An absorbing, thoughtful, and joyful account of a business executive’s remarkable rise.




A high school dropout from a small town in Nebraska creates a successful, multimillion-dollar startup in this debut autobiography.

“As they say in Texas, he can’t eat you and he can’t take your birthday,” marketing executive Ellermeier reassured herself before facing the new boss who demoted her. Colleagues also affected by the company’s restructuring convinced her to start a new business with them, but in the early 2000s after the dot-com crash, lenders were nervous. So was the author, as she struggled in her new role as CEO of Lingualcare, traveling abroad, fundraising, training, demonstrating her product—innovative customized orthodontic braces—and fighting ghosts from her past. A go-getter from the day she hawked Christmas cards door to door in the 1970s to buy a record player, she nevertheless endured a rape, dropped out of high school, found herself briefly homeless, and overcame alcoholism. Starting her new company, Ellermeier recalls that she was very clever in thinking on her feet and turning around bad situations but she still lacked confidence. She bluffed and blustered her way through mostly male opposition, despite her fears of bankruptcy. This “will require a real CEO, at best you might be qualified to run marketing,” sneered a potential investor, sounding like the author’s hypercritical, overbearing mother. Ellermeier fought all of the negativity and managed to hold onto her goal: a product that improved people’s lives and the sale of her mature venture. Readers of this memoir who think that government should be run like a business will discover a startup is deeply political: Activities include hiring friends and family, conducting backroom deals with competitors, and schmoozing with sharks. Yet at a startup’s core, the author maintains, is hard work, a call to service, and integrity. Ellermeier convincingly recounts meetings and re-creates dialogue to show how exhausting and precarious entrepreneurship truly is. Unlike so many difficult childhood narratives, this work delicately entwines the author’s personal and professional experiences to demonstrate why she makes certain decisions later. Her humor (with chapter headings like “So That’s a No” and “Emergencies of the Prada Kind”) is tender and smart, and this book becomes a mini-mentorship for future entrepreneurs.

An absorbing, thoughtful, and joyful account of a business executive’s remarkable rise.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73231-180-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Mill Camp Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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