Saturday, 12 February 2011

What you see is what you get - Alan Sugar

A very enjoyable book tracing the life of Alan Sugar from his humble origins to the man he is today. Having been a young man when most of the shenanigans in this book were actually happening I found myself getting more and more interested in the stories. I remember only too well seeing the Amstrad name appearing on the shelves of Laskys next to my Cambridge Audio gear. Those cheap looking speakers taking up the same shelves as my Wharfdale Diamonds was incredulous. Bt at the end of the day this man understood what the average Joe in the street wanted from the money in his pocket and beat them all.
There's plenty of his business dealings here to fascinate a great many but was not until the later pages when the business of business began to fade away as giant corporations snuck in while he had his eye on the ball at Spurs do we something of the man himself start to shine through. It is when we begin to see the successes wane and the empire crack and crumble that we see the man behind the mask show us his face.
There are times when it is obvious that Alan Sugar does not do emotions. This comes through in hidden apologies which, as you get used to his way of speaking and dealing with people become as plain as day.
When he walked away from Spurs and faced the rigours of high court for something that was just not true we see the tough guy melt. From then on with the pressure gone we see a more open man who is more willing to expose his true self to a wider audience. As the book progresses through the sale of his first baby, Amstrad, and the concern for his personnel, his consideration for their future that in selling the company they are not exposed to the asset stripping that happens so often in business.
Alan, then takes through the creation of The Apprentice, and all that goes on behind the scenes and we get to see another facet of this somewhat extraordinary man who, when focused, can get the most of out of anything. It was then good to see that when he took up his seat in The House of Lords he was not not going to put up with false accusations from the Peers and toffs, which from my standpoint is quite remarkable.
In the end I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the growth of the technology industry or is just plain nosey and like to see how the other half live.