Gopher-preneur book of the month, Jan '06
Genuine Authentic : The Real Life of Ralph Lauren
by Michael Gross
Ralph Lauren embodied a certain kind of American dream from early childhood, a kid who didn't just want to be rich, but to be of the rich. He didn't have a penny, but fantasized about expensive cars, lush vacation spots and preppy girls in loafers. This book discusses Lauren's life story chronologically, and with a resolute pace: the icon's tale of ambition and meteoric rise unfolds smoothly as the awkward Jewish boy grows into the personification of grim determination. This book offers a rich portrait not just of Lauren, but of the Bronx in the early and mid-20th century, the type of class clash that transcends time or place and the effects of ambition on a teenager who hates his name and burns with desire whenever a Rolls-Royce cruises by. There are passages that will delight the celebrity-obsessed, but the full story is much richer. This is a portrait of a man who's constructed a flawless image, but whose real self is far more fascinating and deeply human.
If you have ever thought about how can I build my company brand to an iconic level please consider reading this book. We could all learn something from the man who created the Polo clothing brand.