In this debut memoir, a native New Yorker recollects a life of entrepreneurial success and perseverance in the face of daunting adversity.
Coury came of age on the streets of Brooklyn in the 1960s, the descendant of grandparents who emigrated from the Middle East. Always attuned to the possibility of business opportunity, he started a rock band in 1970 and made considerable sums of money selling soda and beer (despite being underage himself) at his own concerts. The author was drafted in 1972 and chose to enlist in the Marines, and in the last six months of his service, he worked—as part of a job transition program—as a blackjack dealer at a minor casino. Coury was always looking for ways to advance, though, and he landed a coveted gig at the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip shortly thereafter. A restless entrepreneur, he bought his first bar in 1979 when he was only 27 years old, and by the age of 35, he’d either bought or founded seven other businesses. Coury’s account of commerce in Las Vegas focuses on its seedier side; he tells of confronting corrupt union reps who squeezed him for money, fraudulent regulatory commissions, and unscrupulous law enforcement officers. The culmination of the author’s tale comes in 1989, when, he says, a thieving waiter falsely accused him of torture. In this remembrance of his life and times, Coury provides an account that’s both dramatic and cinematic. The author’s story, as the title suggests, focuses on his indefatigable refusal to surrender, and readers won’t be able to help finding this to be an impressive virtue. The prose doesn’t offer many literary flourishes, but Coury does show himself to be a naturally gifted storyteller with a clear, informally charming style. Although the narrative largely focuses on his business exploits, he candidly discusses his childhood, his bout with esophageal cancer in the mid-2000s, and his happy marriage, as well.
An often captivating remembrance that’s brimming with intrigue.