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The Trouble With Gumballs Paperback – May 9, 2014

21 customer reviews

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About the Author

James—Jim—was born in Denver, schooled there and in New Haven (code word for Yale), spent four WWII years in the Navy, then six in New York as an editor for Business Week. After marriage and the birth of their first child, the happy couple moved to Sonoma, California. Jim freelanced there for five years (code for until the money ran out). One of the original Mad Men of the more relaxed West-coast variety, Nelson spent 23 years on the creative side of a San Francisco advertising agency. His first novel, On the Volcano, was published in 2011. He and Mary-Armour now live happily ever after in Marin County, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rolly Bolly Press (May 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615848060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615848068
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,918,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James--Jim--was born in Denver, schooled there and in New Haven (code word for Yale), spent four WWII years in the Navy, then six in New York as an editor for Business Week.

After marriage and the birth of their first child, the happy couple moved to Sonoma, California. Jim freelanced there for five years (code for until the money ran out), then spent 23 years on the creative side of a San Francisco advertising agency. He and Mary-Armour now live happily ever after in Marin County, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By drjrharris on December 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read this book many years ago and never forgot about it. Recently re-purchased it and have enjoyed it over again. Referred and given as a gift to several friends struggling to start their own business. A fun read, worth your time and an great gift.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris on June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
My girlfriend gifted me this book because I live in Northern California (alas, in Oakland not beyond the Golden Gate Bridge where this book is set). It's funny, but not in that snarky way I'm used to (e.g. Louis CK). Instead the humor comes from how icredibly optimistic the author is, while every person he deals with is comically absurd.

It's about a guy who has to get a job to support his new family, so he starts running gumball machines. Doesn't really matter what it's about, it's less about the plot and more about the crazy characters he encounters. Not usually my thing, because I like plot-driven books, but this one is a good slice of life.

I'd be curious to compare his 1950s experience to that of modern freelancers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dorie Rosenberg on June 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
Jim Nelson's adventurous and optimistic spirit is expressed so vividly in this delightful tale. This spirit is a consistent spark that enlivens his personality and allows him to find the ray of hope in life's downturns. Jim's good-natured ribbing of the characters he deals with, and the patience he applies to the setbacks in his burgeoning business, perfectly reflect his strong and unique character. I can vouch for this from the hundreds of conversations we've enjoyed throughout the years, as I have the good fortune to be his neighbor.
I highly recommend all of Jim's other books, too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Randolph Scott on May 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Trouble With Gumballs offers up characters as colorful and appealing as its subject. Set in a time when flim-flam was still a surprise, and a good time could be had for a penny, it takes a good humored look at the basics of business and the joy of making an honest sale. The author's willingness to believe in a dream lands him in one tough spot after another but his indomitable spirit carries the day. Appropriate for entrepreneurs age 8 to 108.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vivi-Anne Riordan on June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed this book, it was very funny and a new experience, learning about the trials and tribulations of the vending machine business, i.e. Gumballs. It was extra special for me since I know the Author and his wife (They are family.)

Vivi-Anne Riordan
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By Pilgrimrest on December 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My enthusiastic rating might not be suitable for every reader's experience. It reflects my delight with the re-creation of people and places and the times I grew up in post war Sonoma County, California. I recommend this escape for anyone nostalgic for self sufficiency, optimism, a day when individuals were respected and characters were highly valued as neighbors (a species of extended family member). The author wonderfully invoked the sweet air and milk-and-honey productivity of countryside Luther Burbank pronounced to be "God's chosen spot in all the earth."
I was whisked back to when an eight year old boy could take 50 cents for trolly fare and spend a safe and magical day in San Francisco. I remembered from a week traveling with a shirt tail relation selling hula hoops all about this region, how being an entrepreneur could make one feel like an active part of history. The book was a great visit to a better day...go there!
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Format: Paperback
Far from writing a long screed listing the reasons The Trouble with Gumballs should neither by bought nor read, I will instead write the following:

The Trouble with Gumballs should have been a 2,000-5,000 word magazine article.

It is good for nothing more and the book comes with all the problems attendant with being used for more than a magazine article.

That is all.

This book was received, free of charge, from the Goodreads First Reads program.
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Format: Paperback
I won this book in a goodreads.com giveaway...thanks.

This little gem is celebrating its 57th Anniversary so you know it has to be good!!! This is a true story that takes place in the 1950's and since I grew up in the 50's I was eager to read the book. The author becomes a gum ball entrepreneur but suffers many set-backs and keeps going on. It's also a memoir that's very endearing and a pleasure to read. Highly recommend.
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