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I was given this Alan Sugar autobiography as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. It may be because I used to be a bit of an entrepreneur and was always something in business.
I was surprised to get the book as I am not really into all that money making stuff any more. After leaving it for a few months I thought I should read it as it was a gift.
It was surprisingly interesting and detailed, more factual and detailed than I was expecting.
There are over 600 pages and 20 chapters - the first one titled The Lucky Mistake ( Tar blocks , Ginger beer ...)
I think it is only available in hardback at £20 it may be on sale as hardbacks often are or you can but it secondhand in charity shops and online.
There are some photos included of family, the Amstrad team, Alan Sugar as a boy ( looks like Benny Hill in one picture ) and his wife Ann.
He starts by saying how he was born in Hackney Hospital on the 24 march 1947 and that his mum and dad were both nearly 40 at the time.
He goes on to describe his school days, not being good at spelling. Then getting his first jobs in a chemist ( not paid enough ) and as a sales person where he started to earn money selling car ariels and similar parts that he bought from his first suppliers.
There are a lot of details about orders and part numbers which you may or may not find interesting. I think they give a sense of factual realism that fits in with his character.
Example - page 264
'These deluded people ordered 100,000 PCW 8256s and opened the LC for the first 50 000.'
This was regarding a trade between Amstrad and Sears World Trade. There are many phrases and comments in the book some people may find rude, insulting, offensive etc that are used about other people that is the way it is written.
He goes on to talk about the Sky television deal he made, where he promised to make all the dishes that Murdoch needed at an incredibly low price.
He also talks about moving on from Amstrad, selling it and buying Tottenham and dealing with experienced football people like Terry Venables. Lets just say I don't think they send each other Christmas cards !
There isn't much Lord Sugar doesn't talk about really in this book, he talks freely about his appointment to the house of Lords and how that almost cost him his job on 'The Apprentice'.
I do try and like Alan Sugar as my Dad was born in Hackney just before Sugar and of course supported Tottenham, he even looks a bit like him, he doesn't have his bank balance though unfortunatley.
Alan Sugar's Autobiography tells the story of how a poor London boy went from having absolutely nothing to being one of the richest men in Britain. Apprentice fans will not be disappointed.
It follows his story all the way from a poor lad working in the grocers and the pharmacy working out strategies to make people want to buy more, through the Amstrad days, the Tottenham Hotspur days and ends with The Apprentice and his knighthood. He is a true inspiration just proving that with a little sense it doesn't matter where you come from anyone can do it.
He started Amstrad with just £100 and eventually sold it for millions. Apart from his natural talent for business he didn't really have anything special and he goes to prove you don't need money to make money.
This was a great read that I throughly enjoyed right to the end (but then I do really enjoy autobiographies) still this was one of my favourites. Hats off to you Lord Sugar.
=== The story ===
This is the official autobiography of Alan Sugar charting his rise from living as a schoolboy in a council estate to being Lord Sugar an incredibly successful multi-millionaire entrepreneur.
=== The design ===
This book comes in hardback and is fairly simple in design with a nice, formal kind of shot of Lord Sugar. This is a current age photograph rather that one from the beginning of the autobiography years. The book looks and feels like it's very weighty, solid and is going to have a lot to say! I feel that this looks like a quality book from the off and I felt like I was getting more for my money just because of how large the book is and that is has over 600 pages.
=== Where can I buy this and for how much? ===
This can be purchased from many different book stores and I purchased mine from Amazon.co.uk for around £6.00 recently, however, the current price (July 2011) is around the £10 mark which I would still say is very reasonable for this book.
=== My overall opinion ===
My main reason for picking up this book is that I have been a fan of 'The Apprentice' since the first series and wanted to learn something more about Lord Sugar. I was also intrigued by a number of good reviews and just general word of mouth. I was pleased with the price I paid for this book and felt that even if it was substandard I'd still enjoy the read and would be getting quite a lot for my money.
I must say that I found this book incredibly interesting and despite it's long length I finished it in just a few days of a recent holiday. The chapters of the book were well laid out and I found that I was able to dip back in and out of the story with minimal problems. Also, at various parts in the book things would be re-explained and earlier events would be briefly mentioned again just to touch on previous things and remind the reader just who was who in the book and why certain things maybe turned out the way that they had. When reading this book I really felt like I was getting a little tiny insight in to the mind of a successful businessman.
The book was incredibly well flowing and simple to read. I didn't find myself getting bored once and there were lots of little witty quips and anecdotes to keep me occupied for the duration. I found that the text was reasonably sized and I could comfortably read the book, without my glasses is necessary. The stories all integrated well together and I didn't end up feeling that I hadn't learn about much of the writers life at all, as I have with other 'celebrity' autobiographies in the past. The stories were also believable and I didn't feel like anything in the book had been added for comedy effect or just to keep the reader captivated. I found that I really did learn a lot about Lord Sugar and he spoke of the highs and lows in his career and I loved just how much he mentions his wife and it really does feel like he still adores her after all these years.
The only downside that I can think of is just how heavy this book is. I would have preferred this in paperback form rather than hardback but as I wanted to read it as soon as possible I didn't want to hang around in placing my order.
Overall it's fair to say that I loved this book, it kept my attention and I found myself wanting to rush other things I was doing to get it read as soon as possible and learn some of Lord Sugar's tricks of the trade. If you are a fan of Lord Sugar or even if you want to glean some potential tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur then why not give this book a try?
I am no huge Alan (or should I say) Lord Sugar fan. Personally I find him too abrupt and rude.He also comes across as cocky. However I do watch The Apprentice on TV. and I have followed his career through the press. I was therefore intrigued to read more about the man, and was pleased to see the hard back version of his book in my local charity shop, for a mere £2.00 - whereas online the cheapest version is £10.00 - all be it new.
Okay so lets move onto the book in question. This book is not a 3 night wonder. In total there are in excess of 600 pages, dealing with his early years and growing up on a Council Estate in Hackney, until his later years when he became a Lord Sugar or Baron Sugar of Clapton. My reading took over 10 days.
Essentially it is split into three main sections. Firstly it covers Amstrad. This is the company where he made his cash. The company that made him into a millionaire. Secondly how he became involved and subsequently owned Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and finally his involvement in presenting The Apprentice TV Programme and how he went on to get a place in the House of Lords.
It does also touch on his wife and family life but not in great detail. What the book does does is describe his early days in setting up Amstrad, and how he had a keen eye for opportunities. I enjoyed this section of the book immensely. I also enjoyed the middle section covering his Chairmanship of Tottenham. I am a huge football fan, and enjoyed reading about all the behind the scene wrangles, and his dispute with Terry Venables. Although I'd read it in the press, it was nice to hear it from the man himself. The final section I found a bit boring to be honest. This covered his TV programme, and his rise to the House of Lords.
Do I recommend the book? Yes I would say I do, with caution. But there again I enjoy reading about how people make money and start businesses. The middle section about Tottenham, unless you are a football fan, could be quite boring. It goes into a lot of detail, and will not suit all.
As for the last section. Well it wasn't for me. He had already spouted about how good he was, all through the book, and this just spoilt it for me. Okay he is successful, but I'm not a huge fan of the House of Lords and how the likes of himself and John 'Prezza' Prescott have found their way into the gown brigade.
I did find the book however, as a whole, compelling reading, and am just dropping 2 dooyoo stars for the 'less interesting' ending. I felt as if the book had climaxed at the beginning, and at times wish I'd read it back to front. The RRP is £20 for the hardback book, but I'm not sure I'd have ever paid that price. However still a great read!!
Copyright stebiz 2011 - also on ciao.co.uk
Having watched every series of The Apprentice I felt the need to request "Alan Sugar, What you see Is what you get" I felt it would some how inspire me to become an entrepreneur, however I was truly inspired by how Alan become the successful man he is today.
Describing how he came from humble backgrounds but made the most of what was available shows the true genius of this man and also his competition with his father for making more money. This book was glued to my hands constantly.
If you are looking for a book which will inspire you to become a better person or just for pure nosiness then this is the book for you. Having read this book you can understand why Sir Alan deserves to say those famous words, "You're fired" I would not fire anybody that was involved in the production of this truly amazing book.
When I received this book for Christmas, I must say I wasn't that impressed, I thought "great another TV personality trying to rake in a bit more money to add to there already huge bank balance", obviously with a huge smile on my face "Thanks Mum!". However I was very surprised at what an excellent and somewhat inspirational read it was.
In this book Lord Sugar takes you right through his life, from selling picture's to people within his block of flats, all the way through his business ventures (good and bad ones) right up to and including the current TV series "The Apprentice".
It was inspirational reading about how someone who affectively came from minimal wealth to being up there with some of the richest people in the world. The book is a real page turner, and whilst you are reading it you can imagine the man himself saying every word.
As my headline suggests, this really is a good read for anyone who is perhaps thinking about going alone in the business world, giving some valuable lessons in running a business, some perhaps a little unorthodox, like threatening ex-employees with a crow bar!
It is also an interesting book for anyone interested in a light-hearted read, Lord Sugar is a very funny man, and this is emulated in his book.
The book is 589 pages long, and for some of us including myself, this can be a daunting process thinking about reading a large book. However you can really lose yourself in the book wanting to read on, which I suppose is the key element for any great book.
This is a great read, and I would happily recommend it to all my friends and family, and I feel I'll be lending it out a few times in the near future.
I only recently got into The Apprentice this year ; I had never watched it before, although the rest of my family had, and so one night, I ended up watching it. 'The Boss' , Alan Sugar kind of scares me, and so I would not like to get on the wrong side of him. Although, having said that, I bet he's a real softie really! When I heard that he had an autobiography out, I was quite interested to learn all about him, as I didn't know anything about him.
What You See Is What You Get : My Autobiography, is Alan Sugar's biography. It was released in the United Kingdom in September 2010, and so is pretty much up-to-date. You can buy a copy of this book from Amazon for a price of £8.00.
What I loved most about this book is the fact that it is a true 'rags to riches' story. In this book, Alan tells us how he was brought up on a Hackney estate, and of his poor background. He describes how his father struggled to support the family, and he was never sure if he would still have a job. I think when you see how successful someone from a background like this one has become, it makes you admire them so much more than if their whole family were business people.
I like how the book is written ; simple and easy to follow. When I was reading the book, I could hear Alan's voice in my head ; I don't know how many times I read the word 'bleedin' and heard Alan say it in my head as I was reading it!
Before reading this book, I thought that Alan was really scary and intimidating, but after reading this book, it's obvious that it was the way he was brought up. He had a tough childhood, and it made him a tough man! I found it interesting seeing first-hand what he is really like as a person, rather than just his 'professionalism' for a change.
I really enjoyed this book ; a real inspirational read! This book would make a great stocking filler for Apprentice fans this Christmas!
Thanks for reading!
December 20th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
This review is of the hardback book "What You See is What You Get", the auto-biography of the successful businessman, and now television star, Alan Sugar, now Lord Sugar.
Alan Sugar is probably best known today for his role on the BBC's Apprentice, a show which uses his business experience to judge the ability of younger candidates to become his new "apprentice". The experience Sugar has had is wide, he started with nothing, built up Amstrad into an international computer brand, took over the chairmanship of Tottenham Hotspur as well as having a family and maintaining other business assets.
The book details these achievements, with much time spent on how things went wrong at Tottenham Hotspur with some of the fans and the media, as well as his involvement in the building up and growth of Amstrad. I didn't find the book to be too "I was right", which can be irritating when it happens, but it was interesting to read his side of the story, especially with regards to his time at Tottenham, possibly one of the times he suffered most in business because of the negative reactions he was receiving.
Despite these interesting sections, it was the section on his childhood which I found to be the most entertaining and deep, as this appeared to be the most heart-felt in the entire book. There is the mention of the little businesses which he operated to makes a few pounds, which produce several fun anecdotes, but it is the relationship with his parents, and the relationship with friends given his family's lack of money, which I found made the most interesting reading. His childhood certainly seemed to define him in many ways as an individual, and the way that he began on the path to success.
The book is written in quite a witty style, with an element of humour that we've seen in the man on the Apprentice, although I found that there were times when the book slipped slightly into narrative, and was a little narrow in just detailing what happened, rather than the emotions and wider impact that this events caused. However, this is minor, I found the book to flow and to hold the reader's interest throughout, despite the length of the book, nearly 650 pages long.
I'd suggest that this book would interest the general reader, not just those who are interested in business biographies, although it would of course likely hold their interest as well. For anyone interested in setting up a business, or just in need of motivation, it is definitely a book which shows what is possible through application, a bit of luck and lots of hard work. There are a fair few hints and tips on how to run a business throughout the book as well, which are useful without coming across as contrived.
I did get from the library earlier this year a book by Charlie Burden, which was a biography of Sir Alan Sugar (as he was then). This I found to be a badly written book, padded out, irrelevant in places and not really a proper biography in the way that I'd have expected. So this auto-biography is a much better book, and does rather negate the need to read Burden's book in my opinion.
The book retails for 20 pounds, a relatively usual price for hardbacks of this size, and the book is long. However, at the time of writing, the book can be purchased new from Amazon for just 9.98 pounds including postage. Currently, the book is a little cheaper second hand on sites such as eBay and Amazon, but will no doubt become cheaper as time goes on. The book was published this year, 2010, by Macmillan, and the ISBN is 9780230749337. I haven't seen the Kindle edition which is available to read, but this costs eight pounds, seemingly quite expensive given the cost of the book itself.
I'd definitely recommend reading this book, and given the price is under ten pounds at Amazon, it doesn't even seem worth waiting for the paperback version, which won't be much cheaper. The book is an interesting look at Lord Sugar's business life, sometimes maybe a little bit too much of a narrative of what had happened, but overall a fascinating read and definitely recommended.
Everyone must know who Alan Sugar is?? Creator of the beatiful Amstrad computer and brand. He also appears on his own TV show the Apprentice in which it is the ultimate job interview to try and secure a job along side Alan within his company. How did Alan get to where he is now though? Thats what this book is all about - Alan's life and how he got to where he is now.
I'm currently reading this book at the minute and it really is inspiring. I'm fascinated with the way he started out. The story goes from his child hood all the way to where he is now. It's interesting reading back on his back ground and all his child hood expeditions to make money - some of which are selling firewood, selling scraps of wool, photographs and cosmetics! Some of his starting jobs also included working at a local shop and a pharmacy. As well as doing various other money making side ventures he also had to juggle around a hectic personal life getting married early and having a family.
The book seems to retail in most shops at around £9.99.
I feel you can also learn a lot from the book from the success and mistakes that Alan made.
If you like Alan Sugar or are struggling for motivation to get a business idea off the ground then this book is definitley for you! It really is motiviational and gives you a hunger to want to go and do what Alan did.