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What Makes Sammy Run?

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,776 ratings  ·  189 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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Paperback, 314 pages
Published December 25th 2011 by Ishi Press (first published 1941)
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4.06  · 
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 ·  1,776 ratings  ·  189 reviews


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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
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Lewis Weinstein
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
I am about to eat serious crow. When "Sammy" was selected for my book club read, I wondered (aloud) why we should be reading an old book that could not possibly be relevant today. Oh how wrong I was!

Aside from being splendidly written, fast paced and absorbing ... the story, the quest, the always fragile success ... are totally relevant to life in America today.

Who do we know who, like Sammy Glick, is so completely absorbed in himself, who lies constantly and without remorse, and who destroys e
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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
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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
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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: los-angeles, movies
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.
Writer's Relief
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hollywood is a very different place today than it was in the 1930s. Back then, the studio system was in full force, stars were essentially slaves to their studios, and a few major movie moguls ran Hollywood. Budd Schulberg’s father, B.P. Schulberg, was the head of Paramount, so the author had a lot to draw from when he wrote his 1941 debut "What Makes Sammy Run?"

"What Makes Sammy Run?" is narrated by newspaper columnist-turned-screenwriter Al Manheim, who is working for a newspaper in New York w
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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
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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.
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
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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
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Viktor
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KINDLE EDITION: An incredible amount f trpos \
anf formatting errors.

Very good book. Awesome even. Maybe a bit long on the union politics -- ok, VERY long on the union politics -- but it pays off a bit later on.

Also included are the two original short stories that started Sammy running. Well worth the extra effort to read them -- not that they add to Sammy's "legacy", but rather to see the acorns that grew the mighty oak.
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
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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
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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
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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.
Laura
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Al Manaheim is one of my favorite characters in fiction. I was bound to like this book since it has many parallels to The Great Gatsby, although its subject, Sammy Glick, is romanticized much less than Jay Gatsby. In many ways I feel this is an essential modern tale that all other modern stories have sprung from, but that is probably hyperbole. I love this book though.
Blumenfeld
Jun 27, 2013 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.
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.
Richard Thompson
Sammy is a classic. Schulberg's characterization totally nails a personality type that all of us know. Sammy isn't unique to show business, but because show business rewards Sammy-type behavior more than most walks of life, we have a lot more of them in show business than most people see in regular everyday life. The only thing that Schulberg got wrong is that this personality type is not something that can only arise in places like the tenements of New York's old time Lower East Side. I have me ...more
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
John MacIntyre
This is a fantastic book and a must read for anybody who isn't aware of the sharks you'll meet in your career. Given the time period of 1941, you'd think this book would be more dated, but it's not.

Sammy Glick is a despicable person and you'll pick that up almost immediately, but I have to say, as repulsive as he is, Al Manheim's frenemy behaviors bothered me a lot as well. Don't get me wrong, he's not nearly as despicable as Sammy, but c'mon, finding out where Sammy grew up and investigating hi
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Stephen Lubin
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book got highly recommended from a newsletter I subscribe to by Ryan Holiday. On the surface, this is a good book but when you start reflecting on it I think it's an amazing book. The author does an amazing job personifying personality types. I know someone like each of the characters and I could feel each one of them as I read. Life is complicated and it's filled with many types of people and this book does a good job of displaying that.

I am very close friends with a Sammy Glick. Reading
...more
Daryn
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars. This is a tour de force character study of how a poor Jew from the lower East Side tenements of NYC becomes a Hollywood mogul in the 1930s. Glick's story is told indirectly, Great Gatsby-style, through the first person narration of his friend, Al Manheim, a drama critic turned screenwriter. Budd Schulberg was a Prince of Hollywood, son of a successful film producer. In college, he became briefly radicalized and joined the Communist Party. But he was pressured by all sides ...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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“Work hard, and if you can't work hard, be smart; and, if you can't be smart, be loud.” 6 likes
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