By Ruby Peru
My name is Ruby Peru and I’d like to introduce Business Cards and Shoe Leather, the memoir of Larry Vaughn, a dyslexic businessman who succeeded in building multi-million-dollar businesses without learning how to read until he was fifty-five. As his co-writer, I helped Larry select the parts of his life that most effectively told the story of his struggles and successes and how he dealt with the terrible secret of his dyslexia, for decades.
This story is highly relatable for anyone who grew up in the fifties and sixties. Back then, kids with learning disorders and differences received little or no help and had to develop their own coping mechanisms. Like many such kids, Larry invented unique ways to hide his dyslexia. He became a storyteller, a jokester, the life of the party—always with some entertaining tale to tell to distract people whenever they expected him to read.
Finding his calling as a salesman, Larry used his gift of gab to build a career in the print industry. As a Texan, Larry used his soft-spoken, southern charm to easily manipulate audiences and succeed in sales, always focusing on personal interaction rather than the written word. Early in life, Larry learned to hire assistants to handle all his proofreading and written correspondence. Becoming an expert at delegating such jobs actually gave Larry an advantage over others in the same industry who tried to do it all themselves. Delegating and stressing one-on-one interactions were two of the biggest keys to Larry’s eventual, overwhelming business success.
As his co-writer, I interviewed Larry about the various methods he used to succeed in business, step by step. Through an intense interview process, Larry brought me inside what it’s like to have to hide the fact that you can’t read, every day, in every business meeting, and at every professional conference. Business Cards and Shoe Leather reveals Larry’s amazing success story as well as the stress he endured in the effort to keep the terrible secrets of his illiteracy and his background as an “uneducated country hick.”
The stories in the book are, of course, Larry’s, but as his co-writer, I helped craft them so that suspense builds while his business endeavors rise and fall. I guided Larry in telling his story so that, over time, readers see him not only succeed in business but grow as a person. As the book progresses, he gradually confronts his shortcomings, finds the strength to seek help, and finally stops being ashamed of his dyslexia.
As part of the book-writing process, I did a good deal of research on dyslexia, which Larry himself had never done. Together, we learned that dyslexia has so many advantages, in terms of the unique brain wiring it represents, that experts now consider it a “learning difference” as opposed to a “learning disorder.” We also learned that there are an inordinate number of highly successful dyslexic businessmen and women, because the dyslexic brain is naturally good at things like risk assessment, big-picture thinking, and creative problem solving.
Writing this memoir has been a life-long dream for Larry Vaughn, who struggled mightily to graduate high school and never did manage to make it through college. For decades, he was intimidated by the highly educated business professionals with whom he interacted every day. But now, with the publication of Business Cards and Shoe Leather, Larry is proud to tell the world all about his background and how he is truly a self-made man. He no longer feels shame but pride in the obstacles he has overcome to become the man he is today.
For me, as a co-writer, this is the best outcome I could ever hope for from a client. The pride Larry has in his memoir and the personal growth this publication represents has made my job a true pleasure. Larry and I have both grown through the work we did on this fascinating book, so here’s to Larry’s continued literary endeavors! For more information on my co-writing and ghostwriting work, please see www.professionalmemoirs.com. And for more information about Larry Vaughn, who can be hired as a motivational speaker, please see www.larryvaughn.com.