USE WHAT YOU’VE GOT by Barbara Corcoran


and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom
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A New York City real-estate bigwig ebulliently describes the creation and life of her business, pegging her account to anecdotally rich advice acquired at her mother's knee.

In the fierce, insular NYC property market, it takes a tough and smart customer to survive, let alone get ahead, and Corcoran is just such a creature. She grew up not poor, but mighty cramped, with nine siblings and one bathroom on their single floor in a three-family house in Edgewater, New Jersey. Corcoran explains that she quickly learned to have a sense of humor and a nimble pair of feet, while her mother doled out the homespun wisdom. All of this might simply be cute, except that Barbara Ann actually applied Mom’s horse sense to the running of her business; she draws parallels between the situations in which her mother offered the advice and those in which she made use of them at work. None of Mom’s counsel will sweep you off your feet: perception can create reality; maximize the positive and minimize the negative; be honest and fair; don't be afraid to bully the bully; organize yourself (“socks are always in the sock drawer”); “offer the bigger piece, and yours will taste even better.” What makes Corcoran different is the way she deploys them every day in a business better known for secrecy and backstabbing. No shrinking violet, though mercifully free of bluster, she has some dishy stories about her days in the market, especially regarding Donald Trump, “the King of the Least for the Most.” But readers will likely be more enamored of those flashbacks to her youth and the ways in which the Corcoran family made vibrant what could easily have ground them down. Mom takes the cake here, but you have to toast Barbara Ann for applying her dictums.

The business she’s in is almost beside the point: Corcoran could be selling plumbing supplies, and the story would still fly.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 2003
ISBN: 1-59184-002-3
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Portfolio
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2003


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