Another one of my business friends who has written an inspiring and well worth reading book is Mr. Ed Lewis, the co-founder of Essence Magazine. I recently ran into Ed last weekend at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where both he and I were signing copies of our new book. I signed and gave Ed Lewis a copy of mine, and he did the same. I tucked it away in my backpack, and out of emense respect for him and all that he has done, I pulled it out this weekend to read. And boy was I inspired!
In short, Ed Lewis is not only talking about the building of a great magazine for Black women, he is talking about, in his words, "Black Capitalism and Black Entrepreneurship," and what in 1968 (the year that both Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated), many thought was the real, new battleground for the civil rights movement — economics and ownership. Of course, I agree completely.
Pick up a copy of Mr. Lewis' book, maybe even out of respect for what he has built. But then you should read it — because it could actually change your life, and impact significantly what you believe you can create, in and for your own life, and for our world.
Below is a little background on the book itself, and you can purchase your own copy of The Man From Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, here.
Essence magazine is the most popular, well respected, and largest circulated black women’s magazine in history. Largely unknown is the remarkable story of what it took to earn that distinction.
The Man from Essence depicts with candor and insight how Edward Lewis, CEO and publisher of Essence, started a magazine with three black men who would transform the lives of millions of black American women and alter the American marketplace. Throughout Essence’s colorful and storied history, Ed Lewis remained the cool and constant presence, a quiet-talking corporate captain and business strategist who prevailed against the odds and the naysayers. He would emerge to become the last man standing—the only partner to survive the battles that raged before the magazine was sold to Time, Inc. in the largest buyout of a black-owned publication by the world’s largest publishing company.
By the time Lewis did the deal with Time, a little magazine that limped from the starting gate in 1970 with a national circulation of 50,000 had grown into a powerhouse with a circulation of more than a million and a pass along readership of eight million.
The story of Essence is ultimately the story of American business, black style. From constant battles with a racist advertising community to hostile takeover attempts, warring partners packing heat, mass firings, and mass defections—all of which revealed inherent challenges in running a black business—the saga is as riveting as any thriller steeped in high drama, hijinks, and juicy dishing.
In this engaging business memoir, Ed Lewis tells the inspiring story of how his own rise from humble South Bronx beginnings to media titan was shaped by the black women and men in his life. This in turn helped shape a magazine that has changed the face of American media.
Once again, one will not find a great deal of travel between this great book, on building a great magazine for Black women in America, to my own now book How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. The Solution for the 100%.
We can do this, one community building block at a time! It's about building, and rebuilding a culture. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us.