TENACITY Book Reviews

What reviewers are saying about Ron Coury’s new book.

“In this debut memoir, a native New Yorker recollects a life of entrepreneurial success and perseverance in the face of daunting adversity.

Coury came of age on the streets of Brooklyn in the 1960s, the descendant of grandparents who emigrated from the Middle East. Always attuned to the possibility of business opportunity, he started a rock band in 1970 and made considerable sums of money selling soda and beer (despite being underage himself) at his own concerts. The author was drafted in 1972 and chose to enlist in the Marines, and in the last six months of his service, he worked—as part of a job transition program—as a blackjack dealer at a minor casino. Coury was always looking for ways to advance, though, and he landed a coveted gig at the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip shortly thereafter. A restless entrepreneur, he bought his first bar in 1979 when he was only 27 years old, and by the age of 35, he’d either bought or founded seven other businesses. Coury’s account of commerce in Las Vegas focuses on its seedier side; he tells of confronting corrupt union reps who squeezed him for money, fraudulent regulatory commissions, and unscrupulous law enforcement officers. The culmination of the author’s tale comes in 1989, when, he says, a thieving waiter falsely accused him of torture. In this remembrance of his life and times, Coury provides an account that’s both dramatic and cinematic. The author’s story, as the title suggests, focuses on his indefatigable refusal to surrender, and readers won’t be able to help finding this to be an impressive virtue. The prose doesn’t offer many literary flourishes, but Coury does show himself to be a naturally gifted storyteller with a clear, informally charming style. Although the narrative largely focuses on his business exploits, he candidly discusses his childhood, his bout with esophageal cancer in the mid-2000s, and his happy marriage, as well.

An often captivating remembrance that’s brimming with intrigue.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS

Ron Coury is. . . “a brilliant Las Vegas entrepreneur and visionary, and Tenacity is one of the quintessential ‘Only in Vegas’ stories. We need a nation of Ron Courys.”

Wayne Allyn RootReview-Journal Columnist and Nationally Known Political Commentator

From Corruption to Cancer with Doses of Courage

“Las Vegas business entrepreneur, Ron Coury, dishes out doses of courage throughout his nearly tell-all personal handbook, ‘Tenacity.’ His mentions of the vanquished Mob might make you, like many Sin City townies, wish for their continued presence in the city. However, rather than engage in bloody retribution, Coury takes the high and extremely long and bumpy road to overcome an even more insidious bunch of gangsters: the Las Vegas Good Ole Boys Club and an incestuous bureaucracy.

Having been a Las Vegas resident for a decade shy of the author’s 45 years, I can attest to his claims of how popular and well-run his establishments were. Unfortunately, I can also unequivocally support his narrative of coercion and corruption from the lowest to the highest levels based on personal experience.

‘Tenacity’ doesn’t present itself as an instrument of revenge and justification. Rather, the author seems eager to give credit where credit is due. He regales the reader with interesting insights into how Vegas was run and developed over time, leading to the commercially explosive 80s and 90s. In keeping with an unspoken Vegas tradition, Coury doesn’t call out the guilty by actual name nor pinpoint their base of activity, even as he details their perfidy. He obviously delights in the making of sound business deals, some of which were sealed with nothing more than a handshake.

It’s a tossup as to whether leaders are born or made. From the streets of Brooklyn to the Marines, then on to urban mobsters, Coury’s experiences lead one to believe there are those who are molded out of nothing more than hands-on experience and true grit. It comes as no surprise that when faced with almost certain death from esophageal cancer, this true-life survivor meets his fiercest antagonist head-on with courage, determination and, of course, tenacity.

Overall, ‘Tenacity’ could stand as a guidebook about life and how to live it that should be kept by the bedside or armchair.”

Christine McKellarVegas Only Entertainment

“An insider’s look into the bar and gaming industries, Ron Coury’s memoir ‘Tenacity’ charts his challenging path to making a fortune in Las Vegas and shines light on how Sin City operates behind the scenes.

Coury, a Brooklyn kid who survived the mean streets of his upbringing and the rigors of the Marines to make it big out West, delivers a memoir that doubles as a business book. It focuses on the nitty-gritty of the Las Vegas metro bar industry and assorted other ventures, including a limousine service, a graphics shop, a decoupage art gallery and a glass supply company. Showing how to apply a fighting spirit and the Marine Corps principle that “failure is not an option” to the business world, this book shows how a serial entrepreneur persevered through shakedowns, embezzlement and backroom wheeling and dealing to achieve his dreams.

Set against a neon-lit backdrop of gambling and boozing, this candid account shows exactly how bars in Las Vegas differ from bars anywhere else in the world, exposing a seedy underbelly of political corruption and lax morality. Vegas and the neighboring suburb of Opportunity are portrayed as rough-and-tumble desert towns. More than one anecdote ends with people “not realizing how close they came to death.”

The book’s language serves its subject matter and is both dishy and conversational. Coury’s relentless motivation to succeed propels his story forward, elevating him to lofty heights, including a partnership with tennis great Andre Agassi. Here, success is seen to require a pugnacious spirit and the willingness to overcome anything that stands in your way. Reflection takes a backseat to the book’s action, and most of the lessons imparted are reserved for the brief epilogue.

‘Tenacity’ is a business-minded memoir about triumphing over adversity and seizing opportunities for success.”

Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Ron’s autobiographical memoir is a stunning read – not only because of all the adversity he has overcome in his life, but because of the light he shines of the coming of age of Las Vegas we know today. It is a shockingly detailed account of the corruption, the gambling industry, the starts and stops of the entrepreneur’s life, crime, coping with cancer and yet how one strong and willful man overcame adversity to become a major success and come out on top.

Inspiring, illuminating, and searingly written, this is a book for someone who has faced tough odds and both lived to tell about it and provides a rather solid hero. ”

Grady HarpSan Francisco Review of Books

“As an insight into the shadiness of Las Vegas, a town that’s always been known for operating a little on the fringes of fairness, Ron Coury’s memoir TENACITY flits between compelling and shocking, with plenty of that titular ‘never-say-die’ mentality. All in, it provides a solid glance ‘through the looking glass’.”

James HendicottIndieReader

“Whether it was his Brooklyn childhood, a stint in the Marines or, more significantly, his decades as a Las Vegas business entrepreneur, Ron Coury fought and won many uphill battles, thus inspiring the title of this engaging memoir.

Coury traces his sometimes-­stubborn pursuit of justice to age 16, when he helped fight off three punks who were beating up a neighbor boy. “This seemingly minor fight helped mold me into a defender of right…someone who understood the challenge of going against the odds…” he writes.

Coury followed that precept throughout his life: while a Marine, the founder of a Vegas empire of more than 20 businesses, and, later, when facing felony charges over a former employee’s false claims (he eventually cleared his name). Coury also successfully challenged corrupt government officials in a Nevada town where he wanted to build a casino. His biggest fight, however, came in 2005, when he fought esophageal cancer, and won. Now, in his mid-­60s, Coury devotes time to charities, a startup business and playing poker.

Coury is a wonderful storyteller. His writing is detailed and colorful, with touches of humor. For example, he tells of a practical joke he and his friends played on a buddy while on a cruise. When the joke was revealed, “We were all there, laughing so hard that, well, with all the water around, it’s likely some spillage occurred.” Another time, a man thrown out of Coury’s bar, retaliated by vandalizing his car. In “a scene straight out of The Godfather,” Coury asked two friends to buy “the biggest fish they have” at the local fish market, gift wrap it and drop it at the man’s front door. The next day, the man nervously repented to Coury, as if Coury were, in fact, a mob boss.

Such stories keep readers entertained throughout. Anyone interested in Las Vegas in 1970s and ’80s will enjoy it, as will anyone looking to be inspired by an American success story.”

“When everything you’ve worked for is in peril and your personal freedom is at stake, you can do one of two things. You can sit by, hoping that the system works as it should, the truth will be revealed, and justice will be served. Or you can fight for what’s right. As you’ll see within these pages, the latter is the road I chose.” So begins the memoir of a man called Ron Coury, former US Marine, businessman and one-time accused criminal who fought for justice when no one else would.

Coury’s memoir tracks the progression of his life from the son of second-generation immigrants in Brooklyn to successful Las Vegas entrepreneur who was accused of a felony by angry ex-employees. In between are stories about his family, friends, his time as a Marine and all of the advice that he could pack in to one book.

I found this book fascinating and engaging. By the end of it I felt as though it had changed my state of mind in a lot of ways that I had not been expecting. Ron Coury has a lot of interesting things to say about life in general and there is an unexpected depth to this book that leaves you with a positive and ambitious outlook when you’re done reading it. The pacing of this book was pitch perfect. Coury has a way of hooking the reader with anecdotes that slowly unravel over the course of the book in a way that keeps you from being able to put it down. I wanted to know more right from page one. I would read more by this author for sure and I hope he decides to write more about his fascinating life and ideas. I highly recommend it with 5 stars!”

Teddy RoseTeddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

“Corruption. Bribery. Elected officials seeking to enrich themselves rather than serve the public—facing the one man with the guts, determination and steel will to stand up to them and see justice done. And every word of it is true. This is “Tenacity,” the real life story of Ron Coury, a man of principle and indomitable spirit who took on the powers pulling the levers of gambling, transportation and industry in Las Vegas . . . and won. “Tenacity” is like a blockbuster movie that will anger, thrill and ultimately inspire with the powerful message that even when the fix is in, the good guys sometimes come out on top.”

Bob BurrisFilm/TV Producer

“Ron Coury is an entrepreneurial savant. Finding a need and filling it comes to him as naturally as breathing. In his inspiring memoir ‘Tenacity,’ Coury chronicles his roller coaster rise from grandson of Middle Eastern immigrants to mega-successful Las Vegas businessman. But none of it was easy. Along the way, Coury was forced to fight bullies, corruption, the Mob, City Hall (literally) and even the ‘Big C,’ all in service of his Marine Corps credo, “Failure is not an option.”

Whether you’re a young entrepreneur embarking on your first venture or a seasoned business veteran, a Las Vegas aficionado seeking a glimpse behind the curtain from a longtime insider’s perspective or someone looking for a motivational blueprint on how to beat the longest of life’s odds, ‘Tenacity’ is the book for you.”

Brian RouffAuthor of “Dice Angel,’ “Money Shot” and “The House Always Wins”

“Ron Coury’s life has not been a straight line. There were numerous twists and turns. The one common thread has been his honesty, courage, and determination to succeed. This well-written book describes Ron’s several careers, the obstacles others attempted to throw in his path, and how he overcame those obstacles. It is well worth reading.”

F. Robert SteinOf Counsel,
Pryor Cashman LLP

“Ron Coury’s tale of life in Las Vegas shows how he navigated the ins and outs of America’s last great boom town to build his business and life. It takes a special person to spend one’s life confronted with ethical lapses and criminal activities standing in your way yet still maintain the highest level of ethics and standards. From his upbringing in Brooklyn to the Marine Corps to his career in Las Vegas, Ron Coury weaves an epic story that will glue you to your seat and keep the pages turning.”

John McClainDog & Pony Show Studios

“Well I can’t say this book didn’t pull me in right from the start. It was a fantastic opening that left me wanting more right away. Ron Coury is a Brooklyn native and a former US Marine who has worn many different hats in his lifetime. But perhaps the most surprising role that he’s played is the role of someone accused of a crime.

In 1990, Coury battled the false accusations of a former employee and while this is not the main focus of the memoir, it was the part that I found most compelling. Especially since Coury starts out the book by placing the reader right next to him in the court room as his charges are read out and he pleads ‘not guilty.’ I don’t think I’m spoiling it to reveal that he did eventually clear his name of all charges. But, it was after reading that opening I immediately knew that this book was going to be a roller coaster ride and I was not wrong in the least.

From descriptions of his grueling days in boot camp, to his fight against corruption in the Nevada government, to his time as a successful business man, this memoir takes quite a few twists and turns and has both funny and shocking moments (on the funny side, I loved the anecdote about his father chasing his childhood bullies down the street. Hilarious!)

Coury’s writing is solid and his narrative has a way of revealing just enough detail without bogging down the reader in specifics. I was captivated by this memoir and when it ended I didn’t feel like I’d had enough. Five stars to Ron Coury for this one! Heartily recommend this to anyone who loves a good story. I guarantee you won’t regret it!”

Laura LeeBound 4 Escape

“‘Tenacity’! Some people are just not born to settle down. Some people are never satisfied, always seeking more, pushing farther and climbing higher. ‘Tenacity’ by Ron Coury is about one of those people. ‘Tenacity’ is a memoir about Coury’s life and all of the trials and triumphs that he has faced in his time.

Born in Brooklyn to second generation immigrant parents, Coury knew from a young age that he wanted to be a business man. His first job was shining shoes at the subway station for a dime. From those meager beginnings, Coury quickly realized that he enjoyed making money and doing it through hard work. The story of ‘Tenacity’ is in Ron Coury’s hard work, clever machinations, determination and, of course, tenacity in the face of adversity.

I greatly enjoyed this book and Coury’s perspective on life in general. Apart from funny anecdotes about his no-nonsense parents and occasionally less-than-reputable friends, ‘Tenacity’ was filled with a lot of genuinely good life advice. This book is surprisingly aspirational and almost functioned like a self-help book for me in some ways. I also learned quite a bit about the world of casino-ownership which is something that I never had any reason to think about before but I ended up finding very interesting.

Coury tells the entire story of his life in a stylistic, ‘Wonder Years’ sort of way that really makes you feel as though you are being taken along on the journey with him and that he remembers everything perfectly. I loved this style of writing that is based on recollection and has a dash of humor and embarrassment. Coury owned something like 35 business in the Las Vegas area at one point and reading about a man who starts out with nothing building an empire is like reading about the American dream. I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars.”

International Book Promotion

“Memoirs rarely have the ability to make you root for an author and his friends as vigorously and vehemently as the succinctly and appropriately titled Tenacity by Ron Coury. If the reader were to share the author’s military background, instrumental (as attested to by Mr. Coury) in establishing his fundamental integrity and character while still a young man, he would probably just shout “Oorah!” in a declaratory final judgment of this book’s intensely satisfying outcome. We are talking here about good and bad at work in old Las Vegas, the one emerging from the decadence of its rather depraved history, where political corruption and cronyism still lingered and survived, deeply threatening the conscientious efforts of those inclined to honesty and ethics, and where one character trait alone served best to deal effectively with all such potentially lethal aggravations.

Tenacity is the trait, and Ron Coury possesses it in spades. That is what makes his retelling of the Vegas story – rich in its long and infamous tradition of greedy bad guys doing wrong – worthy of a Jimmy Stewart movie where the bad guys pick precisely the wrong man (and his friends) to threaten and harass. Mr. Coury tells his real-life tale with intensely credible authority, leaving no doubt about his own immersion in a time and place where Opportunity ruled (literally), and where some good guys, needing only big white hats to make the picture perfect, ultimately prevailed. A western story for a western town. Tenacity may be categorized as a memoir, but it reads like bad-guy fiction, or like the antidote to Down and Out in Las Vegas. Perhaps Coury could have called his book Up and In in Las Vegas. But Tenacity says it so much better.”

Joel R. DennstedtReaders’ Favorite

“Part memoir, part self-help novel, ‘Tenacity’ by Ron Coury is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. Coury’s grandparents were Middle Eastern immigrants who settled in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s in order to give their future children a better life. Coury was raised in New York and became a business man at a very young age when he started shining shoes at the train station.

From then on, Coury realized that he enjoyed making money and enjoyed coming up with new and innovative ideas for businesses. He went on to become a very successful business man, owning over eight businesses by the time he turned 35. But Coury is not just a bar and casino owner, he is a former Marine, a cancer survivor, and a man who fought for justice against a former employee who wrongfully sued him on felony charges. If anyone has a right to write a memoir, it’s probably Mr. Coury who has lived so many different lives that this book could have been a thousand pages long.

I was fascinated by his stories and the different challenges that he has faced in his life. I found this book inspirational in a lot of ways while reading. It seemed that every time Coury faced a new challenge he faced it head on in a way that many of us struggle with.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book was at times funny, fascinating, thrilling and heartwarming. I came to enjoy all of the people in Coury’s life as if they were characters in a novel and appreciated how he gave such in-depth descriptions of them. It really made the book come to life in a way that I’ve never gotten before with other memoirs.
I read through this in less than a day and I can’t recommend it enough! 5 out of 5 stars!”

Bookgirl86Goodreads