Book – What You See Is What You Get
Author – Alan Sugar
Year – 2010
Genre – Autobiography
Pages – 643
Bought for me by Ellie Beaumont and baby Evie
The Apprentice is in full swing now for the 2012 series, and a nice birthday surprise from Ellie, was a copy of Alan Sugar’s autobiography. It is a beast, at well over six hundred pages, and has spent the past week taking up nearly half of the room in my bag, but I have made my way through it now and so my back can take a rest.
Firstly, it is worth me mentioning that it is almost definitely ghostwritten. I am not necessarily saying that Alan Sugar would be unable to write his own memoirs, but I am pretty sure he wouldn’t have the time. And he would probably be unable to. Whilst I do have a soft spot for people who have genuinely written their own autobiographies without a ghostwriter, I wouldn’t say that it is a necessary thing to make the book interesting, and indeed, sometimes helps. So no prejudice before I start.
So that out of the way, what of the book? Well, it is full of anecdotes as we follow our way through Sugar’s life, from a boy with the occasional grand idea, trying to make a few extra pence with a scheme, to the start of a wheeling and dealing group, on to national markets, and floating on the stock exchange, then his time at Tottenham Hotspur and the TV exposure he now receives. And it is all really interesting. I know him mainly from The Apprentice and a little about the scandal when he became a peer – also covered in the book – but learning all about the growth of Amstrad and how he made his fortune, I found fascinating. He is an electronics geek, and the amount of technical information in there may be offputting to many – he apologises frequently for having to explain some technical info that is vital to a story – but maybe due to the speed I read at, I never personally found that a problem. Instead I was pretty much hooked the whole way through.
It is definitely worth mentioning that if you want to read this purely for his insight into The Apprentice then you will be disappointed. He doesn’t even get to that part until a hundred pages or so from the end, and that hundred pages has to also include all of the peerage stuff. What he does say is interesting enough, but he can’t mention more than five or six candidates by name, and it is much more focused on the newness of making a TV show. Don’t think of this as a factor to steer you away however, because anyone who is a fan of Alan Sugar on the television, will find a similar sense to him in his writing, even if that is not the thrust of the book. Just a public service notice to those of you who would otherwise be disappointed. Although I find that unlikely with a great (not so) little book as this.
A post with reference to The Apprentice would not be complete with out a link to this, one of the best videos on YouTube.