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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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"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

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  • Prezbell24
  • 2018-11-13

Leftists will hate it

The US capitalist system is still the great equalizer. Anyone can make it with common sense, hard work and an idea. The modern academy won’t admit it, but it’s true. Langone lived it, and tells it well.

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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.

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  • Jon K
  • 2019-05-16

Wish I had a mentor like Ken Langone

This is a great book that keeps your attention all the way to the end and does not bull$hit you (thank you for that). I currently manage people now and try to abide by the same principles Ken does. The other manager does not follow these same principles and I see the difference in loyalty and hard work. I plan to start my own business soon and I’m happy to see that leading this way can really still work in this day and age. Thank you Ken for inspiring me to keep on track!

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  • Steve Schwab
  • 2019-04-18

A great story

Probably one of the best business books I’ve read in years. An amazing story of why Capitalism actually does work.

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  • marcus
  • 2019-03-20

leadership at its finest

i did not know much about this guy. i was recommended this book. a great recommendation

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  • Eric Nemes
  • 2019-03-11

Great story about the rewards of working hard.

This was a great story about a regular kid who worked hard and had an instinct about business that set him apart from others and he became a trusted advisor to many.

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  • Kevin
  • 2019-03-02

Alt title: Bedtime Stories for Business Students

Here Langone seems to have pulled back the curtain to introduce us all to the man the media portrays as a business wizard. Loved every minute! Thank you Mr. L!

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  • Flashy
  • 2019-02-15

An Inspiring Story For Everyone!

Ken Langone is the embodiment of a great businessman, but more importantly the embodiment of a great person. His story is full of wonderful lessons for us all, both in and out of business.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-14

As good as I hoped for!

I really enjoyed hearing your life’s story Ken. You being the narrator certainly added to the experience.