Thursday, November 1, 2007

One Red Paper Clip - Book Review

One Red Paperclip
By Kyle MacDonald
Three Rivers Press (NYC) 2007
Kyle's Blog

If you don't start, how can you finish?
It's pretty simple. If you never start, it won't happen.Every great journey starts with a simple step. Just get a foot through the door and make your move. Right foot or left foot, it's your choice.
Kyle MacDonald

In the summer of 2005, Kyle MacDonald was living in Montreal with his girlfriend. He was tired of not having a regular job. He worked mostly casual or contract doing trade shows and sales jobs. Most of the time his girlfriend Dominique ended up paying the rent and buying the food. Kyle decided that it was time he started doing some of the providing. And he also wanted to settle down, and buy a house. The trouble was that they did not have any money for a down payment on a house.

So Kyle decided to trade his way to a house. He started with one red paperclip. He advertised on Craigslist in the Barter section. With a few hours he had traded the paperclip for a fish pen, and a few hours after that (on the same day) the fish pen was traded for a doorknob.

That is how it all started. By Christmas of 2005, Kyle's website (see blog link above) was receiving millions of hits, and the newspapers and TV news stations in both Canada and USA, started asking him for interviews. In fact he was becoming very famous all around the world. He did radio interviews with stations in Australia, Japan and Ireland.

By the following summer (June 2006), Kyle had made 14 trades and the final trade was someone offering to trade his movie role (that he had traded from actor Corbin Bernson from LA Law, for a KISS snowglobe. Corbin collects snowglobes) for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

In July 2006, Kyle signed the deed for the house, and the town of Kipling held auditions for the movie role. According to the book, Kyle also proposed to Dom on that same day. Still trying to find out if they got married yet. In August Kyle and Dominique moved into the house.

I enjoyed the book very much. It was very interesting to read as Kyle writes about how he tried to talk himself out of trading, and then have Dom talk him back into continuing. She is a smart girl. Kyle shows excerpts of some of the more interesting emails he received. Most of which can probably be seen on the blog under the archives. The book was published in New York in June 2007. The Quebec French version is called Un Trombone Rouge, published August 2007.

I read this book for the Canadian Book Challenge.


Literary Feline said...

How interesting! I wonder if the publicity he was getting after awhile contributed to what people were willing to trade with him.

Francesca Thomas said...

He never hid the fact that he eventually wanted a house. So everyone knoew that was his goal.

It's a great book, I really enjoyed it. Details of where to buy the book can be seen on Kyle's blog.

I borrowed my copy from the library. LOL

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book but I did see him on an interview when it came out - pretty fascinating. I meant to read the book too, thanks for the reminder!

John Mutford said...

I didn't know it had been made into a book. Certainly compelling enough to warrant one though!

Melwyk said...

I liked reading it; the story and all the people he met were so fascinating. Even though the writing style wasn't really to my taste, I enjoyed the story. And I think as his project became better known it definitely affected his trading ability. Lucky guy, he ended up in Saskatchewan!