A pharmacist-turned-financial-consultant shares personal and professional challenges, as well as key life lessons, in his debut memoir.
Born in 1942 in Hillside, New Jersey, Lazarus focused early on his ability to earn a living. He’d later tell clients that their own ability to do this is the biggest asset they own. In this memoir, he recounts his various business forays, and the many travails he experienced along the way. Early on, he worked as a child model, and pursued several different jobs as a teenager; he then attended pharmacy school in Boston, where he met first wife, Nancy. He initially pursued a career as a full-time pharmacist, but he soon expanded into other ventures, including his father-in-law’s remainder-book business and real estate development; he also earned an MBA. However, his wife’s depression, which arose after the birth of the first of their three children, cast shadows on their lives, as did his mother-in-law’s critical, controlling temperament. Nancy hoarded medications to assist in the suicide of her mother, who had chronic, yet manageable, lymphoma; later, she committed suicide herself. Lazarus soldiered on, married his second wife, Susan, and got his license to sell life and health insurance, which led to his current career as a financial consultant. However, his troubled son, Gregg, who was 16 when his mother died, later shot himself. Lazarus concludes his memoir with various stories of financial clients and a discussion of the lessons he’s learned, including the importance of relationships, estate planning and giving back to the community. Overall, the book provides some useful financial tips, and it’s infused with an inspirational, can-do spirit, as seen in a story about how the author convinced a bank lender to provide him with full financing for a real estate venture. Although the narrative does have some occasionally awkward shifts between tragic events and business dealings, Lazarus also touches on the value of counseling, and cautions that people can never fully understand the struggles of those who decide to take their own lives. In the end, the book offers valuable perspective, including the idea that “[y]ou must always look forward to a better day and be positive.”
A memoir full of practical, bracing advice, drawn from the author’s business savvy and personal tragedies.