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. As well as the harsh, business tycoon we see portrayed in The Apprentice television show, the book also reveals a more sensitive and private side of Alan Sugar.
I don't know if Alan Sugar physically typed the words of the book himself, but there's no doubt that it's written in his own voice - you can just hear him saying things like: "I've bleedin' had it up to the neck with all that crap!" and "Either you get me the bloody boat for five million dollars or stop driving me bleedin' mad!". At times `the voice' seems cocky and full of himself - but then who wouldn't be, with the achievements that Alan Sugar has made to date.
One of the most impressive things about Alan Sugar's life is that he's gone through some major business ups and downs and yet he's never lost his own personal fortune, and it appears that the closeness of his family and inner circle of friends remains intact.
This is a book well worth reading if only to hear the facts from the horse's mouth. But it's also a journey that takes the reader along, through the risk taking, the money making, the conflicts with the media and his adversaries - to the survival of a highly respected business man, famous entrepreneur, decent family man and loyal friend.