Summary of The Accidental Zillionaire

Demystifying Paul Allen

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The Accidental Zillionaire book summary
Meet Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He’s boring and quirky, so why are you fascinated — it’s the money, of course.


6 Overall

4 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


It’s hard not to envy Paul Allen. A son of Oklahomans who moved to Seattle, he went to a private school, met Bill Gates, helped start Microsoft and has had billions of dollars to play with almost ever since. OK, so when Microsoft first went public, he only had a hundred million or so to play with. He’s been sued for sexual harassment, owns a big chunk of a hot movie studio and is still an ordinary slob. Allen and his family refused to cooperate with the author, so nothing is straight from the horse’s mouth - at least not that horse. The author shows admirable self restraint for the first several chapters, but really pulls the lid off later in the book. Allen comes off looking like a junior level IT nerd who won the lottery, a weirdly fascinating, odd guy. The book is easy enough to read, though it relies mainly on secondary sources and press reports, and is repetitious, disjointed and inclined to skip important information, such as dates. But, if you want the gossipy side of the Microsoft story, suggests this as your vacation reading.

In this summary, you will learn

  • about Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, one of the most perplexing billionaires of the twentieth century


Some people say, "the best thing that happened to Paul Allen was meeting Bill Gates." This may not be true, although it’s hard to demonstrate the reverse. Paul Allen generally shuns the press. He’s an introverted techie and always has been. Even people who worked with him ...
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About the Author

Laura Rich, a former writer for Industry Standard, Adweek and Inside Media, presently writes for Entertainment Weekly and the Hollywood Reporter.

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