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What Makes Sammy Run?

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,489 Ratings  ·  165 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.
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Mass Market Paperback, 247 pages
Published 1957 by Bantam Giant (first published 1941)
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Richard Derus
Feb 17, 2013 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
...more
David
Dec 23, 2014 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.

The
...more
Ben Loory
Jun 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
a book about an asshole, narrated by a dickhead.
Richard Knight
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Max
Feb 11, 2009 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
Jon Boorstin
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Andy
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Andrei Alupului
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Thomas J. Hubschman
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
...more
Nick
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tight, succinct writing. Schulberg is a master storyteller who doesn't waste a word. He knows how to stick to a theme. This moral cautionary tale about a Hollywood writer consumed by his ambition should be a textbook for good writing.
BlackOxford
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
I know this guy.
Marc Gerstein
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Imagine novels can talk and The Great Gatsby says: “All right, no more Mr. Nice Guy.” The result could be What Makes Sammy Run.

Narrator Al Manheim, a run-of-the-mill drama critic for a New Your newspaper introduces us to Sammy Glick, a teenage copy boy who wants to rise. Al swats him aside briskly, no surprise given Sammy’s irritating personality and the absence of any apparent talent. Bad move. really bad move.

Since when did a outsized ego and lack of talent stand in the way of success! Actual
...more
Nicholas
Aug 19, 2008 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.
Col
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: s, 2015
Synopsis/blurb….

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
...more
Jessica
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
Michelle
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mark
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kingshuk Mukherjee
Having followed Ryan Holiday's work over the years, this book was mentioned quite favorably many times. I can't believe it took me this long to get around to reading it. I devoured the book in one sitting.

It's a fantastic story and an incredibly insightful peek into the ambitious mind. I found myself thinking that the tactics Glick used can be applied without screwing people over while still getting ahead. I also found myself being reminded of Robert Greene's 48 Laws, for this book illustrated
...more
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.
Corey
Feb 07, 2015 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.
Blumenfeld
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
David
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bette Davis recommended this (indirectly, of course) - I saw her on YouTube being interviewed by Dick Cavett. At one point he asked which book did she think best summed up Hollywood; she didn't hesitate: "What Makes Sammy Run?"

I've known of the book for years and have seen some of Schulberg's film work. But Bette's reminder was enough for me to get around to a read.

The story has a narrator (a drama critic) - it's through his eyes that we Sammy rise (like a rocket) from over-eager newspaper cop
...more
Howard Eisman
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bud Schulberg can be counted on to tell a good story. I guess that’s why he was a successful screenwriter. His books are also cinematic. Things more along at a brisk pace with snappy dialogue and many changes of settings. He doesn’t burden the reader with dense, overly processed or pretentious prose. His main characters have a history and a personality, while secondary characters are barely sketched in. Thus, What Makes Sammy Run is efficiently written and entertaining. Sammy is the “All America ...more
Caio Bogoni
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Um dos melhores livros que li na vida, facilmente. Chamou a atenção quando Bette Davis comentou sobre ele num programa do Johnny Carson, dizendo que é o melhor livro sobre Hollywood. Gostando de cinema, tinha colocado ele na mira, mas demorei um tempo pra comprar e mais ainda pra ler.

Meu arrependimento é não ter lido antes. É uma história interessantíssima sobre a Era de Ouro de Hollywood. Nomes famosos não aparecem tanto, mas essa não é a idéia do livro, ainda que alguns apareçam aqui e ali. Aq
...more
Varun Padmanaban
This is a classic novel written by Budd Schulberg in 1941 but it still resonates not only with the Hollywood moguls of our time but with anyone really chasing the American dream. So often we see the cut-throat nature of American politics and business where we believe that every man is for himself. Look no further than corporate takeovers and political upheavals that litter our news feeds. Even in our own medical field I often feel this sense of fighting to the top, trying to be the best and this ...more
Jonathan
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, movies
You know, it's strange. I kept thinking I was going to give up on it, but then there would be a scene that was just riveting. Telling the story of a conscienceless creep crawling over bodies to get to the top of 1940s Hollywood, by way of his only lifelong "friend". It was still a pretty interesting description of the time, place and people. Kit, the woman screen writer, was by far the most interesting character. She had some amazingly insightful quotes.

In the end, I enjoyed it. Sammy was a jer
...more
Craig Owens
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first read this book, I always pictured Sammy as looking like Harvey Weinstein. Nowadays...whatever distinction I may have had is blurred, and I'm still waiting for this Old Hollywood novel to be adapted for the screen.
Solomon
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book by an author's fears of great ambition and fighting like a dog are now the virtuous mainstream catechism of the business world. Budd paints a fun picture of the vicious nature of emotions and movie biz, and the insatiable cruelty of characters to their own persons.
JC
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-firsttime, kindle
Was really disappointed in this book. Didn't think it flowed really well and couldn't get into the story at all.
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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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