24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2003
This book made me want to work so much harder in life to achieve my business goals. The key is fake it until you make it. No one knows you struggles unless you tell them and you can't make excuses for your life and why you have to work hard. I read it fast and read it again.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2006
I've been reading more business related stuff as of late, and I picked up "Why Should White Guys..." a while back. Reginald Lewis earns tremendous respect in my eyes for his intense energy and willingness to take risks to achieve. Reading this book, you can see what a trailblazer he actually was as he pulled off a seemingly impossible buyout of Beatrice Foods and then drove them to strong economic performance.
I give this 4 stars because I'm ambivalent on Lewis' significance for black Americans. He achieved and he's given back a lot to the community, as evidenced by the Reginald Lewis Library in Baltimore. But this book also reveals that his success was greatly aided by Michael Milken's junk bonds [although in the book's defense Milken was still positively regarded at the time of writing] and he deeply loved being part of Harvard Law School and chose to make a very public donation of a multimillion dollar building to them as he became established.
I think the lack of discussion of some of these issues reflects the time period that this book was written in rather than any fault of the author. This is an authorized biography with large samplings of Lewis' own words. Lewis' amazing rise deserves a full-scale critical biography, and I'll give this a high rating until something else comes out to supplant it.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 1999
This book was an awesome read. Mr. Lewis was so focused and excepted nothing but the best from himself and others. He burned the midnight oil and got the job done even when backed against the wall. We are all faced with obstacles in life and Mr. Lewis met those challenges we all face with his head held high. This book inspired me to push and dig and fight and expect to win this game called life inspite of it's challenges. This is a must read!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2002
Reginald F. Lewis was in the process of jotting down the details of his remarkable rise to power and influence when his beautiful mind finally lost its struggle against brain cancer. Neither his iron will or his indomitable spirit, which had conquered Wall Street and the streets of East Baltimore, could overcome the ominous growth inside his brain. Although Lewis died at the age of 50, he truly experienced several lifetimes of happiness and achievements. Blair S. Walker does a wonderful job of takin Lewis' unfinished memoir and combining it with interviews of Lewis' family and friends in order to tell the story of a black man who was a loving husband, father, son, brother, philanthropist and civil rights activist. In addition to his love for his family and his people, Lewis loved learning and mastering the art of the deal. This passion lead to him becoming a successful lawyer and one of the wealthiest black entrepreneurs in history.
Walker does not sugarcoat Lewis' explosive personality and temper. Rather, Walker tries to make his reader understand that Lewis' legendary explosions propelled a young man who was determined not to be a financial burden upon anyone. Such a determination resulted in Lewis developing an incredible work ethic and the lofty goal of becoming a millionaire. Lewis would constantly critique his work performance and demand better from himself. Anyone working with or for Lewis who gave less than maximum effort would be rebuked by Lewis and informed that such lack of effort is "not acceptable." Lewis was driven and seemingly indefatigable. By the time of his death in 1993, Lewis had amassed a personal fortune that Forbes magazine estimated to be in excess of $400 million dollars. Reginald Lewis' accomplishments are truly remarkable and inspirational. After reading the book the first time, I developed a strategic plan and timeline for achieving certain goals. My second read of the book has caused me to revise my plan. Lewis forced me to ask myself the question: "Why should white guys have all the fun?" This book is a must read for young black men who dare to dream of one day becoming rich.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2005
This book, part history, part eulogy is the story of an African-American from the wrong side of the tracks in Baltimore who made it through Harvard Law and then into corporate financing eventually running Beatrice International one of the larger food companies in the world. While this is a rags-to-riches story, it is more impressive when you realize that when he was born in 1942, Baltimore was a segregated society. And when he died at the young age of fifty he was among America's richest men.
The title rather captures Mr. Lewis's outlook on life. He enjoyed himself, he enjoyed what he was doing, he enjoyed life. Sure he enjoyed the trapping of wealth like the limo. But they were just a symbol of the fun he was having.
A young person, regardless of race, gender, or religion interested in just what can be done by hard work, drive, and intelligence would do well to read this book. It just could be a life changer.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I was blown away by this book, more so for the similarities between Lewis and myself. I think he was proud of being black but I agree with him that its only an aspect of who you are. Americans as a whole, whether they are black and white tend to group successful blacks as some sort of exception, which is a done and TIRED story. Reginald is a man's man that did things his way successfully. Too bad his life was cut short no telling where he might of been and how much more successful he would have become.
For readers its a look at an intense, fearless, determined, and extremely ambitious man who just happened to be African-American.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2006
In an era when corporate America dominates the political and cultural landscape in music, art, dance, pop culture, even athletics (try to buy a ticket to a professional sports game-the corporations have block-purchased them out of range for most familes), there comes a time when the average person must ask himself if he or she is going to live the nine to five life of lifetime struggle, or will he take the leap into the world of business entrepreneurship where the promise of the American dream of big money and big power is still possible. Reginald Lewis takes you there whether you are old, young, black, white, male or female.
You have to recognize in reading this how this driven black man demonstrates with his own life that you can have it all, materialistically, if you really want it and are willing to sacrifice nearly everything, even your closest relationships. But this begs the question: Are you? Would you be happy if you do?
I was expecting, from the title, an egocentric, light weight work about small slick deals (and the rewards from them) mirroring the larger slick deals that seem to make up modern corporate America. Instead, this work takes you on a life journey of a man truly driven to success-maybe too much for some. I often felt that Lewis' relentless pusuit of his life was so over the top that maybe I'd better settle for my more ordinary, more personally loving one. It's only money and it's only power. But if you need motivation and a boost in your confidence that you can get out in the business world and wheel and deal, this is it. Very enjoyable, even suspenseful, even if the author at times seemed condescending(Lewis died prematurely leaving the author to fill in nearly all of the real details of this book).
I wondered if Lewis would have written this book like it is, showing so little peace of mind and contentment, if he had lived. Five stars.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2000
After reading this book, you can't help but agree that Reginald Lewis was a visionary. After years of hearing others say "You've gotta read the book," I finally did, and there was no regret.
While reading, I could relate to quite a few hurdles that Lewis had to jump; and despite the opposition to all that he had in mind, he remained focused on his ultimate goal. Its obvious that he wasn't trying to impress anyone, or prove that an African-American could do it. He was proving to the world that African-Americans are just as human as anyone else; therefore, we should be judged based upon our character, and work.
This book of Lewis' life and work was an inspiration, and I would recommend that anyone of color, or anyone who feels the pressure of the world telling them "to slow down and be like the rest of us," should READ THIS BOOK!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 1999
A remarkable story of a remarkable man. The book provides honest insight into Reg as a businessman and a clear glimpse into his private life. I especially appreciated how the book does not sugarcoat his sometimes explosive personality. The results of his extreme drive and his unwillingness to accept defeat are an inspiration to all. Although he was no saint and maybe someone you wouldn't want as a boss, his focus on his goals was unwavering. He showed that there really is no limit to what can be achieved through very hard work.
When I finished the book, it left me saying "Anything is indeed possible". Truly an inspirational story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2006
The Lewis and Walker edition of 'Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?' is one of the most well-researched and written books that exist from a partial business autobiography/biography standpoint. When you read (and study) this book you feel as if you know Reginald Lewis (Reg) personally. You felt that you have sat at the same table, in the same room, with the same true characters that made him the man that he was.
Reginald Lewis was no saint. But, he was driven by passion and a determination to be the best. Walker (the co-author) has created many things within the context of this book: A bio, a blueprint, an academic view of business, a detailed account (diary) of a very accomplished man. But most importantly, Walker and Lewis together have created a great story. It's more than just mere inspiration, it's a book that when you're done, you will want to make Reg a member of your advisory counsel (the kind that motivates and drives you when their physical presence is no longer here). Reg is now a part of my advisory counsel - and he's given me good advice. Read this book regardless of your ethnic background because it truly drives home a point: We can all have fun!