Make no mistake about it. When I am ready for a beer, I choose a Budweiser. Regular. Not Bud Lite, not Michelob, not Michelob Ultra. I like the “King of Beers.” Regular Budweiser.
So, I am enjoying the former best-seller, Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer by William Knoedelseder (New York: Harper Business, 2012). It is rare, but not without precedent, that we will go back and present a former business best-seller at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas that we have passed over previously from the lists. This one was a best-seller on several top lists. Even today, it remains at #13, #38, and #49 on three different Amazon.com best-selling business lists. I will be discussing this with Randy Mayeux, who also presents at the First Friday Book Synopsis, as to whether we should go back and get this one. It is really worth considering.
The inside cover states that the book is “the engrossing, often scandalous saga of one of the wealthiest, longest-lasting, and most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce – a cautionary tale about prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the blessings and dark consequences of success.”
He is a veteran journalist and best-selling author who honed his investigative and narrative skills during 12 years as a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, where his ground breaking coverage of the entertainment industry produced a long string of exposes. His two-year investigation of payola and other corrupt practices in the record business sparked five federal grand jury investigations across the country, led to the arrest and conviction of a score of organized figures and formed the basis of his first best-selling book, Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the Mafia (Harper Collins 1993). Stiffed was named Best Non-Fiction work of 1993 by Entertainment Weekly, which called it “the scariest book of the year…and the funniest.” The two of the principal mob figures depicted in Stiffed–New Jersey crime boss Gaetano “Corky” Vastola and Roulette Records founder Morris Levy–subsequently served as the models for HBO’s Tony Soprano and his music business mentor Herman “Hesh” Rabkin. Since 2000, Knoedelseder has written three other books. In Eddie’s Name (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) chronicles the brutal murder of a Philadelphia teenager that made national headlines when Knoedelseder, as executive producer of the Knight Ridder news program Inquirer News Tonight, pressed the city to make public the content of 911 tapes recorded the night of the killing, which ultimately revealed a complete breakdown of Philadelphia’s emergency response system; I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy’s Golden Era (Public Affairs/Perseus) recounts Knoedelseder’s time as cub reporter covering the L.A. comedy club scene when David Letterman, Jay Leno, Robin Williams and Andy Kaufman were young and undiscovered. It has been optioned for film by actor Jim Carrey. His next book for Harper Collins, Fins, is about the life and times of Harley Earl, the visionary car designer who helped engineer the phenomenal rise of General Motors.
I found this summary of the book on Amazon.com:
The creators of Budweiser and Michelob beers, the Anheuser-Busch company is one of the wealthiest, most colorful and enduring family dynasties in the history of American commerce. In Bitter Brew, critically acclaimed journalist William Knoedelseder tells the riveting, often scandalous saga of the rise and fall of the dysfunctional Busch family—an epic tale of prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the dark consequences of success that spans three centuries, from the open salvos of the Civil War to the present day.
You can read an excellent review of this book, published in The Wall Street Journal by Roger Lowenstein by clicking on this link:
Lowenstein is the author of The End of Wall Street and Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.
The selection of this book for the First Friday Book Synopsis is not automatic. There are other considerations as to whether we will go back and get one like this. I will discuss this more fully with Randy Mayeux. His call has been very reliable, and predictive of long-term success. In one of his previous blog posts, he noted that in 2013, he had presented seven best-sellers that are still on the New York Times best-seller list, while I only had one during the same period. There is no guarantee we will decide to work this one in. Regardless of what we decide to do, and no matter what you drink, this is quite a saga, and worth a careful read.
Maybe you could pop one while reading it! Note – that’s not what I did. I prefer to concentrate on what I am reading, and remember what I read.
What an amazing concept that Siri Hustvedt exposes in her new best-seller, The Blazing World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014). As described in The Wall Street Journal, “to expose sexism, a female artist asks three men to be fronts for her work. The stunt goes terribly awry” (p. C8). The book has only been released one week, and it is rapidly climbing the list of fiction best-sellers on Amazon.com.
Who is Siri Hustvedt? She is the author of five novels, The Blindfold, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved,and The Summer Without Men. She also published three collections of essays, A Plea for Eros, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, and Living, Thinking, Looking, in addition to a nonfiction work: The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves. She is the recipient of the 2012 International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities.
I found this summary of the book on Amazon.com:
With The Blazing World, internationally bestselling author Siri Hustvedt returns to the New York art world in her most masterful and urgent novel since What I Loved. Hustvedt, who has long been celebrated for her “beguiling, lyrical prose” (The Sunday Times Books, London), tells the provocative story of the artist Harriet Burden. After years of watching her work ignored or dismissed by critics, Burden conducts an experiment she calls Maskings: she presents her own art behind three male masks, concealing her female identity.
The three solo shows are successful, but when Burden finally steps forward triumphantly to reveal herself as the artist behind the exhibitions, there are critics who doubt her. The public scandal turns on the final exhibition, initially shown as the work of acclaimed artist Rune, who denies Burden’s role in its creation. What no one doubts, however, is that the two artists were intensely involved with each other. As Burden’s journals reveal, she and Rune found themselves locked in a charged and dangerous game that ended with the man’s bizarre death.
Ingeniously presented as a collection of texts compiled after Burden’s death, The Blazing World unfolds from multiple perspectives. The exuberant Burden speaks—in all her joy and fury—through extracts from her own notebooks, while critics, fans, family members, and others offer their own conflicting opinions of who she was, and where the truth lies.
From one of the most ambitious and internationally renowned writers of her generation, The Blazing World is a polyphonic tour de force. An intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle, it explores the deceptive powers of prejudice, money, fame, and desire. Emotionally intense, intellectually rigorous, ironic, and playful, Hustvedt’s new novel is a bold, rich masterpiece, one that will be remembered for years to come.
You can read a full review of this book by Clare McHugh, published in The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2014, p. C8, at this link: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303795904579431460059821576?KEYWORDS=Vengeance+by+Deception&mg=reno64-wsj Ms. McHugh is an expert reviewer, currently an editor at Time, Inc.
You won’t see this one at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, because we do not present works of fiction, unless they are business-related. One example of that we might see is The Circle by Dave Eggers (New York: Knopf, 2013), as I gave this book to Randy Mayeux for Christmas. I’m not sure he’s finished it, and it is not on our selection list yet, but we only announce books one month in advance, so we will just wait and see.
Regardless, you might put this one on your escape reading list. It looks great!
I look forward to some future month at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas for a presentation on a new best-seller, Talk Like TED: The Nine Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), written by Carmine Gallo. The book debuted this week at #6 on The Wall Street Journal best-selling list, and is currently #3, #4, and #7 in three different Amazon.com business best-selling lists.
Who is Carmine Gallo? This is not his first book! Carmine also wrote The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, The Apple Experience, which was the first book about the the Apple Store and how other brands can elevate the customer experience, and Fire Them Up, which identifies the seven secrets of the world’s most inspiring leaders. You can find synopses of some of these books for sale on our 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com site. Interestingly, Gallo is not associated with TED talks.
Here is a summary of the book that I found on Amazon.com:
Ideas are the true currency of the twenty-first century. So, in order to succeed you need to be able to sell yourself and your ideas persuasively. The ability to sell yourself and your ideas is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. TED Talks have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking. TED—which stands for technology, entertainment, and design—brings together the world’s leading innovators and thinkers. Their online presentations have been viewed more than a billion times. These are the presentations that set the world on fire, and the techniques that top TED speakers use are the same ones that will make any presentation more dynamic, fire up any team, and give anyone the confidence to overcome their fear of public speaking.
Have you never watched a TED talk? When I teach presentation skills at the University of Dallas in its College of Business MBA program, I require students to watch and critique five presentations from this site. It’s a goldmine. You can access the site here: http://www.ted.com. At Creative Communication Network, we teach a custom presentation skills program based upon intensive individual coaching. You can be sure that we will be updating the program with some of the techniques from this book, in order to offer our clients the newest possible information to help them be successful.
I do not know which month this will be at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. We only publish our schedule one month ahead. But, you will have ample notice of the session when we will present this one. The synopsis of the book will be presented by either Randy Mayeux or myself, depending upon our selections. However, I do know it will be coming up very soon. This is already a blockbuster best-seller.