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I Love Capitalism!

An American Story
Written by: Ken Langone
Narrated by: Ken Langone
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

Iconoclastic entrepreneur and New York legend Ken Langone tells the compelling story of how a poor boy from Long Island became one of America's most successful businessmen.

Ken Langone has seen it all on his way to a net worth beyond his wildest dreams. A pillar of corporate America for decades, he's a co-founder of Home Depot, a former director of the New York Stock Exchange, and a world-class philanthropist (including $200 million for NYU's Langone Health). In this memoir he finally tells the story of his unlikely rise and controversial career. It's also a passionate defense of the American Dream - of preserving a country in which any hungry kid can reach the maximum potential of his or her talents and work ethic.

In a series of fascinating stories, Langone shows how he struggled to get an education, break into Wall Street, and scramble for an MBA at night while competing with privileged competitors by day. He shares how he learned how to evaluate what a business is worth and apply his street smarts to eight-figure and nine-figure deals. And he's not shy about discussing, for the first time, his epic legal and PR battle with former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer.

His ultimate theme is that free enterprise is the key to giving everyone a leg up. As he writes:   

This book is my love song to capitalism. Capitalism works! And I'm living proof - it works for everybody. Absolutely anybody is entitled to dream big, and absolutely everybody should dream big. I did. Show me where the silver spoon was in my mouth. I've got to argue profoundly and passionately: I'm the American Dream.

©2018 Ken Langone (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen but not much on Home Depot

if you're interested in the history of Home Depot, you're going to be disappointed. Ken was just the money man and obviously had little to do with its day to day success. Otherwise, his tales of high finance and name dropping are interesting and his unique voice adds to the audio.
Ken's voice comes and goes so you'll need to keep the volume high.

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"Greater the risk, greater the reward"

"Greater the risk, greater the reward." (Ken Lagone, I Love Capitalism!) Written and read by billionaire Ken Langone, the cofounder of Home Depot. The title of the book made me think that it would be promoting the benefits of capitalism only. I was wrong. It read more like an autobiography and takes you through the journeys' of the author and his rags to richest story. He worked hard and was diligent in what he was doing. He always wanted to work on Wall Street and his wife had a father who worked there and got him an interview. He worked diligently and eventually, he became good at what he did...specifically raising capital for businesses. He says, "God gave me this wonderful ability to measure risk as well as a good nose for people and what businesses I want to back." He also went to school at night to get his MBA and eventually also became a teacher. His greatest opportunity came in the form of Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank when they were fired from their jobs and wanted to start a home improvement store. Ken Lagone arranged for financing and invested capital of his own. Home Depot did well, they began to expand, some management and CEO mishaps, and the rest is history. I think the last chapters of this audio book dealt more with what I was personally looking for in reading this book: his advice on business and life. Here are some notes I took from this book that you may find helpful: • My one regret is my career kept me home more than what I would have liked. • The world belongs to risk-takers. • Capitalism works. • It can work for everyone and everybody. • I was always on the lookout for opportunities. • Math came easy to me. I was always good with numbers. • Supply and demand goes through everything in life. Early on I caught the fact that if you have a special talent or if you have something unique that provokes people to do something that you can make a profit on that a good thing. • Necessity is the mother of invention. • You treat a customer right and you never have to worry. • Greater the risk, greater the reward. • No one succeeds alone. • Never giving up and thinking creatively, instead of just reacting when the chips were down. • Success attracts attention. • In business sometimes what goes around really does come around. • Never underestimate the power of a great product. • There is nothing more important to me in life than the name I leave my kids. • You ignore the human element of business at your own peril. • The big picture depends on a lot of smaller pictures. • I've been rich and I've been poor, but rich is better. • I don't buy anything that I don't understand. • We all have different talents, we are not all equal. • Capitalism brings better lives than socialism does. • Like it or not, we are not all equal. • God gave me this wonderful ability to measure risk as well as a good nose for people and what businesses I want to back. • Capitalism works, but you got to make the effort and you have to take the lumps. • Capitalism is brutal, it is survival of the fittest. • Leave more on the table for the other guy, then he thinks he should get. • One of the most important rules in capitalism is incentive. • If there aren't any profits, then there can't be any returns. • If a guy has good ideas, let him come to work bare ass. • Complacency is the enemy. • People are always your best investment. • When capitalism works the way it should, it works for everybody. • Minimum wage, minimum talent. • I want everybody in the world to do well. • The world is a lot more fun if we are all rich, instead of just some of us. • I am a collage of other people's efforts. • The opportunities in America are the very best they've ever been. You might have to look harder for them, then in my day, but they are there. • It is essential to love the work you are doing. • What distinguishes the winners from the losers is the ability to turn adversity around. Resilience and creativity. He does swear continuously on this book and then claims to be spiritual at the same time, which seemed like an oxymoron, but he is real and I found him genuine. He also admits that he is not self-made and gives credit to those who impacted his life and the sales associates at Home Depot. Entertaining stories and humour throughout this audio book that kept me engaged (have to be tolerant of all the swear words through. Common' Ken, we learned not to swear at 4 years old!).

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A must read!

A absolute must read. One of the better memoirs and business books out there.

#Audible1

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  • james
  • 2018-05-19

Great Story..

I really enjoyed the book and some of the anecdotes were priceless. The best was Ross Perot losing out on making a 2 million dollar investment that would roughly be worth 150 billion today. Why? Read the book and find out.. Great job Ken.
Jim Power

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D. C. Cooper
  • 2018-05-22

Good autobiography

Ken Langone’s story is an inspiration to those who think you have to be rich to make it big in America. His story shows that it is not only possible but definitely doable IF you are willing to work hard and take chances. It’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.

His best advice for capitalism is at the end of the book. Take care of All of your people. From the bottom up. That’s how you have a successful company. Too often today companies only care about their bottom line and are happy to get rid of their people. They should take lessons from Ken. Because they don’t, we get young people wanting Bernie Sanders. They need to change or capitalism will be over.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared M.
  • 2019-12-01

Save your money, he clearly has enough!

I really wanted to like this book however the author spent so much time patting himself on the back rather than sharing anything that could be deemed useful. My only hope is that he stretched before writing this book because at his age he could really pull something!
I didn't expect a blueprint or a "How to get rich" tutorial however for someone who claims to have done so many great things, and help so many people the only thing he helped me with was being a few bucks shorter in the pocketbook.

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  • The MAKEUP ACADEMY
  • 2019-11-23

A great story about a legend

Ok I’ve always known who ken Langone was but last summer i saw him on CNBC getting attacked 4 on 1 by the left wing hosts of squawk box about his support for trump. His authentic reply and seeing an 80 year old single handedly fend off 4 people with pure facts and wisdom intrigued me to learn more from him. I found his book. It’s a straight up biography of his life. He narrates the entire thing with his raspy voice and Long Island accent. I finished in two days. He tells a great story of his highs and lows. The book is sort of like your grandfather giving you a pep talk on Christmas Day. I loved his story and his rise on Wall Street. The only thing i didn’t like was in the middle of chapter 10 he completely skips over how he started Home Depot. Literally he’s in the middle of a story and says “ok now fast forward 20 years i co founded Home Depot and now I’m doing something else “ lol. Great book of insight for people who look up to Wall Street tycoons. Very fast reading.

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  • Dwayne Wayne
  • 2019-11-20

Exceptional story!

I actually struggled with his voice in the beginning but it made it all the more authentic!

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  • Bill Stayart
  • 2019-11-13

I love capitalism too!

I love this story I Love Ken I wish I could meet him this story is the American story this is the American dream God bless you can your family and all those that have helped you reach the heights that you have I'm a Home Depot stock holder and I love Home Depot thank you Ken

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  • Robin
  • 2019-08-26

Absolutely great story

Loved his story and the way he tells it. I’m sure lots of people will have trouble listening to his voice the entire book but I didn’t mind at all. Has allot of life lessons built right in and I’m definitely keeping this one.

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  • Jeffery
  • 2019-08-16

Outstanding Book

Outstanding Book, Mr Langone’s reading of this book definitely gives authenticity and personality to an already great story. This book is a nail bitter, a sit on the edge of your seat, or in my case, sit in my car in the parking lot of a grocery store, and listen until he’s finished- kind of book. So good. So honest. So inspiring. For a young entrepreneur, looking for more validation that capitalism and ethnically principled business is still just as valid as it ever was (or even more so now than ever), this book is a must read/listen. Thanks Ken, thank you Sir for writing and reading this book when you obviously didn’t have to! Truly a great American Classic!

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  • Beachy 131
  • 2019-08-11

Great book a lot to learn

Great audio book, I really enjoyed listening to this book. Learning about all the smart investment moves, and the start of Home Depot. There is a Lot of cursing in this book. I had to shut it off when my kids were around.
I think Ken needed to wash his mouth out with soap. It is still a great book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-05

The American Dream

This well written autobiography contains business experiences, humor and other components that makes it a must read/hear.