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What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography [Hardcover]

Alan Sugar
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

30 Sep 2010
Alan Sugar was born in 1947 and brought up on a council estate in Clapton, in Hackney. As a kid he watched his dad struggle to support the family, never knowning from one week to the next if he'd have a job. It had a huge impact on him, fuelling a drive to succeed that was to earn him a sizeable personal fortune. Now he describes his amazing journey, from schoolboy enterprises like making and selling his own ginger beer to setting up his own company at nineteen; from Amstrad's groundbreaking ventures in hi-fi and computers, which made him the darling of the stock exchange, to the dark days when he nearly lost it all; from his pioneering deal with Rupert Murdoch to his boardroom battles at Tottenham Hotspur FC. He takes us into the world of The Apprentice, and describes his appointment as advisor to the government and elevation to the peerage. Like the man himself, this autobiography is forthright, funny and sometimes controversial.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023074933X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230749337
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.3 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Brash and bold are two adjectives used to describe this ruthless businessman turned TV personality. But Lord Sugar is a self-made man and one of Britain's finest business brains. His story so far is inspirational to the end.' --The Sun

'Sugar is unusual among celebrity memoirists in that he's a clever man who has done a lot with his life, and the tale of his rise from nothing, and nowhere is genuinely revealing.' --Private Eye

'He tells the story with characteristic wit and honesty, adding enough juicy bits of gossip to keep non-business readers onside. Having set the task of writing and marketing a bestselling book there's little doubt he'll be on the winning team.' --Director Magazine

'I'm addicted to autobiographies and What You See Is What You Get is one of the best i've read. Love him or loathe him, Baron Sugar of Clapton is the walking, snarling embodiment of all the values he espouses on The Apprentice. He believes in loyalty, hard work, looking after your family and enjoying your success. His rise to success from a tiny council house in East London is extraordinary and he tells it in the kind of blunt, no-nonsense way that has made him such a hit on television.' --Piers Morgan, Mail on Sunday

'Anyone reading an autobiography of Alan Sugar will want to glean some of his business savvy. And he delivers. Even his section on running Tottenham Hotspur FC provides insights into his attitudes and working methods.' --Sunday Herald

'Aspiring entrepreneurs will welcome the business advice that is ladled out liberally.' --Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Today Lord Sugar is chairman of Amshold Group Ltd. In 2009 he was appointed by PM Gordon Brown as Enterprise Champion to advise the government on small business and enterprise, and was also awarded a life peerage, becoming Alan, Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney. He continues to appear in The Apprentice.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what i expected 11 Nov 2010
I have just finished this book and what a surprise! It is not what I expected I did not really like Alan Sugar before I read this book, but I found this book absolutely fascinating I could not put it down Its one of the best autobiographies that I have read it just shows you there are 2 sides to every story especially regarding Terry Venables what sly and corrupt person he was.The press have certainly only portrayed one side to this story but at last Alan Sugar has the chance to put his side.I would recommend this book to everyone it just shows with a lot of hard work even someone from the poorest backgrounds can achieve brilliant results.
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109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read! 2 Oct 2010
I've never watched The Apprentice and didn't know a great deal about Alan Sugar until I read this book. It's a compelling read, especially the section on his early business career. It gives a fascinating insight into the drive required to create a successful business. Alan Sugar comes across as straight-talking, no-nonsense and likeable (although I'm not sure he wants people to think that). As I'm just in the throes of setting up a new business, I found his book both encouraging and inspiring. A great read!
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123 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Alan Sugar was a born opportunist. From a very early age he could see an opportunity to make money where other people saw a pile of junk. Couple this with a fierce desire to do well and we learn - from his autobiography What You See Is What You Get - how he transforms from a young and naive lad to the supremely successful businessman that Lord Sugar is today.

The book takes you on his journey in his own blunt way of speaking, from when he was a poor, young loner to becoming a multi-millionaire in his thirties; a football club chairman in his forties; a Knight of the Realm and a television phenomenon in his fifties; and Lord Sugar, Baron Sugar of Clapton in his sixties.

The first half of the book is mainly about the rise of the company he created - Amstrad. It goes into great detail about how Alan Sugar built it into a multi million pound industry from scratch, using nothing more than common sense, an eye for an opportunity and a self taught ability to negotiate and hustle. There is not much mention of his family in this section, other than briefly covering the main events such as marriage to his wife, Ann, the birth of their children, moving house etc.

The second half covers the period as Tottenham Hotspur's Chairman; how he became a television personality, a Knight and a Lord; and the dignified demise of his beloved company Amstrad.

The book doesn't go into any detail on how the pressures of building up the Sugar Empire impacted his family or friends. It only touches on some points in this area. It does, however, give an insight into how Alan Sugar felt whenever his loyalty was betrayed and in particular, when he became victim to negative media coverage - especially during his time as Tottenham Hotspur Football Club chairman.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't normally read biographies, and probably would not have bought this book had I not have 'got to know' the persona of Alan Sugar by following The Apprentice over the past few years. That said, I'm glad I did as by reading the book you get an insight into the real Alan Sugar - not just the side portrayed on television.

I won't discuss the contents of the work, as that is self explanatory - the life story of the man himself. My review is on the reading 'experience' of the story.

The book is written in a fluent, easy going manner. Easy to pick up, not so easy to put down, I read it in three days. I found it to be written with candidness, honesty and humor. Particularly fascinating for me was the early Amstrad days; the time when the tape-to-tape music centre was the thing to have.... and from there-on-in the story and Amstrad brand really begins its roller coaster journey.

To conclude, all I can say is lay aside any political persuasions and preconceived opinions you may have and enjoy this book for what it is - an entertaining, enjoyable, and to a point inspiring insight into the corporate world and into the life of a true entrepreneur.

A fabulous read - recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - if you like LOTS of detail! 17 Nov 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book from Alan Sugar. I'm not sure if he wrote it personally, and I see there is some debate about whether or not he did, but I'd be shocked if he didn't at least write MOST of it, purely because there was just so many details and the fact that it 'sounded' like him - i could hear him almost talking to me through the book as it is written in very much 'his style' and manner of speaking. This is not a quick 'feelgood' type of book, it really gets down to the nitty gritty of what it is like building a huge business from scratch and includes relentless details about exactly how this all happened. This may put some people off and makes the book rather long, but for me I thought it was the best part. This book will really appeal to you if you have even the slightest inkling of the spirit of doing business inside you (I hesitate to say the word 'entrepreneur' because Lord Sugar mentions both on the telly and in his book about how he doesn't like people using this term to refer to themselves, and I quite agree!).

A fairly big chunk of this book dealt with Lord Sugar's time with Tottenham Football Club. Not being a football fan at all, I let out a big moan when I came to this part expecting to be thoroughly bored by it. However what transpired was very interesting indeed even though I know nothing about either football or Lord Sugar's prior involvement in it. There were a lot of valuable lessons that can be taken from this section in particular, as it represented what was obviously the most challenging time of his entire career and a lot of very difficult decisions that had to be made. I tend to be prone to 'giving up' when the going gets tough, when I enter times in my business where I have to deal with difficult situations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 18 days ago by Arthur Holden
5.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend.
Excellent book, kept me entertained throughout and instantly bought Alans other book on completion
Published 25 days ago by Shaun
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed reading this
Published 27 days ago by Mrs. B. A. Warburton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ebay
All went well - Excellent ebay
Published 1 month ago by PaulM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read nice to see someone work so hard to achieve goals.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but quite football heavy.
An interesting read and there are a few valuable business lessons in the book but Alan Sugar does tend to overstate the influence that Amstrad had on the home computer market a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Darren Grant
4.0 out of 5 stars It's quite boring if you don't have an interest in the sport
There's not much else I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. However I will warn you that a sizeable chunk of the book goes on about football. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Luca
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Ok read
Published 1 month ago by Lucky Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful biography
I've picked up a lot from reading this book. Starting my professional career in an apprenticeship scheme, it felt relevant to read this biography. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Master Courtney Jd Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Great to see someone tell it like it is.
Published 1 month ago by AD
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