Cyrus Bull Tells How to Become a Billionaire: Money, Love and Revenge Stirred with a Barbed Spoon.
2021 Pine Lake Road, suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512
ISBN: 0595305458 $22.95 http://www.iuniverse.com
Mea culpa, when I initially flipped through Richard Crissman's latest book, Cyrus Bull Tells How To Become A Billionaire: Money, Love and Revenge Stirred With A Barbed Spoon, I cheated a little. I immediately turned to the appendix, wherein the author's principal protagonist, Cyrus Bull, enumerates the seven principles of how he became a Billionaire.
I asked myself what is so unique about these revelations that for the most part have been repeated "ad nauseum" in the media? In fact, if the novel were a work of non-fiction rather than fiction, I probably would have been bored out of my mind! However, fortunately, such was not the case, as Crissman has delivered to his readers a cleverly crafted work of financial fiction, wherein the seven principles are intertwined with the life of Cyrus Bull and his friends, as they indulge in the passionate pursuit of wealth.
The novel begins when our protagonist Cyrus Bull agrees to be interviewed by a young reporter, Chad Howell, who turns out to be the son of a former lady friend of Bull, with whom he had shared many an intimate moment. Cunning and devious, Bull is not keen on divulging too much to this young reporter, however, over a period of days he formulates a set of seven principles that were instrumental in his becoming extremely wealthy.
These principles follow Bull's life from the time he was married to his first wife Enid until he remarries his true love, Cindy. No doubt, the first marriage was one of convenience in order to secure capital, which incidentally is Bull's first principle-"get capital."
After succeeding in securing the initial seed capital, our protagonist reveals how patience is a virtue, when he divulges that big profits take time to realize. This is clearly demonstrated when, after three attempts, he is able to orchestrate a takeover of a Philadelphia bank. However, along the way he does meet up with a female employee of the bank, Ramona, whom he believed he had manipulated in order to realize his objectives. It turns out that he was the one who was manipulated, which confirms the belief of many that people have a tendency to use one another to attain their goals.
Unfortunately, underlying Bull's obsession with the pursuit of wealth, and one that is not brushed off by the author, is his loneliness and isolation. As he admits to one of his lady friends, "I have never found people very interesting, not nearly as interesting as making money. So I'd never taken time on people, had avoided entanglements with them. I missed being part of something, but feared it too."
Other rules expounded upon and interwoven with a series of Bull's escapades are control of money is almost as good as having it, don't lend your name, learn from opportunity, and obsession is a loser's game.
Crissman gets top marks for sweetly serving to the reader all these pearls of wisdom in a fashion that advises as well as entertains. Perhaps, he was aware, when writing the novel, of the Roman poet Horace, who coined the term "utile dulce," or sweet instruction, when he was describing the deeper purpose of comic drama?
Norm Goldman, Reviewer
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|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2004|
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