AN ENTERPRISING LIFE by Jay Van Andel

AN ENTERPRISING LIFE

An Autobiography
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An earnest entrepreneur tells, more or less, how he became a billionaire and, except for governmental and media misunderstandings, how wonderful it’s been. Van Andel is co-founder, with pal Rich DeVos, of Amway, distributors of household products, services, and more to the proletariat. Now a plutocrat in his eighth decade, he recalls Rich and Jay’s Excellent Adventure fondly, attributing their phenomenal success to self-reliance and divine beneficence. (His federal tax return now runs some 1,200 pages, an undeniable accomplishment.) It all began when, after some false starts, the lads found and adopted a nostrum called Nutrilite, sold door to door. That led directly to the establishment of the now- mighty Amway, with a claimed distributorship of some three million motivated entrepreneurs worldwide. Taxes are anathema to our hero, yet he seemed shocked to discover that some “had started Amway businesses not as a legitimate moneymaking enterprise, but as a tax shelter.” And it’s not a pyramid scheme as the feds once claimed. Pyramid scams soon collapse under their own weight. Amway has lasted. It really has merchandise to sell. Other differences with various authorities have long since been settled. The judgment, it appears, is innocent by reason of integrity. Now, as the founders age, Amway is being carefully placed in the hands of the next sanctimonious generation. Meanwhile, Van Andel worked for strictly conservative causes and has funded an eponymous museum and a medical research institute (though he’s no fan of current medicine; Nutrilite is good enough for him, thank you). The text is echt Horatio Alger, liberally seasoned with sincere Sunday school Calvinism, as authored by the Sage of Ada, Mich. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-88730-997-6
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998




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