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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Autobiography by first time author, February 28, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
Excellent autobiography by first time author Bill Morgenstein. Proves you don't have to be a well known figure to lead a fascinating exciting life.
This autobiography has drama, comedy and great life lessons.
A must read!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice easy reading, March 15, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
my wife and i both read this book and enjoyed it very much. its great to read about the life of a dear friend of many years
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, March 11, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
The autobiograph of Bill Morgenstein really captured his life. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end and could not put the book down.
Al Levy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great real life story, February 25, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
Very nice and very true, I know the author. A great man with a very interesting life. The photo is himself when young.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Story, Easy To Finish In One Or Two Sittings, July 29, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
Well written, easy to finish in one or two sittings. I was close friends with one of the author's sons for several years, so a few parts were familiar, but that does not bias my review. I was entertained and I believe anyone with ties to big city life, Brooklyn, self-employment, juggling a family and a carerer while travelling the globe (like me), or travel in general will find this book interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic autobiography of a man who could be see as a real role model, June 21, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
'The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn' written by Bill Morgenstein is an educating, well-written autobiography of a man who because of his determination and persistence never gave up of his ideas and besides living happy and interesting life managed to build and run successful business.

Morgenstein, first time author, with his book that draws attention starting with its name told detailed story about his life, his childhood, education, time spent in army, all the interesting and demanding jobs and positions he held, running the international company and ending with his consulting days.

Besides all of his demanding activities, Morgenstein managed to preserve his private life, therefore it was beautiful to learn that he is still married with his beloved Sylvia for more than 60 years, being a real role model for all of us.

For me personally, it was interesting to read his adventures related to the ex-Yougoslavia and I can say that as an American he managed to well-understand many things about this country which was usually a problem for many puzzled because of their successful maintainance of balance between East and West, preserving good connection with both capitalist and communist world.

Summarized in one sentence, Bill Morgenstein managed to write a book that feels authentic in same time succeeding to laugh reader many times - a memoir well worth your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written autobiography that deserves its acclaim, June 9, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn is a fun, fast-paced, humorous and descriptive autobiography of the author Bill Morgenstein. The book is congenially filled with a plethora of sections/chapters that puts a title on the proceeding section of his itinerary. Although i'd prefer that the author had made mention his age at the beginning of every chapter, I give credit to this slight foreshadowing as it makes it easier for the reader to follow chronologically through his experiences. Ideally, i'd suggest that this book is more tenable for an older audience because the wide array of Bill's experiences and areas visited are within an esoteric realm that is more understood by someone of experience - a cosmopolitan. But I would say that this book is suitable for a younger audience (18-25) as well because of the feasibility and the parables. There are moral and even life lessons that can be learned even if one can't necessarily relate.

Bill starts off his autobiography by describing his early childhood. He first mentions that during the onset of the great depression his father, Sam, had lost his entire fortune and was forced to liquidate his successful curtain-rod business with 600 employees. He describes his father as a moderately [unconventionally] religious Jew born in Brooklyn and raised in Oklahoma. His father was an excellent horseman as well as being an expert on nature and animals. Bill himself was born in Brooklyn and as a kid haphazardly (and somewhat contentiously) came across who came to be his best friend, and neighbor, Louie. As a child, Bill along with his friend Louie, were what we would call cavorting "trouble makers" subjected to many thrilling experiences. And as kids they played many games such as (be ready this is old school) ringolevio, Johnny on the pony, marbles, hid-and-seek, stick ball (I bet you he still plays this now), punch-ball, etc. Bill as a youngster had many iconic experiences for himself. He got into fights, took boxing lessons, played in the Ice Cream League (as did baseball legend Sandy Koufax) - in which he got kicked out, participated in a school strike- that made the New York Daily News, cut class to see Frank Sinatra, mixed sodium & water which created a hydrogen explosion, and see baseball legend Babe Ruth make his final speech (what an experience). It is also worth noting that Bill went to Stuyvesant high school, which was and is one of the top high schools in the country, which he was a pitcher on their very good baseball time and obtained good grades (excluding Latin class).

After high school, Bill was accepted to NYU, Oklahoma University, Brooklyn College, and the University of Alabama. Bill decided with help from his father to attend the University of Alabama, which at the time was segregated (Bill righteously disliked this with contempt). At college he joined the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu and majored in business, taking courses in banking and finance. During his early years his fraternity members humorously blindsided him to go to prom with a rather grotesque woman, as he described it. Bill got kicked out of Sigma Alpha Mu for fighting the fraternity's arrogant master, after being picked on. Arguably Bill's biggest triumph in college was meeting, dating, and marrying his wife Silvia (a transfer from Miami University). Bill and Silvia have been married for over 60 years, which is an outstanding life achievement that many aspire but typically only dream of. Together they procreated a wonderful family that maintains today with precocious and robust potential.

After college Bill joined the air force and took part in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). His experience was shaky, and while fed up he decided to single-handedly cancel the march and parade by dissembling as a captain and making a phone call. He never got caught. After the experience he ventured in some things, including starting a company (which was brief), being a sales tutor, and then being drafted to the army. There he ended up in Korea where he had many experiences such as acting, painting, and teaching English to Korean students.

After the army, Bill got into the shoe business starting with Thom Mcan, which was a division of Melville Shoe Company (currently CVS). Here Bill went through management training and was lectured by the renowned management magnate Peter Drucker. Throughout his [shoe] business career, Bill had many different ventures and worked many different areas and accomplished his aspired goal - that is to be a company executive by the time he was 35. Companies that he had worked for include: Meldisco, Kitty Kelly, A.S. Beck, Sandia International, and Marquesa International (which he had started up himself). His days of business and travel are inundated with exciting excursions and dilemmas that leave the reader wanting more.

The author has experienced a variety of food, people, countries & areas, and personas. Included (but not limited to) are the names of countries that Bill have been in: Yugoslavia, Brazil, Uruguay, Morocco, Macedonia, Chile, Argentina, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, England, Paraguay, Bolivia, Korea, Philippines, Israel (his dream trip - that he dedicates a chapter for), Poland, China, and more (he estimates around 47).

After retirement, Bill had wanted to go back to the work force and did so working for companies Advanceme and then Sterling Funding. He partook in positions such as a commercial loan broker, a consultant, and executive vice president. At this time, Bill still has some consulting assignments but is retired for the most part. As I previously mentioned, Bill and his wife Silvia got to go on their dream vacation to Israel in which he descriptively describes all the ancient antiquity, and purportedly holy sites that he got to see.

The author Bill Morgenstein describes himself as a genuinely quiet, nice, & humble guy. Reading through his mercurial experiences would lead one to think otherwise (i.e. loud, extroverted). Bill lived a rather nomadic life, and his experiences are inclusive to almost anything, from getting robbed to indulging in many VIP areas with renowned celebrities. Often, many are lead astray by their perception of those that are more quiet and despite being a fun, well written text, The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn trumps the fallacy of that purports an introvert as being "boring" and rather unusual (i.e. "weird"). The book is conversational (as advertised) and is an excellent read for anyone with an interest in culture, underdogs, allegories, etc. As a fellow reviewer had touched on, you don't need to be famous or in the public eye to lead fascinating and honorable life. It just goes to show that the fads and trends that society is inebriated in - the reality TV shows, the TMZs, the social media followings, the infamous pseudo celebrities, etc - are just a distortion of the unknown and unaccounted for that deludes us and makes us figuratively turn the other cheek on some of the more honorable men that live in privy. 5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and funny, June 5, 2014
I recently read "The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn" by Bill Morgenstein and found it very enjoyable. Like Bill, I lived in those times: I served in the air force in the Korean War, I grew up in Brooklyn, and I spent the better part of my working life in the shoe industry. Bill's book talks about all these things.

Bill Morgenstein's book has a ring of authenticity about it, and brought me to laughter at times and brought back memories of my youth. I recommend it highly.

Robert Landau
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE GOLDEN FLATS, May 28, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
The Crazy Life of a Kid From Brooklyn: Bill Morgenstein

Each step of the way Bill Morgenstein created his own path to success one shoe company at a time. Determined, tenacious, persistent and determined to build a business author Bill Morgenstein injects his own brand of humor, sarcasm and practical jokes that will keep readers guessing as to just what he has in store for everyone and what surprises will pop up. From meeting Louis and getting in trouble in school, daredevils, fun locking, his time in the ROTC as a cadet, joining the military and working his way up not only in grade or rank but with the top brass this man never let anything get him down. Jobs that span many continents, many fields and a home that he made with a young girl named Sylvia, Bill set his sites high, his aspirations many and his energy unlimited as we embark on a journey, a life's journey with This Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn.

Shoes seem to be what makes him come alive and working in one store that my mom loved and told me about Thom McAn. Giving readers the history of the store, the company and its owner, we learn the many reasons why Bill had to learn diplomacy, patience, and creativity and definitely use his ingenuity when dealing with the head of this company who hated being wrong and had to always be in charge. From a manager named Bob who disliked perfection in anyone else and who would get upset if there was nothing to correct of blame on someone else and you smile, laugh or wonder what will happen next.

Beginning with his family and meeting his best friend Louie, you fall in love with both Bill and his young kid as they get in trouble in school, blamed it on his friend and became close friends throughout it all. Entering Stuyvesant H.S. and doing acting out Bill enters the University of Alabama and things take another turn and change. Practical jokes were always on his agenda and sometimes when played at his expense well you sometimes get what you deserve. But, Bill never gives up and playing a joke on his ROTC staff and not getting caught was pure joy and luck. Joining a fraternity he meets Sylvia and you would think he would settle down and change. Bill worked for many companies in different managerial and upper level positions. He started selling shoes in Tennessee meeting many great people and then off to the army as a private where he assimilated into the thick of things with no problem. Officers treating him like royalty and allowed to travel first class things changed when he was sent to Korea, lived on a ship and enlightens readers about his further escapades, close calls, demotions and eventually returning to Brooklyn where it all begins for him as a management trainee for Thom McAn shoes. Extensive travel all over the world, job offers from Kitty Kelly as an Executive V.P. and hopefully becoming the president of a company before age 35 this man set his sites high and when you read the memoir, listen to meetings, learn about the deals he made and the people he worked with you know that he will succeed no matter what. Working for BK or Mr. Kellner was not easy and the lessons he learns he would take with him when starting his own business.

Interviews with Melville Shoe Company, which dealt with T.J. Max, Bobs, Vanguard and even CVS Bill, managed to enter many training programs and hoped that his trips to Maine, Boston and other places would pay off.

Describing Mr. Melville and the district manager Frank, Bill was told he was ready to become a store manager. He would then have full responsibility for the personnel, sales results, all of the store's inventory and the cash. This store was in the Inwood section of the Bronx. Then he was transferred to my old neck of the woods Fordham Road where things turned kind of mysteries and the FBI came in and bank drops were in question and our author brilliantly handles it all. Just how: Like a good mystery you have to find out for yourself. More moves, different stores, meeting with Richard McCarthey, making sure you are formal with him and off to a new store on 48th street and Broadway. Meldisco where he meets Bob a man who wanted to prove that he was the smartest person in the room and as I said before needed the feel of being able to correct everyone and find something wrong. Realizing that he would have to at least play along with this and allow him to find and correct something, Bill learn the ropes fast and was promoted. Always leaving something for him to correct. Wait until you see what happens when everything is perfect. Wait until you find out what happens when Bill makes the mistake of leaving nothing for him to change or critique. Kitty Kelly was next and things seemed to be going well until Mr.Kellner decided to bring his son Warren into the firm and what happens will surprise readers and change things for Bill. When you read Ben Kellner's stories you will learn more about the man, how he runs his company and Bill's trips to Florence and Rome and how he was wearing thin traveling with the boss. Learn more when you read Kitty Kelly Travels and when the boss's son returns. All this leads up to Bill and his dream to start Marquesa International and Marquesa Import Company after learning the import/export business. This business was his baby and it did very well for a long time until deceptions, lies, betrayals, deceits and one huge scam brings him down.

Brazil, Uruguay, Yugoslavia and other countries dealing with managers, Presidents, directors and even Chile, but Bill never saw it coming and was blindsided. Wait until you read how and why he decides to retire. But, just briefly.
Retirement is definitely out of the question and he became involved with Dining A La Card but first just a little more about the scandal that changed it all as large sums of money were being sent to his company from Russia. Learning that they wanted to buy and shipping boots from Macedonia to various stores and wholesalers in Russia and the rest read pages 276-279 to learn more. You just won't believe the rest!

From Dining A La Card he then got a job at Advanceme where he managed to become a Senior V.P. of Sterling. Remaining with this company required learning about a second one called Transmedia and a final decision was made. Deciding to form his own brokerage firm in 2008 the author goes into detail to explain why he decided to do this, who was involved, the author relates the pitfalls, why things seemed to stall, panic calls and the rest you need to read for yourself so that you can learn the same lessons he did and what the end result was. A dream trip to Israel and he brings readers to the present and up to date. For over 60 years he has been married to Sylvia, traveling the world, dealt with the army, many different corporations and finally writing this book.
In an article I read in the author's own words: "
What I hope comes out of reading this book, besides the humor is not only the love of life but also the extreme dislike for injustice and tyranny. I realize that some laws and rules are
necessary but I am firmly convinced that we have far too many regulations". From the start with his friend Louie who always got him in trouble, to Gary Metzel and his wife Jackie, and many close friends still here and long gone the author relates his love of shoes, footwear, people, challenges and adventure and playing by his own rules. Where is he now and what has he been up to? Read the book and find out what one Crazy Life of a Kid From Brooklyn was really like growing up and still is right now. Just like our author his wife tells it like it is, honest to a fault and let's hope for another 60 years. One self made man whom never stops reinventing himself and striving to be the best. Stories that will double you over in laughter, make you angry or just plain not believe what you read, Bill Morgenstein tells it all in the first person narrative, straight from the hip and definitely from the soles of some very expensive shoes.
Let's give this book: FIVE GOLDEN FLATS OR PUMPS OR BOOTS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, entertaining and informative!, May 17, 2014
This review is from: The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed this great piece of work written by a man I've had an immense amount of respect for over many years. I found myself laughing out loud - very loudly - during flights and elsewhere. I was constantly drawn in. Mr. Morgenstein's stories bring amazingly clear images to mind. Many come forward with film-like clarity. The kid from Brooklyn's college days alone are worthy of a film! He has been quite the globetrotter and takes you along for the trip. Strongly recommended.
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The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn
The Crazy Life of a Kid from Brooklyn by Bill Morgenstein (Paperback - February 20, 2014)
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