"I was terrified to look up, I knew they were all standing there watching, and waiting, so I concentrated on what I’d come there to do, a thing I did best, and cooked Chinese food like a wild man."

A business owner known as the “Chinese Guy,” who ironically isn’t Chinese, recalls thirty years of running a popular and successful Szechuan take-out concession stand. Working in tandem with the “wholesome, chaotic fun, with live music in the background” at concerts and other events, Alan recalls how he “built a successful small business from nothing more than just an idea.” Over the years, Alan sells “over sixteen tons of noodles, fourteen tons of rice and thousands and thousands of egg rolls,” all the while trying to discover himself. With the long-time support of Glenda, Alan charts the rise and success of his business and the myriad factors that make it happen. Though grateful, he is optimistically cautious and thus imparts lessons and mistakes learned, contemplating the pros and cons of success.

Part memoir, part self-help book, Alan reflects upon choices made in life. Culled from his experiences, he gives first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of a business that is both gainful and profitable. It’s an unadulterated and practical reference offering tools of the trade with cooking foods, thinking positively, and dedicating yourself to the achievement of a prosperous business career. One feature making this book accessible is the table of contents summarizing each chapter clearly and succinctly. The reader is free to skip around or simply to read from start to finish. Another interesting touch is the appendix, a list of “Movies to Grow By” that Alan invites us to watch “to shape our lives and our ideas.” There are no other details, which leaves the reader to take from it what they will. Although the effectiveness of the work would be enhanced by some additional editing, Alan’s narrative is still a fun, engaging read for anyone. Readers will discover a little more about themselves and what it means to be successful.

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