SHAMELESS EXPLOITATION IN PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD by Paul Newman

SHAMELESS EXPLOITATION IN PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD

The Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple

KIRKUS REVIEW

Actor Newman and writer Hotchner (The Day I Fired Alan Ladd, 2002, etc.) recount their joint adventure delivering Newman’s Own salad dressing to the American public, “a triumph of irresponsibility over reason.”

The star was as proud of his all-natural dressing as he was repelled by the bottled offerings at the supermarket, so with Hotchner he put together “a lark, an open-end adventure” with $40,000 as their investment ceiling. They demanded fresh garlic and onions in the dressing and refused to use any of the chemicals that commercial manufacturers insisted were essential to give their product the one-year shelf life supermarkets demanded. Luckily for them, research chemists at a sympathetic bottler discovered that one of their high-quality ingredients released a natural preservative. They eschewed business plans, using their friends as their test markets; at one point, Martha Stewart, then a local caterer in Connecticut, arranged one of the tastings. In brisk, ain’t-it-somethin’ style, Newman and Hotchner describe the loopy media events, the songs they sang at promotions, the industry-bucking labeling, and, of course, the industry-humiliating act of giving all after-tax profit to charity. The launch had a few rocky moments, but, kept afloat by a vision, armed with principles, happy to laugh, they soon found themselves food tycoons in need of charities. They write happily of the result that remains closest to their hearts: the rapid rise of their Hole in the Wall camp for children who, “because of their diseases or because of their complications or because of their treatment, couldn't go to an ordinary camp.” That first camp in Connecticut has spawned a number of like venues across the world. Subsequent Newman’s Own products include spaghetti sauce and popcorn, an organic line crafted by Paul’s daughter Nell, and wife Joanne Woodward’s lemonade (guaranteed to restore your virginity).

Charming reminiscences by a couple of merry pranksters who hit upon a happy accident in the chemistry lab that allowed them to remain true to their values.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-50802-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Talese/Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2003




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