Sir Alan Sugar

siralansugar_the_biographyPersonality: Power of persuasion, knowing the market, first business trip to Japan at the age of 21.

You cannot make someone into an entrepreneur, just like you can’t make someone a pop singer or an artist. It has to be in-built in you; it’s a kind of a nose for things, a smell for things, and then an instinct to do it and a focus (11). Sugar’s own slice of the reality television cake was about polishing, rather than making, businesspeople.

In less than a year, Sugar had gone through three different jobs, while his father had been in the same workplace for a decade and a half. Sugar started as a salesman. He is not only able to shrug off past setbacks, but is also well versed at turning negatives into positives, at seeing how seemingly bad things in his past were actually wonderful things that set him on his way in life.

In 1968 Alan Sugar formed A.M.S. Trading Company as a limited company. Exactly four years later, he would change the name of the company to A.M.S. Trading (Amstrad). He simply took his initials and welded them to the first syllable of “trading” (34).

Sugar had an immense clarity in his ideas and in what he was trying to achieve (44).

Amstrad bought in 1986 the rights to sell and manufacture all Sinclaire computers. The press wrote: “The man who knew what the technology could do has lost to the man who knew what the customer wanted (54).”

The media attention was growing bigger but Sugar never entered business for public acclaim or out of any need for acceptance, so he may have taken all this praise with a pinch of salt (56).

Around 1982 Amstrad decided to build its own IBM-compatible model. The company was growing and formed subsidiaries in many nations including Australia, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, USA and West Germany.

When Rupert Murdoch knocked on Amstrads door to see if they were interested in making the satellite dishes that would receive all new channels, Sugar jumped into action.

In 1991 Sugar teamed up with Terry Venables to bid to buy Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Sugar got the deal but in 1993 the partnerhsip with Terry  went sour and Sugar sacked him. Fans were furious and Sugar said: “ firing Venables, he felt as if he had murdered Bambi.” Sugar brought Klinsmann on board.  Later in 2000 he sold his stake to the ENIC group because fans continued to turn on him.

In 2000 Alan Sugar was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. He describes this moment as one of the proudest of his life.

In 2005 the TV series The Apprentice started on BBC2. Sir Alan Sugar was many times before in front of a camera on so he was confident that he could do it. It wasn’t for the money, because he donates his appearance fee to charity. He did it to open a window into the business world. The show was and is still very successful as to this date the seventh season starts.

In 2007 BSkyB bought Amstrad for 125 million pounds. Sugar stepped down from Amstrad  in 2008.

All in all the book was more or less a rough biography on all his doings but nothing in detail. It is easy to read and you get a good overview about the person Alan Sugar. However a little bit more detail would have made the book more interesting to me. I think the autobiography “What you see is what you get” from Alan Sugar himself is much more fun to read.



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