Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good: The Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 4, 2003 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
“There are three rules for running a business; fortunately, we don’t know any of them.”

In 1978, Paul Newman and A. E. Hotchner decided that rather than just distribute Paul’s own salad dressing at Christmas to neighbors, they would offer it to a few local stores. Freewheeling, irreverent entrepreneurs, they conceived of their venture as a great way to poke fun at the mundane method of traditional marketing. Much to their surprise, the dressing was enthusiastically received. What had started as a lark quickly escalated into a full-fledged business, the first company to place all-natural foods in supermarkets. From salad dressing to spaghetti sauce, to popcorn and lemonade, Newman’s Own became a major player in the food business. The company’s profits were originally donated to medical research, education, and the environment, and eventually went to the creation of the eight Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with serious illnesses. In these pages Newman and Hotchner recount the picaresque saga of their own nonmanagement adventure. In alternating voices, playing off one another in classic “Odd Couple” style, they describe how they systematically disregarded the advice of experts and relied instead on instinct, imagination, and mostly luck. They write about how they hurdled obstacle after obstacle, share their hilarious misadventures, and reveal their offbeat solutions to conventional problems. Even their approach to charity is decidedly different: every year they give away all the company’s profits, empty the coffers, and start over again. The results of this amazing generosity are brought to life in heartwarming stories about the children at their camps. With rare glimpses into their zany style and their compassion for those less fortunate, Newman and Hotchner have written the perfect nonmanagement book, at once playful, informative, and inspirational.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - branjohb - LibraryThing

The book started out strong when it told the story about inventing and marketing the salad dressing. The story was a nice mix of fact and humor. As the book continued it ran out of gas about midway ... Read full review

SHAMELESS EXPLOITATION IN PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD: The Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple

User Review  - Kirkus

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 ... Read full review


Title Page
Shameless Exploitation
From the Campers

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About the author (2003)

PAUL NEWMAN (known as ol’ PL to both friends and enemies.)
The L stands for “Leonard” or “Lunkhead.” He answers to both. He is probably best known for his spectacularly successful food conglomerate. In addition to giving the profits to charity, he also ran Frank Sinatra out of the spaghetti sauce business. On the downside, the spaghetti sauce is out-grossing his films. He did graduate from Kenyon College magna cum lager and in the process begat a laundry business which was the only student-run enterprise on Main Street. Yale University later awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for unknown reasons. He has won four Sports Car Club of America National Championships and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver (70) to win a professionally sanctioned race (24 Hours of Daytona, 1995). He is married to the best actress on the planet, was number 19 on Nixon’s enemy list, and purely by accident has 51 films and four Broadway plays. He is generally considered by professionals to be the worst fisherman on the East Coast.

fully intended to be a career lawyer but after two stultifying years practicing with a St. Louis law firm, he escaped into the wild blue yonder of the Air Force, vowing never to look at another Corpus Juris Secundum. After the war, Hotch became a literary bounty hunter, and in the process met Ernest Hemingway, with whom he buddied around for fourteen years, an adventurous period that Hotch chronicled in Papa Hemingway, which was published in 34 countries in 28 different languages. In between selling salad dressing, Hotch has written fifteen books, a dozen plays and musicals, and scores of television dramas. In 1999, Washington University conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Letters to go along with his doctor of law degree, but he is proudest of the fact that he was crowned marbles champion of St. Louis when he was in the sixth grade.

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