Successful businessman Lewis details his remarkable life story in this charismatic debut memoir.
Rooted by a deeply religious, humble beginning in 1930s Lubbock, Texas, Lewis describes a childhood when home refrigeration required blocks of ice, when now-vaccinated diseases such as polio were a real threat, and World War II had tremendous effects. He learned a strong work ethic through the efforts of his parents, who encouraged a 9-year-old Lewis to get his first job selling ice cream from his bicycle. That ethic stayed with Lewis as he worked a series of often arduous jobs to help make ends meet at home. He details his schooling, which included public, boarding and correspondence schools, as well as a long break to work in Hollywood, where he met an astonishing array of radio and movie stars. Lewis’ college career followed a similarly circuitous pattern that included a four-year break to serve in the Air Force. To pay his way through school in Washington, D.C., Lewis worked as an elevator operator in the House of Representatives, allowing him access to politicians at the highest level, including five presidents. Eventually, Lewis began his career in earnest in the banking industry, specializing in international finance. His work took him across the globe, and he provides illuminating details about complex and sophisticated transactions. The book is filled with colorful, often fascinating stories, such as how Lewis and his parents drove across the Mojave Desert in a time when cars had no air conditioning and the roads still contained vestiges from the old wooden road used by much earlier travelers. In fact, almost every chapter includes such additional stories, but rather than being merely tangential, they unfailingly add depth and provide a clear sense of perspective to Lewis’ life and personality. His prose is conversational and artless, and he even manages to make intricate financial projects more understandable to average readers, although those with an MBA may occasionally have an edge. He discusses his personal relationships with candor, even when discussing tragedy and loss.
Appealing and intelligent, a noteworthy memoir that amiably captures one man’s experiences in an earlier American era.