NO TIME LOST by Walter with Peter Buckley Mack


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The un-stuffy, mildly engaging memoirs of businessman Mack, now 86--who specialized in ""reorganizing"" Depression-hit companies, built up Pepsi-Cola, and dabbled in politics (and much-gloated-over adultery) along the way. From an upper-middle-class Manhattan/Jewish background, Mack went to Harvard and Annapolis. But his heart was in business, with his father's negative example spurring him on: ""He didn't try, he didn't dare, and he didn't really know anything about life."" So Walter happily liquidated the staid family textile business in 1927, started an investment trust, and ""went on the prowl looking for companies to reorganize"" in the Thirties. Among the firms: Whelan Drugs, Allied Department Stores, and Loft, Inc.--which had a strong subsidiary making Pepsi-Cola. So sales-oriented Mack got hooked by the soft-drink biz, negotiated an end to the trademark-lawsuit harassment from Coke, and concentrated for the next decade on being president of Pepsi--with innovations in advertising and bottling. Meanwhile, there was Republican politics: the presidency of the Silk Stocking Club, campaigning for Hoover (""Not only did Hoover fall to pieces when the situation got out of hand, but he was irritating on a daily basis""); losing a state-senate election after refusing to pay off Dutch Schultz; gathering election-fraud evidence against gangsters--which was used by that publicity-mad, ""selfish little rascal"" Tom Dewey. (Mack's #1 public servant: Nelson Rockefeller.) And after leaving Pepsi in 1950--""I was stuck with the franchise system, and I knew it would just lead to frustration""--Mack continued to work in soft-drinks, recently starting up ""King Cola."" A few items of interest for students of Depression-era business and politics, a few far-from-likable personal revelations: a minor entry in the biz-autobiography field, distinguished primarily by Mack's breezy, energetic self-satisfaction.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum