If you work with PDF files, the chances are you will have heard of Itext. Even if you have never heard of iText, you have probably handled a PDF which was created or edited with iText. iText is a very popular open-source library for creating PDF files, originally written by Bruno Lowagie. Like most great Open-Source projects. It started as a part-time project to solve a problem the author had, before Bruno turned it into a full-time company which he eventually sold to some Venture Capitalists.
Entreprenerd (I wish I had thought of that title but it is too late now) tells this story, from its very beginnings to the final sale of the last remaining shares by Bruno. Like all great stories, there is plenty of action, lots of twists, a great cast, some baddies and a hopefully happy ending.
It is quite hard to exactly define Entreprenerd. This is definitely not a technical book. You want Bruno’s Text in Action (available as a PDF naturally) if you want to code IText.
It is definitely a business book that documents meticulously how Bruno built and sold his business, the decisions he took and their rationale, and how he handled all the problems he met along the way. It is a very generous and candid book and Bruno puts in a lot of details and numbers.
It is also a warning to be less wary about the problems you can encounter (even with the best of planning and forethought) and a cautionary tale about the excesses of some Venture Capitalists.
It also covers the really importance of culture and working people who share your views, vision and ethos.
It is also a commentary on the IT world for the last 25 years and you will meet a whole series of players from the world appearing in its page. I was very proud to even find that I had a mention.
Lastly it is a really entertaining read, carefully told my the person at the centre of the story.
You can find out more about Bruno and buy the book on his website.
Itext and Bruno may have parted company for the moment but they are both still very much alive and developing. It will be very interesting to see where they both go next.