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Use What You've Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom Hardcover – February 10, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Hardcover Edition edition (February 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840022
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A well-known figure in the world of New York real estate as founder of the Corcoran Group, Corcoran has fashioned a funny handbook for professional sales savvy-targeted at women-that works. Equal parts business primer, Oprah-spirited coming-of-age memoir and sneaky PR brochure for herself, the book, which proceeds chronologically along the life of Corcoran's real estate agency, from its birth to its sale, is organized around 25 life lessons (e.g., "If you don't have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails"; "You've got to bully a bully"; "Never be ashamed of who you are"). She explains these snappily worded lessons by drawing on various crises from her company's history and bits from her childhood. Corcoran grew up with her parents and nine brothers and sisters on one floor of a house in Edgewater, N.J., and had a vision all along ("When I started my business," she writes, "I saw myself as the `Queen of New York Real Estate' "). She opened the first Corcoran Group office in 1978, and ever since then has perfected the art of marketing herself, hiring the right people and motivating her staff; the organization now brings in over $2 billion in annual revenue. With the noticeably skilled help of career technical writer Littlefield, Corcoran has produced a likable and worthwhile book, an honorable contribution with heart.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

...Corcoran could be selling plumbing supplies, and the story would still fly. -- Kirkus Reviews

I love this book. Her simple secrets should be mandatory reading for all with an eye on success. -- Judge Judy Sheindlin

These easy-to-remember and pithy words of advice can be used by anyone…. Plus, weren’t our mothers always right? -- Cathleen Black, president, Hearst magazines

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 81 customer reviews
This book is interesting, funny, exciting and fun to read.
Reading my way thru life
By using stories and anecdotes Barbara Corcoran does a great job of showing how lessons learned early in life apply to us in our busy, crazy hectic times of today.
Joseph T Higgins
Barbara and her mother are inspirations and anyone reading this wonderful little, big book will surely be inspired.
LouAnn Savage

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "mimibee1" on July 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If I was promoting this book, I would promote it around the idea that a young girl -- very much like any other young girl (although with life experiences that can only come from being in a big family) -- grows up and goes to the Big City and achieves a kind of greatness!
(And) Like many other women, during the course of the 30-year process of her business evolution she had little (yet hugely profound) realizations of her mother's wisdom.
It's inspiring! The book claims a positive history for women -- something our bookshelves lack! I'd like to read it to my children because it has lessons that are important to life -- things I would like to teach them! For instance, I love the chapter, "Offer The Bigger Piece And Yours Will Taste Better."
The stories remind me of my childhood, my parents and family -- though we only had 3 kids and a dog! As an adult woman with a business degree, and plenty of business experience, I enjoyed the business insight!
Bruce Littlefield did a stellar job of writing. A sense of humor (yet a firm intent) shows through in the writing style. When I read it, I looked forward to reading one chapter or "lesson" per day.
I cannot recommend it enough!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Diane K. Danielson on January 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you're a fan of the novel Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, this is the business book for you. Barbara Corcoran's rags to riches story of how she went from diner waitress to the Queen of Manhattan Real Estate reads more like a novel than a business book. And it goes to show - sometimes the best advice is plain old common sense. (But having a good sense of humor and a lot of "chutzpah" certainly doesn't hurt either!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Fournier on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! Barbara's real estate lessons are entertaining and fun. Regardless of where you sell real estate the rules and the lessons are the same. I'll recommnend it to every new agent that comes to our firm.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Hsu on April 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A page turner. American Dream is alive and well in NYC. From $1000 to $2 billion in 25 years, selling the business for $70 million, tricks of the trade, bully the bully (Donald Trump), hire the best attitudes, the best lawyer is not the one that knows the law...... are practical business tips to survive. I met Barbara at a conference in Rockland County, NY where she gave a talk about this venture. But reading the book gives much in-depth knowledge. I will use this book in my Marketing and Management classes at the College level. This real-life success book is much better than the cases that are published by the Harvard Business School.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stancy DuHamel on May 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
if you're in sales or manage salespeople, if you're thinking of starting your own business, come from a large family or want to know what it was like growing up in one squeezed into 4 rooms under the palisades amusement park sign, read this book.
"use what you've got" is like having a personal business coach, for a fraction of the price, and will probably give you a lot more laughs than you'd have in one of those sessions. i for one changed my home answering machine message to sound like both my feet are rooted firmly in the land of the living, so much so i sometimes surprise myself when i call home to leave a msg.
for years i've encouraged people who have had a frustrating job search to just take any job: "look at barbara corcoran: she was a receptionist for a couple of real estate property managers and now she owns her own company!" she's been a hero to me for what she's accomplished. i then met her at a book signing and she is as approachable, enthusiastic and focused in person as she is in the book. these are qualities you'd expect in someone who is a great salesperson, but you don't often find "charming and down-to-earth" in people who've gone as far as she has.
this book is both highly entertaining and practical, loaded with wonderful stories about growing up in a large family and how those dynamics helped transform a a determined young girl into an incredibly successful business woman. there's lots of good business advice, plenty of stories that address the proverbial bumps in the road and how she turned obstacles or failures to her advantage. the addendum is an invaluble sales tool.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By karen sanders on June 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book deserves a 10! It proves that you do not have to have tons of money or be at the top of the class. It takes the basic fundamentals of what everyone's life lessons were growing up and turns them into logical business smarts. We all know this stuff, we have all been told these things from our parents or those who care about us. Barbara just helps put it all in prospective and apply it to your business. I have a sports and fitness business and am able to apply every single lesson to grow my business. But this book also does someting else, it challenges you as an individual. It forces you to look at yourself, analyze what needs to change or be improved and gives you the tools to do it. This book is a must for any person or business looking to grow!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mickey Elliott on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The real estate business for the past 15 years or so allowed me to solely raise 3 children. Today I am a broker and mentor to new agents and I love it. The real estate business is a demanding, arduous twenty-four hour job. People seem to think you never go home. About the time I found this book, I was feeling a bit burned out. Barbara's book shed a whole new light on life in real estate. From that point I was re-inspired and it hasn't left me yet.
I read Barbara's book from beginning to end unable to put it down. The book is an entertaining escape. In spite of the tough times her outlook on life was hopeful. I know it was grueling, especially in the beginning with the boyfriend. Pounding the pavement for rental prospects wasn't too fun either. But she just kept keepn' on.
"Use what you've got" was inspiring, funny, warm, motivating and useful. Even as a seasoned agent Barbara taught me a great deal. And from a coaches perspective her management style was priceless. I can't say enough; I didn't want the book to end. Sounds crazy but I wanted to crawl in and live there.
Thanks Barbara. After reading your book and its gifts I want found myself wanting to know you. Excited to email you to say thanks, I had no expectation of hearing back, when I did I was blown away. Your story is a true illustration of who you are. Thanks for being my number one mentor.
Mickey Elliott
Broker Associate
Coldwell Banker
949-887-4376 Cellular
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