No More Mr. Nice Guy
by James E. Alston
4 out of 5 Stars
In No More Mr. Nice Guy, James Alston holds absolutely nothing back in this chilling tale of self-sacrifice to a company whose executives either participated in or enabled racial misconduct and sexual harassment towards its employees and customers. A true company man, Alston always looked out for the the company’s well-being, even if it meant holding the company legally accountable for 27 years of abuse by the company’s “good old boys” network.
When are “a son of a sharecropper”, you are a sharecropper. That is a family-level event. From that early childhood experience, Alston’s desire to rise above adversity by proving his ability to perform regardless of his color was instilled in him by his elders. Alston says, “I was never a stranger to hard work, and I worked hard to achieve results.” Alston carried that mindset with him through various low-paying odd jobs and brought that to Handly’s Food Corporation. (This is a fictitious name used to satisfy the terms of his lawsuit.)
No More Mr. Nice Guy gives the reader a historical account of James Alston’s experience with Handly’s Food Corporation. After making his way into Handly’s upper management, Alston never ceased to work hard and surpass the company’s performance goals. In addition to the praise and recognition, Alston also got his fair share of discrimination. From being the brunt of racial jokes to suffering the mental anguish that comes with given tasks with unrealistic expectations, No More Mr. Nice Guy unveils the male dominated racism present in multi-million dollar corporations scattered across the U.S.
This is the story of metal-on-metal struggle. Handly’s Food Corporation’s “good old boy” network systematically profited from Alston undying work ethic while constantly putting him in precarious situations in terms of job performance and job security. Alston consistently met each attempt at his derailment with the company’s core values: meeting the problem head on, make moves with the company’s profit in mind and retain the best human assets. While most of his superiors placed him in certain conditions with the intention of causing his failure, Alston shook his feelings of inadequacy by bringing his company profits and his customers and employees the best possible experience.
Not only does Alston fight the racism he faces, he also brings discrimination and sexual harassment issues experienced by employees and customers to the highest ranking executives in Handly’s Food Corporation. Each time, Alston’s requests for investigations were pushed to the side while misconduct was given little attention. This company culture not only affected his mental and physical well-being, Alston’s financial prowess was also hindered. His buying powers was artificially limited by phony performance reviews, low raises and the shifting of his most profitable stores and store managers to peers who were simply unscrupulous moves used to hold him back. He was making $15,000 to $20,000 less per year than his peers.
Alston’s situation is akin to a marriage gone bad. Alston was fully committed to Handly’s Food Corporation. He faced the challenges of this relationship with dignity and hard work only to find out the executives only wanted what they could get from him with no intentions being respectable. Eventually, Alston begins to itemize his contributions to the company. He looks at his contributions in respect to what Handly’s Food Corporation offered him during the course of a stellar 27 year career of profits and customer satisfaction.
Alston begin to realize the utter disregard that the executives of Handly’s Food Corporation had for him. This brings forth the decades of anger, mental anguish, depression, embarrassment and other negative feelings and emotions. Instead of apologizing and making the situation right, Handly’s Food Corporation offers to sweep it under the rug and give him a little money for his troubles. The legal manuverings of Handly’s Food Corporation and James Alston’s pit bull determination clash for a final time. But are there any true victors?
Drawbacks: Although I understand that the book cover reflects that Alston was not looked at as a real person and therefore a commodity, the book cover’s illustration should have been better drawn/sketched. There were run-on sentences and misuse of punctuation marks that should have been picked up by the editor. There were a paragraph where 3 or 4 sentences didn’t begin with a capital letter.
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9 thoughts on “Book Review: No More Mr. Nice Guy by James Alston”
Great interview, Joey!
I see that this book is based on Mr. Alton’s life–a true story. It’s definitely one I’ll put on my list to buy and read.
Thankfully, book covers can be changed and books can be re-edited for future print runs.
Teresa is absolutely right. I have paid two editors and reviewed my work several or more times, and now that I am reading the reprint (revisions) and still finding punctation, minor errors, and wrong words used (good should be food in a sentence). I am a little irrate since I paid two editors, resubmitting costs, but all is not lost. I have you on my team now! And will reprint under my own publishing company in the future for quality work that publishers and some editors overlook to get paid or just say they are editors!
Otherwise, this sounds like a must read. He can always get another cover design or find a graphic designer, cheap is not always best!
Hello Joey! Job well-done on your editorial of James Alston. And to everyone, it is a must have book. Not just because I know him personally, but because he chose to stand up for the rest of us who have experienced the same ridicule and racial discrimination in Corporate America.
Great review, Joey! I’ve read this book and it is everything that you stated. Mr. Alston’s experiences should be required reading in every business school in America. He provides a guideline for success in spite of what many would consider insurmountable adversity. Mr. Alston persevered when most of us would have thrown in the towel.
This book contains great information for those, like myself, who provide corporate diversity training or who work in the human resource arena. Also, anyone who is considering taking action against their employer because of discriminatory practices should definitely read this book to prepare for the battle.
Kudos to Mr. Alston for an outstanding read and to you, Joey, for an insightful and thorough review.
Thank you everyone for your comments. This is such a powerful book, as witnessed by the readers who have commented.
Mr. Alston is a â€œvictorâ€ (not a victim). In the face of despicable disregard for decency, Alston not only survived the trauma — he conquered the â€œnaturalâ€ impulse to retreat into an abyss of despondency and despair. He shares not only his experience of â€œtrials and tribulationsâ€ perpetrated by corporate bigots and contributors to institutionalized racism. Alstonâ€™s proactive resistance to a norm that is contrary and destructive to society as a whole is monumental. Alston is an advocate for humanity whose wisdom is empowering. Cheers, Mr. Alston!
What Alston has described is, unfortunately, what many ‘minority’ Americans face at the workplace daily. His voice deems powerful, compelling, inspiring, and encouraging. This subject is swept under the rug and ignored by many, even those that it most directly affects. Shedding light on this type of injustice is vital. Racial discrimination, covert and overt, is alive and well. This book is an important piece that seems to pinpoint aspects of racism that continue to plague the work-places of this nation and prevent hard-working Americans from achieving the level of success that they work for and rightfully deserve. Alston is a spokesperson for civil rights in the 21st century. God bless your work.
Excellent interview…Mr. Alston’s book is about something that many of us are aware of and actually live through but don’t know how to overcome. A book I would definitely read…
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