Read Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire by Reginald F. Lewis Blair S. Walker Online


Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? is the inspiring story of Reginald Lewis: lawyer, Wall Street wizard, philanthropist — and the wealthiest black man in American history.When six-year-old Reginald Lewis overheard his grandparents discussing employment discrimination against African Americans, he asked, “Why should white guys have all the fun?" This self-assured childWhy Should White Guys Have All the Fun? is the inspiring story of Reginald Lewis: lawyer, Wall Street wizard, philanthropist — and the wealthiest black man in American history.When six-year-old Reginald Lewis overheard his grandparents discussing employment discrimination against African Americans, he asked, “Why should white guys have all the fun?" This self-assured child would grow up to become the CEO of Beatrice International and one of the most successful entrepreneurs ever. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated in excess of $400 million and his vast commercial empire spanned four continents. Despite the notoriety surrounding Lewis's financial coups, little has been written about the life of this remarkable man. Based on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, as well as scores of interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, the book cuts through the myth and media hype to reveal the man behind the legend. What emerges is a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined individual with a razor-sharp tongue — and an intellect to match — who would settle for nothing less than excellence from himself and others....

Title : Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire
Author :
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ISBN : 9781574780369
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 318 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire Reviews

  • BONDing over BOOKS
    2019-05-23 10:39

    Before there was Oprah there was Reginald F. Lewis. So who is Reginald F. Lewis? Wall Street lawyer and financier who in 1987, achieved what many thought was an impossible feat. At that time, "the billion-dollar LBO (leveraged buyout) of Beatrice International Foods was the largest offshore leveraged buyout ever pulled off." Retold in a semi-autobiographical format, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? - How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire by Reginald F. Lewis and Blair S. Walker.Born and raised in East Baltimore, Maryland, the seeds of success were planted at an early age. Educated in the Baltimore public school system, he was a bright student, star quarterback in high school, and football scholarship recipient to Virginia State University in Richmond, Virginia. "He always had an agenda, a sense of purpose and direction," which served him well in both the legal and business worlds.In his junior year of college he was chosen to participate in a new summer program at Harvard University that was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to "acquaint black college students with legal study." As a result of his experience he ended up being "the only person in the [148 year] history of Harvard Law School who was admitted before he applied." Reginald F. Lewis eventually started his own law practice Lewis & Clarkson and specialized in venture capital interests. This provided the foundation for TLC (The Lewis Company) acquisition of McCall Pattern Company; which resulted in a 90-1 gain and doubled McCall's income for the next two years and earned 12 and 14 million respectively. This set the stage for the billion-dollar Beatrice acquisition. This book lays out in detail the what, when, where, how, and why, it is essentially a manual for others to follow.THOUGHTS for your SOUL:•"In 1965, the highest ranking black faculty member at Harvard University was the assistant reference librarian."•"Colors and labels have a way categorizing people and creating artificial constraints around people and the way they think about themselves."•"Take a global perspective, don't neglect international studies, train your students to learn about international law, international business and tax."This is not a story about an African-American man, but rather a story about a man who against all odds lived the adage "luck happens when preparation meets opportunity."- Seneca. Most people want to leave a legacy of some sort, something that said "I was here." Mr. Lewis died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage brought on by the cancerous tumor on his brain at the age of 50 in 1993. Here are a some of his legacies:•The Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice Corporation.•The Lewis International Law Center on the grounds of Harvard University.•The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African-American History and Culture in Baltimore, Maryland.•The Reginald F. Lewis High School of Business Law in Baltimore, Maryland.His accomplishments are an example of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Driven by desire and determination, he wanted to compete and win, irrespective of race. He loved the game, did the work, took the risks and eventually won! Reginald F. Lewis exceeded everyone's expectations except his own.

  • Shavon Jones
    2019-06-08 14:40

    I finally read Reginald Lewis biography after I met his biographer a few weeks ago. As a black woman who did her undergraduate work at an HBCU, I am disappointed that his story and accomplishments were not part of the curriculum. Now for the review: the book is well-written, thoroughly researched, and balanced in the treatment of Mr. Lewis' favorable and unfavorable attributes. That is what I like to see in biography (which incidentally is my favorite genre) - a complete picture of a flawed yet remarkable person. Mr. Walker accomplishes that with this work. As far as the subject, Mr. Lewis, is concerned, there is so much to admire and respect. He had the courage to go after what he wanted. True courageousness, not just reflexes that arise in a crisis, but the deliberate audacity to want big things, to plan how to obtain them and then to execute on his plans. I also admire the way he understood that formal education is just the beginning. School taught him how to think and how to research, but most of the knowledge he used to build his empire was self taught. He knew where the answers were, accessed the information, learned how the game was being played on the highest levels and then courageously grabbed his piece of the pie. It is for this reason that his biography should be among the books that supplement the theory in college textbooks.

  • Sherreka Burton
    2019-06-14 09:33

    Pro-black (from a Pan-African standpoint, mind you) multi-millionaire is an oxymoron; it seems as though you can’t be one and the same. I’m slowly becoming disillusioned by this capitalistic structure that is being established around the globe. Reginald F. Lewis was a good business man and he had two great feats that led to his epic status. This is not to say that the two deals were overnight successes, because they weren’t. Lewis worked hard for his eventually high-dollar pay days. I felt he was often contradictory on the matter of race; I won’t explain why I feel that way because if you’re Pan-African and you read it you will know why. I do admire his work ethic and negotiation skills, even if he was a bit erratic and too high-tempered at times. It’s a good book for an aspiring business man to read.

  • DW
    2019-06-03 14:50

    Inspiring doesn't even begin to describe this book. However, I am so struck by his life story I can hardly say more than that. You've got to read it for yourself. I read a copy belonging to a friend and I really need to purchase my own, for re-reading and for posterity sake. Here is a man who was accepted to Harvard University without ever having completed an admittance application. Now he has a building there named after him; The Reginald F. Lewis International Law Center. The books title is designed to catch you off guard, but the man is serious.

  • Tonya
    2019-06-07 13:01

    I couldn't rate this book without considering the writing (not great), clinical approach, and apparent bias. HOWEVER, the subject of the book was no doubt an extraordinary force and businessman. He truly understood his own power and how to focus it. Reading this book definitely makes it a bit harder to come up with excuses.

  • Antoine LJ
    2019-06-03 13:42

    Face it, for years American business was dominated by one type of person. In the 80's, Reginald Lewis, with all of his unbridled ambition, had enough moxie to think he could play the game of business at the level of American titans too. He also had enough passion to win at it.

  • Gregory
    2019-06-14 13:54

    I thought that this was a good book. As you read this book, you understand Mr. Lewis and how he had built a billion dollar empire. I don't want to give away the entire book. You must read it for yourself.

  • Brandon Weedon
    2019-05-31 12:57

    Great man Great bookThis is a testament of the African American Dream. I now have a new role model after reading this book....

  • Tony Smith
    2019-05-31 07:56

    AWESOME, one of my favorite all time reads

  • Ken Josef
    2019-06-17 14:37

    One of the best books I've ever read.

  • Godfrey
    2019-05-27 07:49

    I don’t think I aspire to be exactly like Reg Lewis, as he comes across as more mercurial and demanding of his subordinates than I’d like to be. I am though very happy he existed and enjoyed the fruits of his immense labors. His focus and fearlessness in life and commitment to social justice and racial equality were admirable as was his tenacity and willingness to be himself. He did his best to break racist stereotypes of what it takes and means to be successful and black not only in America but also in Western Europe, and for that I’m grateful to have heard his story and proud he lived it. He makes me want to be as successful in my own way, which I think he would’ve applauded. “Charming, irascible, and prone to mood swings, Lewis was as quirky an amalgam of pride, ego, and towering ambition as ever sauntered into a boardroom.” - Prologue“Always remember, your skill is what’s important. Get that and build on it and sooner or later you’ll have a big payday— count on it.” - Reginald Lewis, p. 22“After lunch, Lewis left the restaurant, disappointed at not having gotten an affirmative response on the spot. He loved to win, but could cope with his plans going awry— as long as he’d expended maximum effort.” - p. 53“Lewis worked long hours all his life and set the pace for his employees, who both admired his stamina and resented the fact that they were expected to keep up with him. Robert Suggs practiced law with Lewis for half a year in 1976. “Most people give you a timetable to do something that has slippage in it. If you came back to Lewis in six months, there would be no slippage in his timetable,” says Suggs. “He was very focused and if he had 12 things to do to get to the next point, he’d do them in sequence. A lot of people bullshit and are vague and their story changes every time they tell it. He wasn’t bullshitting.” - p. 79“When confronted with racism, Lewis’s response was to meet it head on. If he felt a maitre d’ placed him too close to the kitchen, or that a waiter delivered indifferent service, Lewis would buttonhole the manager and bring it to his or her attention.” - p. 88“Most people would have found the prospectuses incredibly tedious reading, but not Lewis. He read them closely, dreaming a little and learning a lot. Each prospectus was like a little history book that told Lewis about the officers of a company, their salaries, their strategic thinking— even about lawsuits filed against a company. Lewis ate all of this up and he liked nothing better than to take a set of prospectuses home to read.” - p. 127“The fact is, however, I never focused on earnings. Others like to hear it so I repeated it, but I kept my eyes glued on cash flow. When I worked through the numbers, over a 2 ½-year period NSI had pulled about $18 million in cash out of McCall. That, then, was my price— $ 18 million. In my heart I was ready to go higher.” - Reginald Lewis, p. 136“Instead of presenting himself as the person looking to buy the company, Lewis claimed to represent a consortium of investors. He knew everyone on the other side of the table would automatically assume the members of the investor group were white. Because Lewis did not hold himself out as the potential acquirer of the McCall Pattern Co., he could at least rest assured that race was not a factor if he failed this time.” - p. 137“An obsession of his was to “get behind the numbers” generated by a business. In the course of reading prospectuses, he would grab Kevin Wright or Charles Clarkson and say, “Here’s a figure on the page. I want to understand why that number is there, what are the components that go into making up that number. What individual had to do A, B, C, and D to make it what it is? And why isn’t it better?” - p. 138“My philosophy is, first, if you’re using a lot of leverage, bring the capitalization into more normalized means before you start talking about another serious strategic play. In other words, digest a little bit of what you have and confirm your own judgment about the earning power of the assets before you start going off strategically.” - p. 168“I was glad I never went to business school, because it’s one thing to be able to do a good quantitative analysis, which is important, but it’s better to have a burning desire to get behind the numbers— what is driving this a particular way? And that’s part financial but it’s also understanding a culture of people. Ultimately, you will really generate significantly greater returns if you understand that.” - p. 169“Come on, for Christ’s sake!” Lewis bellowed. “Just to make them respect you, you demand SOMETHING. You don’t just roll over.” - p. 174“Reg enjoyed the competition, he enjoyed the struggle,” former Beatrice executive Everett Grant says. “Since his enjoyment came from competition, and he was able to compete so much and so successfully, I think he did enjoy himself quite a bit, more than most people can conceive.” - p. 201“Reg, I know what I think— I don’t give a fuck what you think!” The anger drifted from Lewis’s eyes when he heard Christophe’s words. “You don’t give a fuck what I think,” he said, repeating the words slowly. With that, Lewis started smiling broadly and thrust his hand across the seat and grabbed Christophe’s. “I love it,” he said. “You have the makings of an entrepreneur yet.” - p. 243“It is a fact that a mediocre white kid has a lot better shot than a mediocre black kid. And there’s this hypocrisy within our culture that somehow African-Americans have not achieved as much because somehow it’s our own fault. I mean, it’s such a vicious lie.” - Reginald Lewis, p. 254“Again, it bears repeating that Lewis had an extraordinary ability to set priorities and not waver from them one iota.” - p. 263“It’s fair to say he was reasonably autocratic and had a fairly clear sense of what he wanted to accomplish and how, and really did view his employees as extensions of himself,” Davenport recalls of Lewis. “I think he was interested in the input, but he was also very interested in making sure that whatever the ultimate strategy or tactic or end product of a given process was that it would have his initials firmly embossed in the middle and on the sides.” - p. 272“Black men who are prepared or confident or willing to act aggressively are viewed as undesirables who are arrogant, uppity, and too big for their britches, Lewis would tell Gumbel.” - p. 276“My father never stopped moving forward, no matter what fate threw in his way. Whether racial stereo-types that would hamper him in his business, racial bias and prejudice, no matter what the world threw him, he didn’t let it stop him.” - p. 309

  • Loveteiab
    2019-05-24 09:52

    EVERYONE should learn about Reginald Lewis and I’m quite upset I loved 30 plus years of my life and just learned of his legacy. The book was encouraging because it goes to show you don’t have to be the best or the smartest but with a discipline and a strong work ethic you can go far in life. My only dislike in this book that could also serve as a plus... The people interviewed to create the book either loved him or hated him so we didn’t know Reginald side, he wasn’t alive to defend himself or tell his side. Still worth the read.

  • Ana
    2019-06-17 14:33

    Meh! I had high hopes for this book, but I found it to be poorly- written. I couldn’t get through the first few pages.

  • Raynelle Grace
    2019-05-26 14:54

    While this book wasn't "a fun" read, it definitely CHANGED MY LIFE! Reginald Lewis was not raised with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he allowed his passion and hunger to succeed fuel his ascent to billionaire status. Along the way, there were certainly plenty of folks (especially his peers) who did not support him; but, he focused on his goals, and achieved them nonetheless. Although I never had the chance to meet him, Reginald Lewis is certainly one of my newfound mentors. I'm using his success as my roadmap to beat the odds and Achieve Beyond Expectations (Abex) in my daily life. Anyone who wants to achieve financial success should definitely read this book - it's a real life rags to riches story.

  • primokush
    2019-06-13 11:35

    I am an innovative, passionate, and highly motivated entrepreneur, so I read this book to gleam some insight into the life and successes of Reginald F. Lewis. Today, I accept myself, but learn that I can grown more successful by absorbing the valuable lessons of his existence. I thank god, for creating such a sublime model for me to follow into Venture Capital. I concur with this quote from Bill Cosby about Lewis: "Reggie Lewis is to me, not was, is to me what Joe Louis is to me. What Jackie Robinson is to me. Regardless of race, color, or creed, we are all delt a hand to play in this game of life. And believe me, Reg Lewis played the hell out of his hand." -Bill Cosby

  • Julius
    2019-05-30 14:49

    Not only have I read this book twice, (one of three books I have reread from cover to cover), but I have also gifted this book to several people. I also encourage it as a must read. If you have ever been told that you can't do something, this will provide the encouragement of one of my favorite sayings: No doesn't mean no, it just means not right now. There are two books that I always encourage people to read. This is one of them. The other is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.Reginald F. Lewis - a life lost too soon.

  • Maya Rock
    2019-05-18 07:42

    Kind of thin and superficial, this book is the story of this guy, a lawyer, who made a lot of money by taking over companies...this book made it seem like guts were a lot more important than smarts in making this kind of thing work. Anyway I felt like you basically got a very good picture of this workaholic, savvy driven guy and the pluses and minuses of that attitude. Then he dies fairly young. I don't know, there was something raw and lovable about this.

  • Terrell
    2019-05-29 13:34

    I know the book sounds a little racy, but this book personifies the attitude that an African American Man has to have when it comes to building a Billion Dollar Business. I learned that Reginald Lewis had to step back twice and reorganize his plan before he moved forward with the purchase of McCall Patterns, the JV Agreement with Brook Shields, and his relationship with the Junk Bond King. This was done in the 70's and 80's without a Black President... what can we do now?

  • Candelaria Silva
    2019-05-27 13:48

    Mr. Lewis was the first Black billionaire I believe and quite a business leader. He made substantial gift to Harvard University. His life was cut unfortunately short by brain cancer. When he died, there was some theorizing that his heavy use of cellphones was to blame.His wife has carried on his legacy and created scholarships in his honor and a few other iniatives.

  • Deshawn
    2019-06-15 14:45

    As an HBCU graduate (NSU) and fellow Nupe, I enjoyed this read. Bro Lewis' dedication, boldness, and courage to exceed the normality in all aspects of his career is definitely something to look up to.

  • Shirley
    2019-06-14 06:48

    Great read.

  • Paul Brunson
    2019-05-20 08:41

    My favorite!

  • Fawaz Ghanem
    2019-05-18 11:42

    One of the best books I've ever read

  • Shavar Ross
    2019-06-17 07:57

    Loved this book. Changed my way of thinking about business in a lot of ways.

  • Yohance
    2019-06-04 14:00

    Inspirational and moving, a true pioneer of his time for African American students of business. Definitely a book that I will revisit from time to time.

  • Stanley Griggs
    2019-06-10 11:39

    Reginald F. Lewis - Catalyst of motivation to achieve.

  • Tommy T.
    2019-06-08 13:50

    The book is a "game changer" in my life!

  • Kathy
    2019-05-31 07:40

    Excellent story of a Black Man from the inner city that became the owner and CEO of Beatrice Foods. I often wonder what else he would have done if he hadn't died too soon.

  • Lori Grant
    2019-06-09 11:56

    A should-read book on entrepreneurial success stories for the knowledge worker or aspiring entrepreneur.