John H Johnson book cover

An autobiography of the man who created a publishing empire that told the story of Black America

As I was growing up, Ebony and Jet Magazines were a key part of my early memories. My grandparents always had the most recent issue on their ottoman and magazine rack. I have fond memories of looking through Ebony and seeing all the great pictures of black people living their best lives. Ebony magazine's pictures captured the many aspects of Black America in their wonderful photographs. Plus it was always a great source of pictures for school reports. I think everyone in Cleveland had stacks of Ebony magazines in their basement. So, I bring a deep desire to learn more about the man who created the empire behind the magazines. In “Succeeding Against the Odds” John H. Johnson recounts his life and the events behind the creation of Johnson Publishing and Johnson Beauty products.

I listened to the audiobook version that was narrated by John H Johnson himself. It was more like listening to a speech but it works. As I was listening I got the picture of myself listening to Mr. Johnson while I sat in an auditorium or church. Since the book is pretty short, it works. I never found myself getting bored. His tone and pace are very familiar to me. You can hear his commitment to excellence and his great appreciated for how far he has come in his life.

Listening or reading this book will be a source of inspiration. When you hear about the challenges John H Johnson overcame in his life in spite of the very open bigotry and hatred he faced. His life story helps me keep things in perspective and appreciate the greater options I have now compared to the options he had.

This book also provides some very insightful advice for people who are starting a business. While technology has changed the world of business dramatically but the fundamentals of business are still in place. John H. Johnson's life does provide a road map for persons seeking to start a media platform for an underserved audience.

I am really glad I read/listened to this book. John H Johnson's life is an important part of the history of Black People in America. This book is part of the wonderful quilt that makes up our history. Reading this book gave me a greater appreciation for Johnson Publishing and all of its properties.

Succeeding Against the Odds
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