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Review: Bringing Nothing to the Party by Paul Carr

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

Writing this review feels a little strange, almost like reviewing the work of a friend, despite the fact that I’ve never even met Paul Carr. Shortly after the turn of the century, his email newsletter, The Friday Thing, became the first I ever parted with cash to receive. The subscription was something like £10/year, and it was well worth it.

I remember when Carr branched out into publishing, and I bought some of their early publications, including the book of paramedic Tom Reynolds’s blog. I bought some of the Amateur Transplants stuff which they published, too. And then I sort of lost track of Paul’s career, until last year, when I discovered NSFWCorp – and promptly subscribed. It’s clear that he has an uncanny ability to make me part with my hard earned cash.

Bringing Nothing to the Party was published back in 2009, but I’ve only just discovered it. It tells the “inside story”, from Paul’s point of view, of The Friday Thing and its successors, as well as the dotcom bubble as a whole. It’s a very personal autobiographical book, also describing his love life in some excruciating detail.

I like Paul, so I’m probably predisposed to liking this book. And, indeed, I did. I think it’s really well written. By his own admission, at this stage in his life Carr was a bit of an unlikeable idiot, and yet he manages to pull of that brilliant trick of using well-judged self-depreciation and humour to make a thoroughly unlikeable character sympathetic. It’s genuinely funny, and made me laugh out loud at points. And it’s also genuinely insightful. It’s fascinating to read the sort of things that were going on in the tech startup community during these heady days.

This clearly isn’t a heavy-weight, profound, life-changing book, but it has no pretentions in that direction. It’s a short, fun and funny autobiographical tale, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Bringing Nothing to the Party is available now from amazon.co.uk in paperback and on Kindle.

This post was filed under: Book Reviews, .

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12:31
7th August 2013.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk » Review: The Upgrade by Paul Carr




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