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Lonely at the Top (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Christina Lewis Halpern
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

Anxiety, fear of failure, self-consciousness: these are not the qualities you imagine when you hear the word “heiress." But in this powerful account, Christina Lewis Halpern applies a journalist's eye to her own struggles following the death of her father, the late entrepreneur Reginald F. Lewis, when she was 12.

At the time of his death in 1993, Halpern's father was the richest black man in America, the Jackie Robinson of American business. His bestselling biography, "Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?" details his amazing-rags-to-riches journey from the poverty of segregated Baltimore to the board rooms of Wall Street.

This essay, a mix of memoir and reportage, is an exploration of Lewis's legacy: a bluntly honest and deeply human account of what it’s like to be the sensitive child of a rich and powerful man. As Halpern follows the past to seek the secrets of her father’s success, focusing on his time at Harvard Law School, we learn the story of an American legend, but also the complexities of living with his legacy.


“Christina Lewis Halpern has written a touching, powerful memorial to her extraordinary father, Reginald Lewis, a Harvard Law School legend.”
John Jay Osborn, Jr. author of "The Paper Chase"

"Christina Lewis Halpern offers a relatable and eye-opening window into her family, racial progress in America and just what success really is."
Baratunde Thurston, author of "How to Be Black"

"Exceptional"
The Very Short List


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reginald Lewis--who died in 1993 when his daughter, Christina, was only 12--was the first black American to build a billion-dollar business. He was an impossibly confident, charismatic, and exacting man who studied his way out of segregated east Baltimore, and into a world of affluence dominated by whites. Lewis earned everything he got in life, except perhaps the one thing that set him on his path to success: admission to Harvard Law School. Family legend has it that Reginald literally talked his way into Harvard through an affirmative action program. It is this conundrum that leads his now-grown daughter--a former Wall Street Journal reporter--to interview his surviving friends, colleagues, and professors for insight into her father's legacy, and his influence on her own sense of self. Along the way, she reveals fascinating tidbits about her life growing up black in the predominantly white world of New York's wealthiest and most successful. The experience left her wondering where she truly belonged. In Lonely at the Top, Christina explores her deep-seated self-consciousness and feelings of worthlessness with unabashed and poignant honesty. --Paul Diamond

Product Details

  • File Size: 128 KB
  • Print Length: 38 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006SMF4H8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,700 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating introspection January 5, 2012
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having lived in the seemingly harnessing shadow of my own father's underachieving anonymity, it was interesting to get a glimpse of an heiresses' vulnerability from her own unique perspective.

What really brought me to this book was I recently read her father's book "why should white guys have all the fun?" which I loved and couldn't put down. This book by his youngest daughter, reminded me of a Malcolm Gladwell type exposé and after reading this book it actually, to me, adds to the allure and mystique of her iconic father. He had a vision rooted with self belief. He was a genius not in scholarly measurement, but in visualizing and following through with unfaltering belief,regardless of the mindset of those around him.

I've also recently read the Steve Jobs biography and there are definitely some parallels in these titans, as I think Reginald Lewis also possessed his own version of the reality distortion field. It is showcased in this book in how he "arranged" the seemingly miraculous way he entered Harvard. I'm not sure if anyone has ever done this before or since? I think there is the potential for a further book on the power of such unwavering belief in self and how it correlates to groundbreaking success. The colorful way the author's Uncle James sums up these unique traits just seems to scratch the surface of the true genius in this type of ability to accomplish what others deem impossible that both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Jobs possessed.

This was an enjoyable read, and I congratulate the author for believing in her own voice.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barely Passing January 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great combination of memoir and journalism, a deeply personal and fearless return to the place where Reginald Lewis, at one time the "richest black man in America," got his break and left the segregated world he'd grown up in to attend a special summer program for black students at Harvard Law School. The author finds some surprises--her late father's grades, for one--and she unflinchingly explores his legacy, her own self-consciousness about her achievements, and the burden of her father's success story on a child for whom doors historically closed were open. It's rare to find writing this insightful about race and privilege in America, and my only complant is that it isn't longer! I hope the author turns this start into a book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More, please January 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a beautifully written, thoughtful, brave, unflinching meditation on matters of race, class, privilege, mourning, confidence, achievement, and the parent-child relationship. If you have any interest in any of those, it's well worth the $1.99.

My only complaint -- if it counts as such -- is that I think this material might be even more extraordinary as a full-length book, expanding on some of the thoughts and ideas more fully. But as it is, it's absolutely wonderful, and a refreshingly honest (and personal) look at issues that Americans tend to be all too squeamish about discussing openly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was drawn to read it as it described anxiety, self-consciousness and doubt from a self-described billionaire heiress. No way! It was a naive reaction on my part, how can it be when she was raised with all the priveleges that money can buy?

But, like any teenager who loses her father at an early age, even if raised by a nurturing mother, anxieties, self-consciousness and doubt set in.

In this beautiful memoir chapter (it felt so short to read in just an hour), Christina Lewis Halpern had recreated the memorable parts not just of her life, but that of her father, whose sheer will and inner confidence propelled him to the top of a white bread society.

I read the book about her father entitled "Why Should White Guys have all the fun?" and it was the love story between her mom and dad that emboldened me to write to Loida Nicolas Lewis. I sat in my sofa for two nights straight to finish the book, and after reading the book, I cried at not knowing this man whose incredible personality was felt within the book pages. Loida graciously replied. It gave me a different view of "folks at the top".

Christina Lewis Halpern did the same with this clipped book memoir. She is quite a storyteller, almost as big in her skill of writing what is needed to portray the "bigness" of Reginald Lewis' personality, but not quite the depth of civic activism and philanthropy of his wife, Loida Lewis.

Read this, it is honest in revealing how race intersects not just our status in society, but how we are affected in how we view ourselves, irrespective of class or origins.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lonely At Top January 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Christina, what a wonderful read! Your writing truly shares insight into the inner self. I can see that your research uncovered for you a greater understanding of the challenges your father faced and the path that he took to become the man that he was. And your book demonstrates that a man like him does not have to possess the greatest intellect; however, he does have to work a lot harder to achieve success. Based on this writing - and things I have read from your work as a journalist - you do not ever have to feel insecure about your own accomplishments or feel that "legacy" was somehow the only reason you were able to get into Harvard or secure your jobs. Many people would have been content to coast through life and not create their own story. I do anticipate that over time you will go down as a great writer of your generation, so please keep the prose coming. Great heartfelt story telling!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Goodread
I always wondered how.blacks. we're able to climb so high. In this world .our president is an example of this. He is wishy- washy, and speaks out of both sides of his mouth.
Published 10 months ago by Bobbie Cook Murray
2.0 out of 5 stars A terrible book
An avid reader of anything in print. So sorry I could not finish the last four Chapters
I will not tell my friend ho said I should read this.
Sorry I am so negative.
Published 10 months ago by Darold R Hagerman
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice
This book was and interesting look at modern day struggles. Having to make her own way in life and doing it well.
Published 15 months ago by bestexec
2.0 out of 5 stars It isn't that lonely at the top.
I really couldn't relate to the characters and more than once I switched to "Google" to check out some of the assertions.
Published 16 months ago by Charles Spratt
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost interest part way through...
Perhaps I was just not impressed with the sometimes crass presentation, unnecessarily... Is she trying to prove she is hard as nails or ????
Published 16 months ago by Patricia D
5.0 out of 5 stars Adds a new dimension to the RFL legacy
For those not familiar with the author's father, I suggest they look for "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" and read that too. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Bituin
5.0 out of 5 stars Confidence is a State of mind
Christine contemplates in the deeper meaning of her life rather than skimming through it unlike other stories of poor little rich girls that we've gotten tired of. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Karrel
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
I loved the book. It touches everyone in a different way. The lesson here is always do your best and look high.
Published on May 15, 2012 by Ina
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading for the marginalized people of the world.
This is a highly recommended reading for all the marginalized people of the world. Reggie Lewis was quite a man and should be a role model for those who have dreams of achieving... Read more
Published on April 13, 2012 by Cambridge
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair
Nothing enlightening about the story. The. Author seemed unable to adjust to the realities of life and to adapt to her situation. Read more
Published on March 11, 2012 by Rgoldblum
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More About the Author

Christina Lewis Halpern is a journalist and essayist and the author of "Lonely At The Top," a memoir about her father, Reginald Lewis, the first African-American to build a billion-dollar business. A former real estate reporter for The Wall Street Journal, her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The National Catholic Reporter. She received her B.A. from Harvard College, where she was a columnist for The Harvard Crimson. She lives in New York City with her husband, son and dog.

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