Book Review: Corporate Cowboy

Corporate Cowboy

Book Synopsis:

Restaurant Management: First Hand Lessons from the King of Steak Houses
Black Angus Beef Chain Founder shares business tips, food recipes and personal memoir

Stuart Anderson had led a fascinating life for the past 90 years. He built Black Angus, America’s #1 restaurant chain of the 1980s, and ranched on a 26,000 acre spread where he raised cattle. His circle of friends has included Hollywood stars and corporate bigwigs. You’ll discover his personal history is a lot like the man – larger than life!

Anyone seeking to go into the restaurant business or moving into a food industry management position will benefit from the lessons offered in this book as Stuart Anderson shares both his success and failures. Told with wit, simple cowboy logic and clever business savvy, there are numerous vignettes included in this memoir to include tales from World War II, Business Startups, Management Feuds, Love Affairs, Community Service and semi-Retirements.

Aside from the personal story and professional information, readers – especially those who ever ate at a Black Angus restaurant in the past – most notably in the 1980s – will enjoy such recipes like the BLACK ANGUS POTATOES AU GRATIN, ORIGINAL BLACK ANGUS RANCH BREAD, BREAKFAST STIR FRY and BAKED STEAK WITH MUSTARD SAUCE just to name a few.

My Thoughts:

As a co-owner of a small company I really enjoyed reading about the entrepreneurial success of Stuart Anderson. This is one of those whimsical, easy to read memoirs that makes you smile. Anderson makes you feel like you are right in the room with him through every step of the way. Their is a candidness in his words. When he talks about the local liquor inspector he mentions mumbling, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

Or the way he talks about the patrons that lined up at his bar waiting to be seated for dinner. “Say there’s a couple sitting in the bar looking straight ahead, rarely speaking, and when they do, they’re certainly not looking at each other. They want to be called to dinner NOW. Couple Number One consists of two spouses married to the wrong people. ” He goes on to talk about “Couple Number Two, who can’t get enough of each other. They don’t look at anything or anyone else and could not care less about when they’re called. You would love to move them down the list and move Couple Number One up.” The problem is you have to follow the order of the list. You can’t just move people up and down because some of them seem more uncomfortable sitting across from one another.

I love the way he speaks to the human nature of the patrons and employees of his restaurants. As you read his words you can picture the uncomfortable couple seated across from one another experiencing a blind date or the unhappy married couple who are going through the paces of going out to dinner even though they seem absolutely miserable in doing so.

There is an honesty and rawness in this memoir that I truly enjoyed. Despite his success Anderson certainly doesn’t come off as pretentious. He seems like the kind of guy you’ve known for years who is sitting around the card table stories. It’s an easy read with a lot of entrepreneurial advice particularly for those interested in creating a food service related company.

As a bonus the book includes a couple recipes in the back that sound utterly delicious. I have my eyes set on making Breakfast Biscuit Brulee.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Corporate Cowboy”

  1. Sounds like a good choice for my winter break reading list.
    He sounds like quite a character and someone to add to my list of unique folks I would love to sit and have a beer with sometime.

  2. I’m actually a little conflicted, the book sounds really interesting but I’ve been pretty reliant on amazon for staples that I’m too tired to get out and about so it’s a tossup which I’d want more 🙂


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