Alfred A. Taubman, a man who owned shopping malls, Sotheby’s auction house, countless homes and immense self-confidence, died last spring at 91. He lived many lives, mostly glittering, emerging from relative poverty in Michigan and beating dyslexia and a stutter. Taubman was a business giant and a convicted criminal who served time in prison late in life for collusion in his art world business. He was also a renowned philanthropist. His vast art collection is now being auction at a price of $500 million.
In 2007, after prison Taubman wrote a memoir sharing tips on how to be a success in business, Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer. Below is a sampling of the kind of wisdom it contains.
- To succeed, you have to look beyond immediate barriers and see opportunities.
- The idea of retailing is to get people inside the store.
- I learned that a lack of capital was no barrier to entry if you had a good idea.
- I learned that my strengths were far more important than my shortcomings.
- The better your idea, the more some people will want you to fail. Believe in yourself, and you’re on your way.
- God help us if we ever take the theater out of the auction business or anything else. It would be an awfully boring world.
- No one goes to buy candy necessarily, they buy those things because it’s there, because they can smell it, they can touch it.
- Every day, we encounter psychological, physical, cultural, social, and economic barriers. In order to accomplish anything, people have to find a way to get beyond the limitations.
- Where others saw challenges, my teachers saw potential. I think that’s why I so respect the teaching profession and have made education a major focus of my philanthropy.
- I think men and women who go it alone in business are different. Because of that, they’re also very insecure, which is not always a bad thing.