November 19, 1968 |
El Paso, Texas
|Occupation||author, financial analyst|
|Notable award(s)||Eric Hoffer Award
Next Generation Indie Book Award
2007 Medalist: Forward Book of the Year
2007 Booksense Notable
Paco Ahlgren (born November 19, 1968) is an American novelist. His debut novel, Discipline, was published in July 2007 by Greenleaf Book Group and it went on to receive the 2008 Eric Hoffer Book Award in commercial fiction.
Born Frank Richard Ahlgren, III, his parents soon nicknamed him "Paco" (the Spanish nickname for Francisco) and he would be known by that name from then on.
In his late teens, Ahlgren began a career as a professional musician with the band The Bentley Tock. The Bentley Tock began performing around the campus of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ahlgren was the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. In 1992, The Bentley Tock began recording their songs, releasing the CD titled "Able."
Ahlgren continued his musical career with his long-time colleague and friend, Joseph Santori. Together, the two went on to form the acoustic duo known as The Ultraviolet Catastrophe – a name taken from Ahlgren's deep interest in subatomic physics. During his time with the Ultraviolet Catastrophe, Ahlgren became an accomplished cellist, and mastered music theory.
In his early twenties, Ahlgren set his musical interests aside – choosing instead to pursue other passions, including philosophy, psychology, and modern scientific and social theories. He traveled extensively – spending long periods of time in Mexico (Ahlgren is fluent in Spanish).
Eventually, he earned a degree in finance and worked as an economist, analyst, programmer, and cryptologist for nearly two decades. For several years, Ahlgren closely studied subjects ranging from eastern epistemology and metaphysics, to subatomic science.
Finance, economics, and technology
In the early 1990s, Ahlgren began his career as a financial analyst and economist. His first taste came in the form of futures contracts, and Ahlgren enjoyed the fast-paced world of commodities, but his employers recognized another talent emerging from his day-to-day analysis of markets: he seemed to have an insatiable passion for computers and technology. In 1993, Ahlgren was given the task of automating a trading system one of his colleagues had invented – a job which quickly evolved into networking first the office in which he and his co-workers resided, and then eventually the entire company. It was also during this time that Ahlgren got his first taste of Unix (and then Linux), as well as relational databases. He used various programming languages and database platforms to create more efficient trading systems, and eventually took his knowledge online, using HTML, CSS – and later PHP, SQL, and other scripting and programming languages to create complex interfaces between clients and their trading accounts. Eventually, Ahlgren became something of a pioneer in the world of online security, using encryption and hashing[disambiguation needed] algorithms to create secure environments for clients and their accounts.
In 1996, Ahlgren's life changed dramatically, and after years of alcohol abuse, he stopped drinking and joined the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. He considers himself to be an active member of the group. That same year, he decided to take the knowledge he had accumulated and started his own investment company, The Popperian Group – named after Sir Karl Popper, whose influence over Ahlgren had been so immense. Although Ahlgren continued to use his technical skills to more efficiently analyze markets and interface with clients through systems integration and administration, he largely abandoned the speculative world of commodities trading – choosing instead a more conservative, and lucrative methodology he had been increasingly exposed to: the long-term philosophy of Warren Buffett, Ben Graham, David Dodd, Charlie Munger, and Philip Fisher – known as value investing.
In late 1998, Ahlgren started a side development company called Design Originate, which he used as a vehicle for much of his systems administration and web design, development, and programming work. While Design Originate never consumed anything approaching Ahlgren's entire focus, it has provided a medium through which he has developed his own technological projects – including his book's web presence, and the functionality surrounding the security and interfaces of his financial clients through the years. Ahlgren has also used Design Originate as a tool for serving a relatively small list of exclusive outsourced relationships he has developed with clients requiring specialized networking, systems, or development needs.
For many years, Ahlgren delved deep into the connections between disparate philosophies and methods of thought. He lists as some of his biggest influences people like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, Sir Karl Popper, David Deutsch, Thomas Kuhn, F.A. Hayek, Warren Buffett, Philip Fisher, and Ludwig von Mises. Ahlgren's experiences, interests, and research into fields as seemingly far apart as cryptography, computer science, programming, economics, finance, value investing, humanistic epistemology, quantum physics, and eastern mysticism – most notably Taoism and Buddhism – provided the foundations for his book Discipline, which is a confluence of his many passions. Certainly the book displays (if only subtly) his deep enthusiasm for knowledge – especially science and mathematics, as they relate to philosophy and religion.
Ahlgren is a self-professed libertarian, and closely aligns himself with the philosophies of such contemporaries as Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Peter Schiff, and Jimmy Rogers. Ahlgren is also a student of the philosophy of Ayn Rand – known as Objectivism. While he still admits to be an admirer of Rand's, he has largely dismissed the foundations of her philosophy as flawed at the most basic level.
Discipline has received favorable reviews from Jeffrey Satinover, noted psychiatrist and author of The Quantum Brain, and Dr. Nicholas Herbert, the author of Quantum Reality, Faster Than Light, and Elemental Mind.
In 2009, Discipline was set to become a motion picture by David Permut and Steve Jones. Ahlgren was reluctant to allow the book to become a film, suggesting that too much of the story's substance would be lost if it were condensed into a movie. As of 2011, nothing further has materialized on this front, and there is some skepticism as to whether the film will be made.
For many years, Ahlgren contributed his financial, economic, and political perspective through his column, The Bottom Violation, which has been widely syndicated and carried by websites including Seeking Alpha, Benzinga, Investor Concepts, and the Gold Speculator.
Ahlgren hosted his own television show called "The Free Market," as well as a radio show and podcast of the same name. The broadcasts were based on the works of such philosophers and economists as Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Sir Karl Popper, and Milton Friedman – among others.
Ahlgren lives in Austin, Texas.
- 2008 Eric Hoffer Award. "Discipline – by Paco Ahlgren". Hoffer Award Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Award. "Discipline – by Paco Ahlgren". Next Generation Indie Book Awards Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- 2007 Medalist: Forward Book of the Year. "Discipline – by Paco Ahlgren". Foreword Book of the Year Website. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- 2007 Booksense Notable. "Discipline – by Paco Ahlgren". Booksense Notable Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Greenleaf Book Group. "Discipline: A Novel". Greenleaf Book Website. Retrieved 2008-01-18.[dead link]
- Hofferaward.Com Archived 20 June 2009 at WebCite
- Nothing Binding. "Discipline – by Paco Ahlgren". Nothing Binding Writer's Website. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- Cox, James A. "The Fiction Shelf". Midwest Book Review: Library Bookwatch, Volume 2, Number 9. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- Ramey, Julia. "Paco Ahlgren: Debut novelist reads from Discipline". Houston Press Arts and Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- Miller, Patricia. "Supernatural crime fighting fills first novel". The Durango Herald. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- McNary, James (2009-07-19). "Permut, Jones set 'Discipline'". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- The Bottom Violation. "Author, Paco Ahlgren". The Bottom Violation Blog. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
- Seeking Alpha. "Author, Paco Ahlgren". Seeking Alpha Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Benzinga. "Author, Paco Ahlgren". Benzinga Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Investor Concepts. "Author, Paco Ahlgren". Investor Concepts Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- The Gold Speculator. "Author, Paco Ahlgren". The Gold Speculator Website. Retrieved 2010-01-01.