|About the Book|
As a young boy growing up in the Midwest during the Great Depression, Robert Elmen contributed to his family’s meager income by growing tomatoes in a community garden and carting them in his wagon to a local grocery store and a hospital kitchen. AsMoreAs a young boy growing up in the Midwest during the Great Depression, Robert Elmen contributed to his family’s meager income by growing tomatoes in a community garden and carting them in his wagon to a local grocery store and a hospital kitchen. As the only supplier in town who replaced spoiled tomatoes on a daily basis, he quickly gained a reputation as a reliable and enterprising young businessman.In Fifteen Fortunes, this feisty octogenarian looks back over a long and productive career in the equipment rental business, and conveys his own brand of wisdom in narratives on a variety of topics - such as risk, luck, hard work, and wealth. He also describes how the hardscrabble work ethic of his Scandinavian ancestors, along with the financial insecurity of his childhood, motivated him to become an entrepreneur. In letters he wrote to his wife Rita more than sixty years ago, Elmen not only professes his love for her, but also invites her to be part of the entrepreneurial vision he would later realize. And, in a much more recent letter to his grandchildren, he shares some of the fundamentals of investing that a favorite uncle taught him long ago.A number of activities outside the realm of business have inspired Elmens successful philosophy. His time as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War served as an entrepreneurial training ground - giving him the chance to test an early equipment rental business model that would later be adapted and replicated in multiple locations throughout the Midwest. And, offering “proof positive” that pursuits outside of business can inspire innovative thinking, Elmen credits the boy scouting experiences of his youth and his life-long passion for the outdoors for nurturing the adventurous spirit that helped him succeed as an entrepreneur.Fifteen Fortunes highlights the advantages of setting up an employee stock ownership plan, and the importance of having an adaptable business exit strategy in place – both of which were helpful when the Elmen family business was sold to a publicly traded company. The book also explains how a small family foundation can be a useful estate-planning tool that provides an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on your local or regional community.Regardless of whether the topic of discussion is business or fly-fishing, Robert Elmen’s approach to life is passionate, principled, and inventive. In his writing debut at 85 years of age, he pens a book as enlightening as it is entertaining!