Only in America is a Horatio Alger story. William Ungar, a holocaust survivor, who arrived penniless in America at age 33, parlayed a job on the factory assembly floor into a business which became one of Fortune’s 500 largest privately held firms. Today the National Envelope Company is pre-eminent in its industry and employs over 3500 people in 17 plants.
William Ungar, at the age of 92, reports to work three times a week. The methods Ungar used to found, nurture, and expand his company through boom and recession in a famously competitive arena constitute a superlative case study in management, finance, and imaginative entrepreneurship.
One of the highlights of this compelling story is that, in an age of business corruption, Ungar runs his business based on the ethical teachings of his traditional upbringing.
Praise for Only in America –
William Ungar’s story is really many stories. At one level, it’s a textbook that all students of business should read on how to create economic value in competitive, commodity businesses. At another level, it’s about how creative entrepreneurs spot opportunities and make the most of them. And, at the most fundamental level, it’s about how the human spirit manages to survive in the face of tragedy. You will be richer in many ways for having read the book.
David Scharfstein, Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking, Harvard Business School
Few people can speak with the authority of Bill Ungar about the workings of business and, more important, the business of life. Bill is a man who has seen the worst the world can offer and yet continues to offer the world the best of himself. By doing so, he has become the head of both a successful business and a wonderful family (I know this firsthand as his wife, Jerry, is a graduate of the college). In Only in America Bill tells a compelling story about how to succeed in business by treating everyone (even competitors) fairly and with dignity. This is required reading for students heading into business and for anyone who enjoys a good story.
James L. Muyskens, President, Queens College of the City University of New York
William Ungar’s life is an inspiration to everyone in the envelope manufacturing industry. From Holocaust survivor to building the largest privately owned envelope manufacturing company in North America, vision, belief in yourself and co-workers and a family that supports you is a formula for success.
Maynard H. Benjamin, CAE, President and CEO, Envelope Manufacturers Association
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