Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: A Simple Girl - Stories My Grandmother Told Me

I've collected biographies of successful businesswomen, female diplomats, and other fascinating women all my life. They fill a bookcase six feet wide and seven feet tall. So, when I heard Josh Flagg, young star of BravoTV's Million Dollar Listing had written a biography of his grandmother, Edith Flagg, who arrived in the US with just $5 in her pocket after WWII and quickly rose to being one of California's top fashion designers, I immediately ordered a copy from Josh's site.

It arrived in the mail today and is already even better than I expected. The stories are all written as Josh heard them, in his grandmother's voice, so you feel like she's sitting beside you. And her stories are wonderful. Fashion school in Vienna; fighting with Dutch underground against the Nazis; her initial take on American fashions (secretaries dressed shockingly like hookers to Edith's European eye); and the birth of her fabulously successful business in Los Angeles.

Most biographies are frustratingly sparse on photos, but this one is packed, including a picture of the dress that sold a million copies. (How many of us have sold a million units of anything?)

Josh has two co-stars on the real estate reality show that's made him famous. One has just come out with a real estate book to further his business, the other spends all his time "building my brand." Josh, instead, has published a book in which he is only a very minor character. And he's giving 100% of the net profits to charity. In fact, he hopes to raise more for charity by allowing online buyers to pick how much they'd like to pay for their copy, anywhere from $20 to $1000.

In this week of thankfulness, and at a time when I'm finalizing plans our year-end promotions, etc., it's good to be brought down to earth a bit. Really it's all about following our passions and a life well lived. I have the feeling Josh, no matter what he ends up doing, will be more successful in life than those other two fellows.

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