• The Company I Keep

  • My Life in Beauty
  • By: Leonard A. Lauder
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (166 ratings)

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The Company I Keep  By  cover art

The Company I Keep

By: Leonard A. Lauder
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
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Publisher's Summary

In his much-anticipated memoir, The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies Leonard A. Lauder shares the business and life lessons he learned as well as the adventures he had while helping transform the mom-and-pop business his mother founded in 1946 in the family kitchen into the beloved brand and ultimately into the iconic global prestige beauty company it is today. 

In its infancy in the 1940s and 50s, the company comprised a handful of products, sold under a single brand in just a few prestigious department stores across the United States. Today, The Estée Lauder Companies constitutes one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of prestige skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. It comprises more than 25 brands, whose products are sold in over 150 countries and territories. This growth and success was led by Leonard A. Lauder, Estée Lauder’s oldest son, who envisioned and effected this expansion during a remarkable 60-year tenure, including leading the company as CEO and Chairman. 

In this captivating personal account complete with great stories as only he can tell them, Mr. Lauder, now known as The Estée Lauder Companies’ “Chief Teaching Officer”, reflects on his childhood, growing up during the Great Depression, the vibrant decades of the post-World War II boom, and his work growing the company into the beauty powerhouse it is today. 

Mr. Lauder pays loving tribute to his mother Estée Lauder, its eponymous founder, and to the employees of the company, both past and present, while sharing inside stories about the company, including tales of cutthroat rivalry with Charles Revson of Revlon and others. The book offers keen insights on honing ambition, leveraging success, learning from mistakes, and growing an international company in an age of economic turbulence, uncertainty, and fierce competition. 

©2020 Leonard A. Lauder (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Company I Keep

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  • MB
  • 11-23-20

Enchanting & motivational

I didn’t want to part ways with Mr. Lauder.
I felt a deep connection to him through this book. Will be ordering the book to read it and savor it more. What an incredible man
Mr. Lauder is! Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. The last chapter left me in awe and emotional.
God bless you,Mr. Lauder.


4 people found this helpful

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Where’s the cream?

I admire Leonard Lauder for all he did for the domestic and international beauty industry; this book however is much about his personal life than business anecdotes, lessons and strategies. The book isn’t written well, repeats itself and has many inaccuracies. Mr. Lauder states Merle Norman is defunct. Wrong! As of this writing they are still a viable company. The book misnames a Clinique product as "7th Day Scrub," when it is actually "7 Day Scrub." No loss of admiration for these oversights, but I would have expected better; however, I can’t recommend this book either. It seems haphazardly written like time was of essence. The person reading the book is an absolute, deadpan bore! I don’t know why Mr. Lauder didn’t read it personally or at very least have a woman be the voice of his story and amazing journey. Nonetheless, Mr. Lauder will go down as one of the titans of the beauty industry along with his mother Estee Lauder, Charles Revson, Mary Kay, Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, Georgette Klinger, Eve of Rome, Ilona of Hungary, Erno Laszlo, Christine Valmy, Aida Grey, Elizabeth Grady and others. The beauty industry owes you big league Mr. Lauder.

4 people found this helpful

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Beyond my Expectations

Honestly, I am Blown away! I am an Lauder fan and supporter from now on!

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  • EJ
  • 11-06-22

Wonderful story of overcoming

Really enjoyed the first 85% of this book, when it was all about his mother, father and he building the company. Late in the book it seemed to become a “I’m really rich - so look what I can do” narrative, which wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. But still - a great book that I enjoyed.

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What a journey!

I liked the attention to detail in all the phases of the story since it starts in the 1920’s up to now. The thinking behind the products and marketing is just phenomenal. Plenty of leadership lessons to learn from. I also enjoyed learning about the beauty industry and all the innovation that takes place in the background. Estée Lauder is a great innovative company. It’s a family in business and not a family business as the author asserts. Long but fulfilling.

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Not so good, but depends on why you are reading it

If you just want a quite interesting story about a cosmetics company, buy this book.
But if you are like me - an entrepreneur, who realized there is much more lesson in entrepreneur's biographies than so called "business books" - there are much better options.
The story is too shallow on the hardships. If something was a great success, the author gives us all the details. But if there was a problem - we got like 3 sentences. "We discovered our new brand name is already in use. We found the company, gave them money and we were okay." "We had serious cashflow problem. We had to fire a lot of people. It was hard, but we built a new factory and everything was okay from there." No real depth, not a lot of details.
I know, if you write a book, you write what you want, you share as much or as little if you want, but for me, it was a huge problem with this book. But once again: I read this biographies to learn business from them - this book is not good for this purpose.

By the way, the narrator did an excellent job!

If you want to learn business from biographies/books of people who actually did it, here are a few way better options:
Shoe dog (Nike), Play nice but win (Dell), American Dreamer (Hilfiger), Call me Ted! (Ted Turner - CNN), The Snowball (Warren Buffett), Principles (Ray Dalio - Bridgewater), Grinding it out (McDonalds), What it takes (Blackstone).

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My best read this year!

Excellent leadership and life lessons. Great read for everyone and a MUST read for budding as well as seasoned entrepreneurs! Also for anyone with a desire to be someone this book shows you how to keep pressing forward and never give up in the face of challenges, adversities, and failures. And how important it is to celebrate life and add value to people!

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Fascinating Look at a fascinating man

Excellent auto-biographer of a business leader. He tells it as it is, the good and the bad. Well written, narrated and engaging.

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I loved it and will listen again

This is a great book for anyone in sales. Mr. Lauder “gets it”. He understands the psychology of sales and employees. I wish I could work for Mr. Lauder. His mind and vision fascinate me. I will listen again, and take notes. I highly recommend this book.

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Inspirational & Informative

Narration was perfect, it was as if I was sitting having coffee with Mr Lauder. So much information, it felt like I had been mentored by an icon. Loved the personal stories mixed in with business. So much advice about many different areas if life and business. Going to listen again and take notes this time. Thank you for this book. It was wonderful to know the making of such a great company. Well done!

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  • Caron Clark
  • 10-29-21

An insightful book!

I loved this book, it starts at the beginning and I felt I was there all the way through building the Lauder empire.
I highly recommend this book fir loads of nuggets of information which I will use as a 61 year old starting a Web Design/Tech empire!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-09-21

The company I keep

Boring as bay shit. I didn’t even get past the second chapter. Do not recommend