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Another Life: A Memoir of Other People

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From world leaders to Mafia dons, from Hollywood stars to the literary world's most eccentric writers, the notable and notorious alike have entrusted their life's work to Simon & Schuster's preeminent editor, Michael Korda. In this masterful memoir, Korda reveals the unforgettable cast of characters and outrageous anecdotes behind four decades of blockbuster publishing, br ...more
Paperback, 546 pages
Published May 9th 2000 by Delta (first published April 27th 1999)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Champaign County Library summer reading prize
Shelves: hardback, owned, memoir
How could I have let this book sit on my shelf for 15 years before reading it. What a treasure!
Michael Korda left the family business (films - one of his uncles was married to Merle Oberon) and became first, an editor for Simon and Schuster and while doing that, eventually became a successful author but published by Random House.

This book tells many back stories (not all of them flattering) of authors such as Jacqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, Bob Woodward and others who came to fame in other ar
in another life, korda provides us with a precisely rendered account of publishing and authorship in the days before self-publishing and the extremes of marketing hype came to exert their formidable influences on the industry. having written bestsellers of his own (such as power!) and worked with simon and schuster as an editor for some of the most celebrated names in u.s. literature, korda was particularly well-positioned to write this memoir of other people. not only is it one of the better bo ...more
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Insider's view of the publishing world, mostly during the 70s and 80s. While not as good as Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (and really, what publishing book will ever be?), Korda depicts publishing in an era of change that seems more relevant.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lovely. This kind of life, full of art, literature, lush luxury and love of words is no longer possible in this Kindle-lit world. I glad that someone had the chance to live it.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Korda's had a wild ride in the publishing industry; excellent tales about mobsters, ghostwritten Ronald Reagan, and the insouciant Tennessee Williams. Who knows (cares) if it's all true?
Bobby D
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Michael Korda is a mesmerizing and prolific writer who at this writing is in his late 80s. His famous and outstanding first Memoir was published in 1979 (Charmed Lives). It became one of my all-time favorite books, depicting Korda’s family of Hungarian Jews (his Uncle Alex and Father Vincent) who were both filmmakers. Vincent an Art Director and Alex a Director and Producer (The Thin Man among his many films). Alex's second wife was the Hungarian actress Merle Oberon who became the subject of Mi ...more
Lou Britt
Michael Korda is a major editor in one of publishing’s big 5. In his memoir (rightly subtitled “A Memoir of Other People”), he details the ever-changing trends within the publishing industry and describes, in rich detail, the major players. .
Although a dense read (500+ pages and the text size does not help), if you want an insiders perspective on publishing, this does a pretty good job. I especially found interesting the depiction of the gatekeepers and curators of what is available on our shel
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best and funniest book about publishing I've read. Went back to the Korda for a second read after having read Robert Gottlieb's memoir Avid Reader. Enjoyed the Gottlieb book but loved the Korda, even on the second go-around. The stories come from another era, yet they stand up and are still completely relevant. Hard to hold back from reading some of the best stories out loud. If you work in publishing, don't miss Another Life.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m not often interested in lives of rich and famous Americans, so I skimmed quite a lot, but this turned out to be fairly engaging. The behaviour and personalities of many of the people he met, including movie stars (Joan Crawford e.g.), and presidents (Nixon, Reagan e.g.), plus so many more including many people I’d never heard of, exceeded anything a fiction writer could invent.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really entertaining, gossipy overview of the the publishing industries in the 1960s-1990s.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about book editing and publishing in the 1950s through the 1980s.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
Takes a while to read

3 1/2 stars. Really interesting read for anyone going into this business. God is it long and over characterized though
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Must-reading for anyone in the publishing and bookselling business, especially younger people who have no idea of what the business was like before most of the publishers became part of conglomerates and the chain stores and then the internet began dominating book sales. I work with people who have no clue that Doubleday, Bantam, Knopf, Delacorte/Dell and Crown used to be actual publishers on their own, and not just divisions or imprints of Random House, who don't know that William Morrow used t ...more
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was such a joy to read. Michael Korda was editor in chief at S&S, and experienced much of the company's history—he started there as a lowly reader, when Dick Simon and Max Schuster were still building their empire.

Korda was an integral part of S&S's history. He was editor to authors that are still widely read today, including Jacqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, and a number of mobsters and politicians (his recounting of a dinner party at the Nixon's is hilarious.) But he
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Author and Editor Michael Korda's memoir of his past forty years in the New York book publishing business is a fascinating read. I wouldn't call it a gossipy, but charmingly anecdotal, fascinating read about many of the intriguing people he has edited in his career: Jackie Susann, Nixon, Reagan, Tennessee Williams, Graham Greene, Will and Ariel Durrant, with one or two mob bosses thrown into the mix.

I liked getting the inside look at book publishing from the 1950's when Korda started work at Si
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yeah, okay, so I'm biased. This book came out right after I started working as a wee assistant at Simon & Schuster, one of the oldest standing publishing houses and one of New York's famed "Big Six" (though I guess it's technically "Big Five" now that Random House and Penguin have merged). Michael Korda was still an editor there, and our Editor in Chief ordered copies of the book for everyone in our department. It's a fond and early memory of my publishing career. But I also really enjoyed the b ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: k
If you're curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing industry, but don't want a textbook, I suggest this book. Textbooks don't offer the real life observations that this book does. Korda is a pretty detached person in terms of his career, but that's what makes this book such a well-rounded memoir. For the most part, Korda describes things very distantly from himself so the reader gets a better view of the publishing industry as a whole and the changes that occured within it. ...more
Noemi Proietti
In this amazing book, Michael Korda tells how he first started working in publishing and how he came to meet interesting and sometimes strange people and to work with personalities such as Joan Crawford, Graham Green, Tennessee Williams, and former US presidents, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. It is not a biography, but an insightful tale of book publishing in New York from the '60s to the '90s and how publishing changed from the '20s, when publishing houses belonged to their creators and thei ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Back in the 80s, I started my adult life at Simon & Schuster, most of my two plus years spent in the Publicity Department. Michael Korda was at that time a publishing god. All these years later, it was wonderful to read his fascinating account of his time there, throwing in the history of book publishing, at least in the 20th century and a cast of characters, from Jackie Susann to Richard Nixon to Harold Robbins to Tennessee Williams, not to mention the infamous Dick Snyder who was CEO during my ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was required to read this for school, but I'm really glad I was! I hope to be an editor one day and this book gave me a good idea of where the idustry has been and where it is in very accessible and personal way. However as an hopeful editor to be, it alternately terrified me as to my choices and reassured me that editing is what I'm meant to do. So if that's a reason you're reading this book, be forewarned.
Michelle Hinkson - Goins
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I loved it and it brought back so many wonderful memories working at Simon & Schuster in the early 80's in the Publicity dept. with the great Julia Knickerbocker. Michael Korda's stories of D. Snyder, J. Evans, A. Mayhew etc. are only the tip of the iceberg of what went on during that fast-paced, magical time in publishing. I loved every minute of this read. ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was published in 2000, and has been sitting on my shelves for many years. I'm glad I finally got to read this. Having worked for Borders, this was a fascinating look at the publishing business. I had no idea how involved editors are in the actual writing of a book. Their involvement in the final product, and their relationship with the authors they work with, is more intense than I had ever realized.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Michael Korda has an incredibly fascinating background. His voice is quite enjoyable in his memoir, and he interfaced with quite a cast of conventional characters at Simon & Schuster. I just read his plunge into not only editing, but his hand as a freelance writer and movie reviewer. Currently on part four looking for him to move on up that corporate ladder. ...more
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
I was interested in learning more about writing, editing and publishing so I read this memoir. I would compare it to a sausage factory expose - the end products are often incredible - but I wish I never knew how they were made.
Kate Buford
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Read this ages ago. Gave me the happy fantasy that editors can and will fix books (not that mine don't and haven't). Then suspected author may have been, just a little, pumping up his own ultimate ownership of his list.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it liked it
i was slowly making my way through this book, read a really funny page about the joys of editing other people's work, and then on the next page he said that by "editor" he means REAL editors, NOT COPYeditors, and i got so discouraged i had to put it down. haven't picked it up since!
Julianne Shapiro
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting read into the evolution of the book publishing industry by one of the most renowned editors. Michael Korda has a wonderful voice and obviously a fascinating life, but I would really only recommend if you want insight to how the business operates from a traditional print perspective.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boning up for the publishing venture you find so dubious. Korda, whose name should ring your cinephile bell, is the longtime editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster. The glamour, the dinners, the agents, Jackie Susann -- great tales of a business that no longer is.
Nov 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Good writer, interesting anecdotes...a bit long though, I just want to get to the current state of publishing
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Pretty interesting memoir from a guy who worked his way to the top of Simon & Schuster and rubbed shoulders with a lot of eccentric people along the way. ...more
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is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City. ...more

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  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
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“Writers are always outsiders and probably ought to be, since only outsiders see things clearly: the people who publish them, or make movies, or produce plays are always richer and more powerful, however successful the writer is.” 0 likes
“Almost the first thing I learned about being an editor was that it was hard work. To be sure, ditchdiggers and miners have it worse, but for sheer, numbing, endless (I do not, deliberately, say mindless) work, editing books is hard to beat.” 0 likes
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