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What Makes Sammy Run?

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,129 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
What Makes Sammy Run?

Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Random House (first published 1941)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,904)
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Richard Derus
Sep 13, 2014 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book Circle Reads 82

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symptoms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?

This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is
Aug 27, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hollywood heels, blacklisted writers, authors who get in brawls with John Wayne
You might think a book written in 1941 about Hollywood would be too dated to be of interesting to anyone but Hollywood historians. Wrong, baby, wrong! This modern classic is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated by Hollywood, or interested in character studies of incredibly compelling anti-heroes. In the 21st century, What Makes Sammy Run? is essentially a historical novel, but it's still a damn fine character-driven story, and let's face it, Hollywood is still crawling with Sammy Glicks.

Ben Loory
Jun 29, 2008 Ben Loory rated it did not like it
a book about an asshole, narrated by a dickhead.
Dec 17, 2010 Andy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hollywoodbabylon
Plans to film “What Makes Sammy Run?” have been bandied around for decades, but the movie has already been made more or less via another Budd Schulberg story, “A Face In The Crowd”, i.e. boy-meets-girl as casualties of an arrogant, greedy media climbing monster. Anyone who has enjoyed films like “The Player”, “The Bad And The Beautiful” or “Barton Fink” will have a great time reading this, and Schulberg never runs out of great dialogue.

Jon Boorstin
Feb 28, 2014 Jon Boorstin rated it really liked it
Shelves: movies, los-angeles
He knows whereof he speaks. It's remarkable that he had the perspective to write this book as a young man, having grown up at the center of power in Hollywood. A smart and empathetic assessment of the state of the business he was steeped in from birth. Movies aren't the center of the culture, as they were then, before television, much less the web. If the Sammy Glicks of the world are now hustling Apps, only the details have changed.

Richard Knight
Jan 20, 2014 Richard Knight rated it really liked it
A criticism not only of Hollywood moguls but also of ruthless ambition, What Makes Sammy Run? is a landmark work from the 40s that turned out to be hauntingly prescient. Sammy's stab you in the back to ahead mentality represents America, and this book makes for an interesting Hollywood story that is relatable in every aspect of modern day business. You may even have a Sammy Glick in your life, which is scary to say the very least.

The story centers on the aforementioned Glick, and it's told from
Thomas J. Hubschman
Oct 13, 2009 Thomas J. Hubschman rated it really liked it
Good stuff. Great perennial American character, like Gatsby.

A good example, though, of what Pritchett said about psychology being reduced to motivation in contemporary literature. The narrator is obsessed with finding out, well, what makes Sammy run--and run over so many people as he does so.

I admire Schulberg if for no other reason than his old-fashioned attitude that there is more to write about than one's own ethnic group. Waterfront (the novel) could have been written by an Irish-Catholic f
Andrei Alupului
Aug 15, 2008 Andrei Alupului rated it really liked it
"A grand book, utterly fearless and with a great deal of beauty side by side with the most bitter satire." Right on, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Feb 15, 2016 Col rated it really liked it
Shelves: s, 2015

Sammy Glick is a winner. Aggressive, ruthless, belligerently self-centred, “sprinting out of his mother’s womb, turning life into a race in which the only rules are fight for the rail and elbow on the turns.” Sammy storms his way out of the New York slums to reach the top of the Hollywood film world in the 1930s.

Sammy is a way of life, a way that was paying dividends in America’s Depression era and is paying dividends today. For the “Sammy-drive” is still to be found everywhere a
Apr 24, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
What Makes Sammy Run tells the story of Sammy Glick, a man with boundless ambition and no morals to stand in his way. It is told from the point of view of Al Manheim, who watches Sammy's meteoric rise with anger, jealousy and awe. It has come to be one of the classic "Hollywood Novels" portraying Hollywood at its worst and most truthful, and as someone who works and lives in Hollywood, a lot of what Schulberg was trying to convey still remains true to this day. The book got a lot of criticism fo ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
This is a great little book. And very indicative of the type of "me first" thinking that has come to infect and identify American culture as we have come to know it of late.

Sammy Glick is the fore-runner to all of the Wall Street bankers of today - the oil industry execs - all of the "contestants" on the reality shows who think that they deserve the prize more than anyone else (and they'll pay people to vote for them, bribe people, etc) - of the fashion industry wannabes who stab people in the
Dec 20, 2008 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2009 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Schulberg hits on something really archetypal here. He chronicles the rise of fictional film mogul who's part C. F. Kane and part Howard Hughes, from the perspective of a narrator who's part Salieri and part Nick Carraway. And it's pretty amazing, actually. On one level, it's a sharp dissection of a 40s insider Hollywood: a takedown of what was wrong with the studio system. But then it becomes more: a portrait of Jewish angst and hardship at the turn of the century. But really, it's an absorbing ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A portrait of a particularly American monster, the man on his ruthless way to the top of what he deems the ultimate success. Chilling and brilliant and, often, very funny.
Mar 20, 2016 Don rated it really liked it
I'll pause for a moment to give all of you a chance to say "Here we go again." ... Yes, the reason I read this book is because I love the score of the Broadway musical which came about from this book. I saw a revised version back in 2003 when Hofstra University included it as part of their conference on the history of the Broadway musical; that performance made me want to read the book, but I never got to it until now.

Essentially, this is a rags to riches story, a portrayal of Sammy Glick, a rut
I liked parts of this book, the parts that dealt more with the narrator protagonist Al Mannheim's life, particularly his growing involvement with labor issues in Hollywood and another writer, the very appealing labor activist Kit Sargent. Much less successful are the parts that deal with Sammy Glick, a character I found unconvincing and poorly illuminated. The edition I read included an introduction by Schulberg that discusses the charge by critics that the book is anti-Semitic. Schulberg crafte ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Mickaugrec rated it it was ok
[Note: I recognize Budd Schulberg as a talented screenwriter, but cannot ignore that he apparently testified in 1951 before the House Un-American Activities Committee of the U.S. Congress in that time period - specifically he 'named names' of reputed Communist Party members, Reds, communist / Marxist sympathizers, free-thinkers and their associates, blah blah blah. He had supposedly come of age at Dartmouth writing expose's of the plight of local quarry workers, so no-stranger-to-uncomfortable-p ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, film
I did not expect much when I started reading Budd Schulberg's best known novel, What Makes Sammy Run?. Years ago, I had met Schulberg at Dartmouth College (he is an alumnus); but I had never read any of his works. I did see On the Waterfront, however, with Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, and Lee J. Cobb. He wrote the script.

Years ago, I read F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, which was a far far cry from The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald knew a thing or two about th
Colin Heber-Percy
A masterpiece. For On the Waterfront alone, Schulberg deserves to be considered one of the great American writers of the C20th. But What Makes Sammy Run? confirms his position. A savage and witty attack on an entire political / social philosophy (or rather a non-philosophy), the book charts the rise and rise of Sammy Glick from the gutter of New York's East Side to Beverly Hills. The individualism, the greed: the heartlessness at the heart of the American dream.
Boris Cesnik
Apr 29, 2016 Boris Cesnik rated it really liked it
Dick Cavett: What is the best book written about Hollywood? Has there been any that told as it is?
Bette Davis: I think Budd Schulberg's...
Dick Cavett: What Makes Sammy Run?
Bette Davis: Yeah.
(from an interview on the Dick Cavett Show - 18 Nov 1973)

That's how I discovered the book. It was a pleasure to read it from start to finish. No frills just pure ecstatic dialogues. No need for pompous descriptions. Goold old time talking between characters does the trick here.
I would be lying if I said it'
Jul 12, 2013 Blumenfeld rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy, quite witty and fast book that sticks to the topic, thus a 'study' of Sammy Glick and to some degree--Hollywood scene of the late 30's/early 40's.
Feb 22, 2016 Eleanore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been meaning to read this one for years, since before I even ended up living and working in Hollywood (though, perhaps thankfully, not as a writer), and finally got around to it. What more can really be said about it, though? It's a classic for many reasons. It's not just a brutally honest examination of the sort of character who unabashedly looks out for themselves first, but also of how those of us less singularly determined simultaneously hate and begrudgingly admire him. It's also beautifull ...more
Nov 03, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
It's 1940s Hollywood and a young upstart Jewish kid from New York is determined to make it to the top.

But all that runs through the narrator's mind at this kid who ran copy for him back in New York is this: What Makes Sammy Run? What drives Sammy to be so ambitious to get to the top that he'll sell his own soul and relationships for a bigger position and salary?

Budd Schulberg's book is a masterpiece. So reflective was it of Hollywood at the time, that many of his family friends shunned him out o
Jun 07, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting read, as I've been aware of the book for ages (it was published in 1941, I think), and I may have seen the movie 'way,'way back when, probably on TV, but realized only recently that I'd never actually read it.

Almost from the beginning of the book, it reminded me of The Great Gatsby, a very different book, but also focusing on the trajectory of an obsessed American self-inventor, and narrated by a secondary but instrumental character in the plot.

Would be interested in reading
"The Great Gatsby" in Tinsel Town.

Here are some highlights from the novel:

-Schulberg capturing a few essential truths about the public's fascination with Hollywood in this brilliant description of the crowd outside a film premiere:

"The theater entrance was full of excitement that came mostly from women who were attracted to the leading man, and men resentful or regretful that they would never go to bed with anybody like the star, and unimportant people who idealized their envy into admiration
Dec 29, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing
What a read. Budd Schulberg wrote the screenplay for A Face in the Crowd, which you may not have seen but absolutely should and for On the Waterfront, which I have to imagine you have seen and if not, shame shame.

This pace of the prose moves every bit as fast as the hellbent for success Sammy Glick does from page one to an ending that I forgave for being slightly more preachy than poetic. Schulberg could not have made what the Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction instructional book refers to
Nov 21, 2011 Gaston marked it as to-read
Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?

This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation that only a y
Kane Faucher
Jul 25, 2011 Kane Faucher rated it really liked it
A quintessential case study of pathological narcissism. The obsession of the protagonist, Al Manheim, with the exuberant, merciless ambition of Sammy Glick(Stein) is an attempt to draw an etiological set of reasons and conditions for what makes people like Sammy possible. It should be noted that this variety of aggrandized secondary narcissism and an inability to form proper object relations was, at the time of the book's writing (1941), becoming a systemic feature of corporate culture and the r ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it
If Schulberg had written a sequel, it would have been the story of Citizen Kane, or that's how I think of this book and the character Sammy. Then again, when reading about the author's father, BP Schulberg and his short-lived partnership with Mayer (of MGM), you'd think that Mayer inspired the character of Sammy.. but of course, Sammy is a composite character.

If you're a film buff, you'll probably relish this book even more. There was one section where Schulberg compared the story's scenes to mo
Nov 29, 2011 Peter rated it it was amazing
Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? is a devastating portrait of ambition and success, set against the glimmering backdrop of 1930s Hollywood. Sammy Glick is a screenwriter and then producer who has no artistic talent whatsoever, and yet becomes a great success due to both his own relentless, remorseless drive and the town's warped values. Though he has no artistic talent, he wantonly steals from and exploits those who do, and turns their creative work into his own personal success through hi ...more
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Budd Schulberg (1914–2009) was a screenwriter, novelist, and journalist who is best remembered for the classic novels What Makes Sammy Run?, The Harder They Fall, and the story On the Waterfront, which he adapted as a novel, play, and an Academy Award–winning film script. Born in New York City, Schulberg grew up in Hollywood, where his father, B. P. Schulberg, was head of production at Paramount, ...more
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“They looked at each other until they weren't acquaintances any longer.” 4 likes
“I suppose it's too bad people can't be a little more consistent. But if they were, maybe they would stop being people.” 3 likes
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