Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Update: One Small Paperback edition

Currently reading 3 different fantasy books. Am in a fantasy rut. Which I like, but it's not good for broadening my horizons. Unfortunately, I know I can't finish Milne's biography before it's due, so I'll pick it back up later.

I did however, just finish up this little gem:

One Red Paperclip
(Or, How an Ordinary Man Achieved His Dream with the Help of a Simple Office Supply)
by Kyle MacDonald
310 pages
Three River Press, 2007

I kinda hope someone buys me this book for Christmas because A) it's a paperback and should therefore be cheap, and B) it's a book I'll probably recommend to a LOT of people over the years. A lot of folks have heard about the story in this book: Canadian twenty-something professional job-searcher Kyle MacDonald was looking for a way to provide some future and stability for himself and his girlfriend (who he was living with at the time) and so he decided to play the ultimate game of Bigger and Better. (I've played this awesome game once. In high school. My team lost. Another team came back with two kittens. It was a crazy day) He started posting trade offers on Craigslist, starting with--wait for it--one red paperclip (We have title!) in the hopes of eventually trading up to a house. Long story short, he does it in fourteen trades. Even more amazing, he gets it done in one year. And then he writes an awesome, funny, accessible, and uplifting book about it.

The book reminded me a lot of A Walk Across America in that it is more a story about people and adventure than it is about Kyle MacDonald and trading up to a house. That's a reflection of the author's character, as he turns down some corporate-minded shortcuts in order to keep the focus of the project to be about people; specifically, meeting interesting people and helping fellow dreamers. The result is an adventure that is stranger than fiction, larger than life, nuttier than a PayDay, and 100% real. It's also one heck of an encouraging book, and nobody's really writing those any more.

Well, I take that book: nobody's writing encouraging books that don't suck any more.

Except Kyle MacDonald.


Anyway, Kyle's website is . I haven't spent a ton of time checking it out yet, but I'm sure I will. This is really a simple guy writing a simple story of what amazing things can happen if you'll allow them to. It's a reminder that there are "good people" out there--that, in fact, there are a LOT of good people out there. It's encouragement that dreams can happen, and you can actually play a pretty big role in making them come true.

Go read this book. It's not a hard read, and it's not too long. Even if you think the whole thing is total bunk, at least it's funny bunk. But I almost guarantee Kyle's story will leave you with a smile on your face. (Yup, that's cheesy. But sometimes, life is cheesy)

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