For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker

Les Gold, Author
Les Gold. Penguin/Portfolio, $25.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59184-639-0
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-2745-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4829-7234-4
Ebook - 978-1-101-62155-4
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-59184-695-6
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Viewers of Gold's truTV show "Hardcore Pawn" may not be prepared for the Les Gold they meet in the pages of his book, where, all puns aside, he appears to have a "heart of gold". The 62-year-old pawnbroker and reality TV-star sounds like someone yanked from the Vaudeville stage when he compares a salesperson to a performer and describes his experiences as a young man learning to "outperform fear". Gold's book is a mixture of pawnshop anecdotes about the weird stuff his clientele has pawned—a Bentley, a monkey, Abraham Lincoln's hair—and his secrets to success. While the pawnshop stories are the most engaging, Gold's stories about personal success are also interesting. An entrepreneur at heart, Gold, as a hungry 12-year-old Hebrew School student, bought pizzas and sold them by the slice to his hungry classmates. When "Hardcore Pawn" started, Gold's personal goal was three million viewers (unheard of on truTV) and he achieved it. His "higher purpose" in pawn broking, he says, is "helping people", and he wants pawnshops to be respected—which may be a less realistic goal. Fans who watch Gold's TV show for its sleaze factor will be disappointed by this book—it's alternately interesting and charming, and even sweet. (June)
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