I am usually skeptical of true stories knowing that authors and movie producers needing to add drama stray far from the actual dry facts of the story. However, in The Informant I could not stop reading. The characters and their greediness could not have been more interesting if they had been made up. Unaware of the story of ADM???s crimes in the 1990???s I researched the case on the Internet and almost ruined the plot for myself. Eichenwald???s account is pure nonfiction.
I was amazed at the simplemindedness of such powerful executives. They truly were not much different than the average person (not all of us, thank goodness) who think first of themselves and what they can get. Their high positions belie their basic unsophisticated methods for leading and directing large operations when greed takes over. The surprise was that such an important case as this was not more screwed up by powerful government officials, their political appointees, attorneys, and the FBI. In this story, the FBI were the good guys, as we expect them to be. The writing was not great literature but it was an excellent telling of the facts in the case. The characters had depth. I wondered what each thought of how they were portrayed.
Now, maybe I will see the movie. Great story!
I enjoyed this short read about those times when Steve Martin was the funniest comedian performing. Talking about his private life at the time and what he went through to be on top, he explained why he walked away from standup comedy and never looked back. I liked how he began with the ???Beforehand??? as he looks ahead and gives a glimpse of the story to come. In the 1970???s I thought Steve Martin???s offbeat comedy was hilarious. As he recalled many of his jokes from that time they barely produced a chuckle in me. His comedy was right for the time but evidently was not timeless. Nevertheless, I believe he was one of funniest comedians, ever, despite the slightly melancholy tone of this book.
Margaret Lee, the protagonist, was bookish and tells her story at an antagonizingly slow pace. Her world was her father???s shop that dealt in rare books until she was compelled by invitation to write a biography for a dying, yet famous author. I have to admit I seldom read stories about women as central characters. I must overcome this limitation, but looking back over the year, John Irving, Richard Ford, and Pat Conroy???s characters were easier for me to comprehend sympathetically. Women live in a parallel world from men. (Thus reveals my narrow perspective.) As an example, Miss Lee??? musings of lost twins never stirred in me the sensation of mystical presence and wordless communication it intended. Nevertheless, as the story reached its climatic end I realized the slow, easy, wandering pace had covered an enormous tale spanning three generations. I fell in love with it. The narrators were excellent. Just as I thought I could predict the outcome, the story would reveal another twist thus, burying the truth a little deeper into the lost past. Repeatedly, the entreaty of the young man in the beginning would point the way with his plea to the dying women to ???tell me the truth.??? The ending was very good and made me want to start the story again from the beginning to better understand Margaret Lee
Immediately, I loved the narration. Mr. Hermann???s voice made the story flow easily. This was a great story of an American hero. Louis Zamperini was a real person who through determination, perseverance, and a lot of luck had an amazing life. I had not heard of him and was compelled to research the story after I finished reading.
I re-read parts of the story again after I finished. This story will stay with me for a long time, it made such a strong impression. The images of war and suffering were told well.
A good study of the essential characteristics and skills of a successful entrepreneur. The reading was as much about the Harvard Business School???s curriculum and the influential contacts resulting from attending such a fine institution as it was about actually selling your idea and forming a startup company. It was difficult to separate the two. I often asked myself while reading, how could I do this without having HBS behind me. One of the three protagonists stated the problem early in the book when she wondered how one got on that super highway of business success when you cannot find an on-ramp. The answer seemed to be an MBA at HBS. Of course, Mr. Murphy makes a good case that more is required than education. Good contacts aren???t enough, either. An entrepreneur had to have a drive and passion for starting a successful operation. Entrepreneurship can be learned. He gives his 10 rules of successful entrepreneurship. The book tells the stories of 3 successful entrepreneurs and alternates the odd-numbered chapters telling their stories with even-numbered discussing the principles and applications of building successful companies.
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