There are two new (relatively) autobiographies that have been published recently. Both of these autobiographies are about “Complex Idea Men” — Inventor Rationals. The difference between the two men, however, is significant. One man wrote his autobiography and published it both physically and electronically, April 19th, 2011. The other did not publish his full autobiography prior to his death on April 21, 1910. Rather this man put in his will that it could be officially published 100 years later. A hundred years is a significant amount time.
The full autobiography was published as detailed in the will — physically, and electronically—on November 15, 2010, 100 years after his death. That is the autobiography of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
The other, of course, is the autobiography of Paul Allen.
Mark Twain and Paul Allen, Inventor Rationals, are Complex Individuals – and they are honest about their lives and themselves in their autobiographies. Two very interesting and candid reads.
Both are Complex Idea Men, a variant on Idea Men. In fact, by a reductive analogy they are Real Idea Men. But also they are Complex versus Real, because some of their ideas or visions did not make it, usually because they were not ready for prime time.
Inventors. Mark Twain invented realistic American literature, including American science fiction. William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature.” Paul Allen invented the idea of writing software for an affordable computer, sparking the PC. Both revolutionized the world in their own Inventor way.
Ideas. Paul Allen was lucky, he had a friend, in Bill Gates, who could vet his numerous ideas, his visions, and who turned one of those ideas into billions. Paul has spent billions, lost billions, and made billions on his novel ideas since leaving Microsoft. Many of Paul’s ideas have been “before their time.” For example, he saw the World Wide Web before many, and immediately got it, trying to push its development too fast. Some of his ideas, like Interactive TV or Interval Research, fizzled, and other ideas, like Starwave, eventually were embedded into the Internet. Paul Allen is about the future — he has funded space travel, brain research, and Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), to name a few of his more visible ideas. A Complex Man: all detailed in his autobiography, Idea Man.
Mark Twain, born in middle America, had a more difficult time, although he loved science and technology, and has three patents to his name. He was friendly with Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. He mostly lost money on his technology investment ideas, ideas “before their time.” In fact, his lost so much money on his investments, he had to write and go on the lecture circuit to pay for his bankruptcy. Luckily, he made money on his numerous novels and books, which were based on his real experiences in life. A Complex Man: detailed in his autobiography, The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.