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Lonely at the Top (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 38 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews 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: 139 KB
  • Print Length: 38 pages
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006SMF4H8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,416 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Shade on January 5, 2012
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 By savonarola on 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 By Prosy A. Delacruz on January 3, 2012
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By EmceeLuckyD on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Steiger on January 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Christina Lewis Halpern's memoir takes us into a rarefied world. Her father, Reginald Lewis, dragged himself up from his childhood on an unpaved street in East Baltimore to Harvard Law to being owner of a billion-dollar global food conglomerate and one of the world's richest black men. She grew up brilliant, beautiful and privileged in Paris and New York, never quite sure whether her Harvard College admission resulted from her own scholarly achievements (substantial), her race (she's a two-fer, with a Filipina mother to go with the black father), or her dad's ability to donate a building to the law school. Disclosure: I knew Reg Lewis in my role as the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and, more than a decade after his untimely death (he 50, she 12), encountered daughter Christina as a highly promising young reporter and writer at the paper. This lovely work shows that promise being fulfilled before our eyes. Through interviews of his contemporaries, she learns how he parlayed bluff and pluck, brains and luck to push himself into the vanguard of young black men clambering through a narrow window of opportunity opened by the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It proves easier for her to understand him than to learn just who she is and wants to be. But she makes a good start, and takes us along for the ride, anecdote after anecdote, some playful, some painful. We feel her frustration tinged by guilt when her mom interrupts her graduation good-byes with friends to drag the whole family blocks away for photos in front of dad's building. Earlier, we see her flirt with a couple of strapping law students as she seeks directions near that same building. They start going on about how wonderful Mr. Lewis was and then refuse to accept her assertion that she was his daughter.Read more ›
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