even things not typically interesting to me, like cremation for example, can be made incredibly fascinating by the author (such as Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty ). This was not the case with this book. I just didn’t care; I wasn’t interested in his business deals or his money. Also, the story was told by Tracy Kidder so was very distanced from the author’s actual experience of what happened to him. Obviously I knew that going into this, but the characters seemed flat and some were referenced to by their role in relation to Paul without names. I think I was hoping for a bit more depth. I’m bummed that I wasn’t a fan, but will have to try other Tracy Kidder books in the future.