One Red Paperclip

paperclipA tale of optimism and possibilities

If you seek inspiration, read “One Red Paperclip”. This is such a great story! Kyle MacDonald made 14 barters in 2005/2006. He started with a red paperclip and ended owning a real house.

His writing style is witty. The book is full of funny self-reflection.

What I like most about the tale is that you can read it in two ways. As a ‘true story’, but also as a lesson in entrepreneurship and boldness. MacDonald ends each chapter with some philosophical remarks. Again you can read these as just funny wisecracks or you can see the deeper meaning. And it really doesn’t matter which of the two you choose. It’s good either way.

Bigger and better

Kyle MacDonald played Bigger and Better when he was young. This is a Canadian children’s game with the intent of going from door to door and barter something you have for something bigger.

At some point in his life he came up with the idea of playing that game as a grownup with higher stakes. “What would I have to do to turn one red paperclip into a house of my own.” It’s amazing what the impact of this idea was, once he was well on his way.


Come to think of it, that is the third point of view from which you can read the book; PR and promotion. The people that were involved all benefitted from their trade one way or another. Because of the media exposure his story picked up eventually they even got their 15 minutes of fame.

The true value of things is not the money they represent, but their meaning for other people.

Did you read anything interesting lately which is worthwhile sharing? Please tell us in the commentbox below.

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