Thursday, November 1, 2007

One Red Paperclip

This is a bizarre book that I first heard of through another blog that I visit often. It took me to Kyle MacDonald’s site, and although I didn’t get exactly what it was all about, it just seemed really weird. Cut to 2 months ago when I first spotted the book at the store and decided it would be worth a read. Cut to a month ago, where after going through Kyle’s blog I had finally decided I had to have it.

Well, bizarre does not even begin to describe this story. And since you know that it is no fiction, not by the meanest stretch of imagination, it gets stranger. A little piece of stationary becomes a big, brick-and-mortar house – all 1100 sq ft of it!
For the uninitiated – I say that because nearly every news and radio channel covered this guy and his remarkable journey – this book is by Kyle McDonald about his Bigger-and-Better-game-gone-Biggest-and-Bestest!

At the start of this book, Kyle is an unemployed, cheerful twenty five year old, who decides to use the red paperclip that is holding his resume together to trade up to a house. Well the house part does not come first, only the trading idea does. So a few craigslist postings later, Kyle has someone who is willing to trade him for a wooden fish-pen. And so the trades go on. From a beer keg to a cube box and even to a movie role! Kyle keeps nothing for himself and gives it a year to trade up to a house. Along the way he meets some fantastic people, who help him along on his journey, with lots of goodwill and of course, a trade item. Kyle travels across Canada and the USA in his adventure, involving his whole family and his girlfriend, Dom. In the end, Kyle is still unemployed, but now a proud homeowner as well!

The book is a real feel-good read. Kyle is a simple guy, not too bright – thankfully! - and his writing is just like him: simple. No fancy words, no territorial jokes, no I-got-lucky sermons. He tells it like it happened, and peppers the books with tid bits of learning – most of them could have sounded like management lessons (because that’s pretty much what they are) but don’t. I am all for a book with pictures and this one has plenty of them, so that made me really happy! Kyle comes through as a fun guy, with immense faith in the goodness of all people. In the end he writes, that this journey that he undertook was not so much about trading up to a house as it was about meeting great people along the way. Even in the people he chooses to trade with, he ensures that the person he is trading with has real need for his item. This is especially obvious in the way he decides the person he would trade the recording contract with.

I’ll just say this: if you want to know the entire sequence of the trades, then you can just go to his website or google it out. You don’t need the book for it. But what you do get in the book is the journey, and that is what is more enjoyable.
Visit Kyle’s page at:

Title: One Red Paperclip
Author: Kyle MacDonald


Sometimes I don't, sometimes I do said...

Had heard about this guy when he was still working up to his house.... seems like a looong time ago. Have you heard the story of the million dollar homepage? Check it out at - and then read the story at

'Smee! said...

Sheesh I thought Kyle was guy! Well I guess he's brighter than he sounds, looking as he got his house and loads more dough with the book and the site.

Adi said...

One Red Used Guitar:
That shall be my future book on how I swapped my guitar for an admit into the Ivy League :D..

workhard said...

I think i d like to read this one..