A grandson applies the lessons of his grandfather to the world of business—and life in general.
Demetriou’s nonfiction debut starts out by focusing on his grandfather Haralambos Georgiou Pistis—known as Charlie—an immigrant to America from a small village in Cyprus. Charlie came through Ellis Island, as thousands of others did. He died a very old man when the author was in his 30s, and he imparted many life lessons about humility, faith, courage, independence, responsibility, duty, decency, compassion, goodness, and pride that Demetriou not only treasured and remembered, but also later applied to a long career in business. The book’s first section—an exuberantly affectionate stretch that could easily have been three times as long—is a biography of Charlie, complete with smile-inducing old photos of a handsome young man very obviously intent on seizing whatever opportunities the New World had to offer. This section flows immediately into the 15 core principles Demetriou distilled from all of his grandfather's advice. Although these principles will likely offer nothing new to readers of business-advice books—take big risks, remain humble, go the extra mile, never be afraid to chase your dreams, etc.—the transition from period biography to motivational rhetoric is handled smoothly. The author expands outward from echoing his grandfather to quoting the more or less standard array of inspirational heroes in this kind of literature, from Albert Einstein to Jeff Bezos. As with most motivational writing, Demetriou’s own personal desire to help his readers believe in themselves can sometimes lead him to make statements that are obviously wishful thinking (as when he tells them that “the lazy and uninspired will never inherit the earth, nor even the slightest speck of it” while a glance at any day’s news headlines will show them otherwise). But the overall tone of buoyant optimism—“You are invited to change the world”—should carry most of those readers along and make them wish they’d had the chance to meet Charlie.
A highly readable motivational book derived from the wisdom of one humble man.