Regular price: $28.00

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The traits that make Sam Zell one of the world's most successful entrepreneurs also make him one of the most surprising, enigmatic, and entertaining mavericks in American business.

Self-made billionaire Sam Zell consistently sees what others don't. From finding a market for overpriced Playboy magazines among his junior high classmates, to buying real estate on the cheap after a market crash, to investing in often unglamorous industries with long-term value, Zell acts boldly on supply and demand trends to grab the first-mover advantage. And he can find opportunity virtually anywhere - from an arcane piece of legislation to a desert meeting in Abu Dhabi.

"If everyone is going left, look right," Zell often says. To him, conventional wisdom is nothing but a reference point. Year after year, deal after deal, he shuts out the noise of the crowd, gathers as much information as possible, then trusts his own instincts. He credits much of his independent thinking to his parents, who were Jewish refugees from World War II.

Talk to any two people and you might get wild swings in their descriptions of Zell. A media firestorm ensued when the Tribune Company went into bankruptcy a year after he agreed to steward the enterprise. At the same time, his razor-sharp instincts are legendary on Wall Street, and he has sponsored over a dozen IPOs. He's known as the Grave Dancer for his strategy of targeting troubled assets, yet he's created thousands of jobs. Within his own organization, he has an inordinate number of employees at every level who are fiercely loyal and have worked for him for decades.

Zell's got a big personality; he is often contrarian, blunt, and irreverent, and always curious and hardworking. This is the guy who started wearing jeans to work in the 1960s, when offices were a sea of gray suits. He's the guy who told The Wall Street Journal in 1985, "If it ain't fun, we don't do it." He rides motorcycles with his friends, the Zell's Angels, around the world and he keeps ducks on the deck outside his office.

As he writes: "I simply don't buy into many of the made-up rules of social convention. The bottom line is: If you're really good at what you do, you have the freedom to be who you really are."

Am I Being Too Subtle? - a reference to Zell's favorite way to underscore a point - takes listeners on a ride across his business terrain, sharing with honesty and humor stories of the times he got it right, when he didn't, and most important, what he learned in the process.

This is an indispensable guide for the next generation of disrupters, entrepreneurs, and investors.

©2017 Sam Zell (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    294
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    224
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    8

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    261
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent story, but ....

If you could sum up Am I Being Too Subtle? in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating<br/>Inspiring<br/>Insightful<br/>

What was one of the most memorable moments of Am I Being Too Subtle??

The early chapters on Mr. Zell's parents, including their escape from Poland, are important and fascinating.

What didn’t you like about Sam Zell’s performance?

Mr. Zell has many fine qualities. A good, or even mediocre, speaking voice is not one of them. He should have chosen someone else - anyone else - to narrate the book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many fine moments. Hard to pick one.

Any additional comments?

I recommend you buy the book in other than audible form.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Evan
  • Philadelphia
  • 08-30-17

Differently Decent

The author has a bit of an unconventional approach to business and life that I really enjoyed. I got a lot of practical information out of this and thought it was useful and inspirational.

Wasn't a big fan of the author's voice at first, but you get used to it rather quickly. Excellent use of stories to illustrate points.

Cheers!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Favorite book of 2017 so far

Great story and performance by the author. Thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is full of valuable insights on dealmaking and business.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Intimate and interesting autobiography

Sam Zell shares the story of his life. From middle-class beginnings to the Forbes list. It is an intimate look at a life that many of us may not understand.

I am a better person for having listened to this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Sam Zell

At first I thought he was bragging too much but towards the end his true character was outstanding.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of the best

Pure America: his dad lead and escaped with his whole family from Poland in 1939 before the holocaust. They got to Chicago with nothing. Sam Zell grew up middle class but became a billionaire philanthropist teaching entrepreneurship to millions of people. Learned the importance of risk and being a good person from his dad. Good Jews. Art lover, motorcycle leader, a business maverick with huge cojones and a lot of hutzpah. Amazing story. One of the best.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

tells it as it is

Good to hear Zell narrate this. Has more meaning $39B exit in 2007 how good is that. This guy knows how to get shit done.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • DAN
  • Utah
  • 08-31-17

listened to it the author narrated

Sam Zell narrates his own life story as the son of Jewish refugees from Poland.
The escape route through Japan is little known.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kimi
  • Finland
  • 08-27-17

Missing the point

The book is having difficulties in sticking to the point with random branches that don't really bring any value to the story.

Also, I find that this is one of those stories about success that don't tell you anything about being successful but rather just tell "what I did". Entertaining yes, but not valuable.

This is read by the author. He has a very distinct voice that makes the story more personal but the flow of reading isn't smooth always. You can really hear line breaks and page turns as pauses in the flow. This book would have benefited from a professional voice.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Highest recommendation. Thank you Mr. Zell!

Loved this engaging book. Full of great true stories how Sam whole-heartedly faced and overcame many interesting hurdles. Very encouraging how he worked for win-win deals over and over and rose to international prominence. Loved it.