Reflections of a Successful Dropout by Val Barry

Reflections of a Successful Dropout

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A real estate mogul’s good-natured memoir and guide to salesmanship.

In this book, Barry demonstrates the role that the golden rule played throughout his long, successful career. He draws a rich portrait of his childhood, during which his family moved to Missouri, Washington state and California; his parents were pursuing economic stability—and seeking to escape the social castigation caused by his father’s alcoholism. Despite his father’s binges and his mother’s emotional distance, Barry avoided serious trouble in his youth, although his school years were marked by subpar performance. Early fatherhood and marriage forced him to grow up quickly, and he resolved to do better than his parents did. Armed with a keen grasp of human nature, a finely honed set of sales skills and immense determination, Barry made the most of the opportunities that came his way. He began a real estate career in 1960 that, over the next five decades, would make him a multimillionaire. It also provided him with a keen sense of purpose, which helped him get through a handful of personal tragedies and setbacks. Although this book is nominally a memoir, the bulk of its central section focuses on successful and unsuccessful real estate deals brokered over the course of Barry’s career. His enthusiasm, genial humility and intelligent analysis keep the readability high, and he ably explains complex transactions and analyzes the character of past investment partners. Only near the end of this section does the narrative momentum flag, and Barry, seeming to understand this, switches back to more personal material. Refreshingly, the author’s honesty, a key factor in his business success, extends to his writing; he doesn’t shy away from negative aspects of his personality or his feelings about specific people, which reinforces his credibility.

Barry’s upbeat attitude and clear prose make this memoir a pleasant, enjoyable read.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0985563530
Page count: 560pp
Publisher: Joey Winters
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013