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Promises I Made My Mother Hardcover – April 28, 2009


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Amazon Exclusive: "Books That Have Influenced Me"
Read an exclusive essay by Sam Haskell, the author of Promises I Made My Mother [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; English Language edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345506553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345506559
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
What would my mother say? How would she want me to handle this situation? How can I make this tough decision and stay true to myself?

What would my mother say?

Sam Haskell still asks himself these questions every day.

When Haskell was young, his devoted mother, Mary, instilled in her son the values of character, faith, and honor by setting an example and asking him to promise to live his life according to her lessons. He did, and those promises have served Haskell consistently from his Mississippi boyhood to his long career at the venerable William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills.

In this inspiring memoir full of touching stories and amusing anecdotes, Haskell reveals how he kept his pledge to his mother to live a decent life–even in the shark-infested waters of Hollywood, where he handled the hottest stars and packaged the highest-rated shows–by refusing to become the cliché of an amoral agent. Here is Haskell as a child in Amory, Mississippi (pop. 7,000), discovering the power of hope as he waits for an unlikely visit from the “Cheer Man” (a representative of the detergent company who gave ten dollars to anyone using the brand), learning humility after pursuing an eighth-grade “Good Citizenship” award he cockily assumed he’d win, confronting the complications of human character when a near-fatal car crash exposed his judgmental father’s true nature.

Years later, in Hollywood, Haskell would rely on his mother’s teachings–honesty, self-reliance, and belief in God–as he swiftly rose from the William Morris mailroom to eventually become the company’s Worldwide Head of Television. His capacity for friendship and his insistence on living his version of the Golden Rule (being “thoughtfully political”) allowed him to handle various client crises and the tense negotiations that nearly scuttled the last years of Everybody Loves Raymond and the entire existence of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Haskell has achieved success through self-respect, and from his story we learn how we, too, can maintain our dignity when faced with life’s challenges. This stirring memoir is a testament to mothers everywhere who instill in their sons the lasting values they need to become good men and devoted fathers.

A Look Inside Promises I Made My Mother

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Sam Haskell with Ray Romano
Sam Haskell and his mother
The cast of Stars Over Mississippi


Review

“My friend Sam Haskell’s journey has taken him from rural Mississippi to the great cities of the world—including The White House and Buckingham Palace. This book will tell you exactly how he did it. He had an inspirational mother who taught him life’s lessons!”—Morgan Freeman

“My friend Sam Haskell’s Promises I Made My Mother is a portrait of character—something mothers and sons should read together while celebrating one of the greatest bonds that exist in the world today!”—Lily Tomlin

“Sam Haskell is an anomaly in Hollywood. He brings to this book his humor, his honor and his unique perspective on how to live life. He is a great friend.”—Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS

“I’ve always wondered how Sam Haskell survived in Hollywood, a viper’s nest that would make any asp jealous! Sam always treated everyone with respect and behaved with honor. Now having read Promises I Made My Mother, I understand that Sam found success by being true to himself and keeping his promises to his mother. It’s all in the breeding, and for you, it’s all in the reading!”—Doris Roberts, actress, Everybody Loves Raymond

“My friend Sam Haskell has revealed aspects of his life that even I didn’t know…Promises I Made My Mother is an eye opening read for anyone who has the capacity to dream.”—Dolly Parton

“It has been over 30 years since I signed on as Sam’s first client right out of the mail room at the William Morris Agency. He has kept his promises to his beloved mother and to all the rest of us who owe him so much. This book is a must read for anyone who hopes to find ‘true’ success in any field…the kind that lasts forever.”—Kathie Lee Gifford

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I'm starting my second reading of the book now!
Dianne Duperier
Sam Haskell shares his dreams, his love for his incredible mother and the many lessons of life he endured to make it to where he is today.
Joyce G. Wagster
If more people were like him, the world would be a better place, for sure.
L. BLOUIN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Ray on May 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Character is all you have in the dark" is my favorite quote from "Promises I Made My Mother"! This chapter alone is worth the read! What a gift and a challenge this book is to all parents, men and women-especially, single mothers trying to teach values to their young men in
this compromising world. Haskell throughout the book engages the reader on a journey of choices and decisions he made all based on lessons learn early in life from his mother. The stories and examples given, run the gambit of emotions. Some made me cry and some made me laugh out loud--all good!!
Great to know there are still good men in this world who can make it to the top. To quote Haskell, "We must look in the mirror often, both literally and figuratively,and have the strength of character to be honest with ourselves about what we see. Otherwise our lives become compromised and we are left forever incomplete."
Don't miss this delightful and worthwhile book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By June D. Goza on May 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just LOVED this book. Once I started, I did not put it down until I had finished it, at which point I felt as if Sam was an old friend, having told me his stories over a glass of wine instead of my having read them. What a lucky man to have had a mother who instilled such values in her son, and what an inspiration to me, a mother of two. I have already read many passages from the book to my children, and will continue to remind them daily of the importance of good character. I find myself telling them more often now how special they are and how their dreams can be achieved, no matter how great. This book will make you laugh out loud and cry until your tears have run dry. I will read it again and again; it's that kind of book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Penny Pearlman on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Promises I Made My Mother is everything I expected it to be and more. I met Sam Haskell just two years ago after having heard about him from a number of people. Everyone said he was one special man - generous and open-hearted. They were right. After reading Promises, I've come to understand what has motivated him to be the kind of human being people want to emulate. I was warmed by his love and admiration for his mother who was so influential in his life. The lessons contained in his book about integrity, honesty, hard work and following your heart are universal and the celebrity quotient makes Promises an engaging and entertaining read. I couldn't put it down! Penny Pearlman, author of award winning Pretty Smart: Lessons From Our Miss Americas
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By patty mauldin on May 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! If everyone raised their children as Sam's mother raised him, the world would be a much better place. Here's to good old fashioned values!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn H. Weidner on May 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Imagine that someday, one of my two sons writes a book about the lessons I instilled as a Mother. This book gave me so much to think about and reminded me that raising children is so much more then just keeping them safe and healthy! The fact that a man immersed in the shark infested waters of Hollywood could have so much character and moral strength and see the direct connection to his Mother's life lessons is both encouraging and inspiring. Sometimes we forget that our boys are, in fact, listening to what we say and watching what we do. This book made me want to take an extra moment to talk to my boys about the everyday decisions they will face as they go out into the world. I can only hope that they have paid attention to me as Sam payed attention to the words and deeds of his loving Momma.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mabel D. on May 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Just how DOES a single mother raise a boy into a young man in today's world? I picked up the book thinking here is a successful guy that had a positive relationship with his mom -what did she do right?
Little did I know that I held a compass for guiding my own 10 year old through these early years. I never imagined the impact I had in my child's life until Promises. I want him to "shine in the light" and I am going to help him get there. An important read for single moms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By atomictiki on July 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Sam Haskell's "Promises I Made My Mother" just flat out wonderful! Written with grace and skill, it is a joy to read, highly inspirational and makes you feel great/re-assured that people like Mr. Haskell still exist in the world.

I don't normally read these kinds of books because they oftentimes come off preachy or saccharine, but Sam Haskell has a great knack for distilling his mother's simple-yet-sage wisdom and relating how living in her image has brought him professional and personal happiness. The book also reads like a love story to not only his mother, but his family, friends and faith and is a real page-turner with so many amazing stories and anecdotes from his extraordinary life.

I think this book will really resonate with people and provide a wonderful inspirational support mechanism and blueprint for living a principled life. Thank you Sam Haskell (and mom Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell) for sharing your wonderful vision with the world. It proves that the good guy can win in the end!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Toole on July 1, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
i applaud mr. haskell on a magical, memorable and wonderful book. he has taken the life lesson's his darling mother expressed to him throughout his growing up years and truly put them to work--both in his personal life and his professional life. from the moment i began reading this incredible book, i regretted the closer i came to it's end. very rarely do you find such a book about a man, his character and his faith that leaves one wanting just one more chapter...and then...just another! (wishful thinking)

mr. haskell has realized the american dream by "staying in his light" (living truthfully to himself)...he has had the most incredible exchanges with some of the most incredible people in the entertainment business over his years at william morris....and has kept them as friends! he has kept his faith at the center of his life in a town that God is often prayed to for "things" and then God is often forgotten about when Sunday rolls around. he honors his mother by keeping her lessons alive each and every day....all this while also honoring the "man in the mirror" and not losing sight of his dream, his potential nor his passion!

i have passed this book on to my youngest daughter, she will pass it on to my husband and then it will be sent to my wonderful parents....i have recently purchased three additional copies...one for each of our other two children and one for a dear friend who, i know, will be as touched with each page as i was!

do yourself a favor...RUN, don't walk to your nearest bookstore, purchase this book and start reading....i think it will be the most discussed, thought about and heartwarming book you will read this summer!
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