Conrad Hilton: “Be My Guest”

I was on vacation in July last year in Vegas. My husband and me were staying at one of the Hilton hotels. I just happened to look in the bed stand drawer ( which I never do) but for some reason, something propelled me to open the drawer.

Here’s a peek:

I found this paper back book titled, “Be My Guest” by Conrad Hilton. We hung out later at the hotel pool later in the day. I began to read the book. I could not put it down. This was one of the best autobiographies I have ever read-and I’ve read a lot of them.

Be My Guest is the inspiring saga of the man behind one of America’s great success stories. Conrad Hilton was born in San Antonio, Socorro County, Territory of New Mexico. Born into a family of six, including two sisters named Felice and Eva; a brother, Carl; his mother, Mary Laufersweiler Hilton; and his father, named Augustus Holver Hilton, or Gus. His father was a big man physically – a robust six footer with big hands, big feet, a handlebar mustache, and a big voice.

Gus bought his first hotel in Cisco, Texas, and built his first hotel in Dallas, Texas. Then he bought his second hotel, the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York, in 1931, which became a Hilton Hotel 15 years later. This had been Gus’ first big dream, and he worked hard to make it a reality, suffering heartbreak and struggling against the odds – over this infinitesimal building in the middle of nowhere – more than at any other time in his career, barring the Depression.

Conrad Hilton went to Goss Military Institute in Albuquerque when he was almost 12. At 15 he met his wife, Helen Keller. She has written a book called Optimism. In the book, she wrote, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope,” and summed up by stating that, “Optimism is the harmony between man’s spirit and the spirit of God pronouncing [his] works good.” At 16 his father had sold his coal mines for 10 thousand, which in those days made him one of the richest men in the territory. In 1904 the dollar was worth something. Men worked for a dollar a day and, on that, lived decently and raised families of five or six. With his money Gus was the equivalent of a millionaire.

What an inspirational story? This is a story that will pertain to life through out the years.

Has anyone else read the book? If so, what was your take on the story?

What makes a good author?

Truman Capote is one of my favorite writers. Capote rose above a childhood troubled by divorce, a long absence from his mother, and multiple migrations. He had discovered his calling as a writer by the age of 8. For the rest of his childhood he honed his writing ability. Capote began his professional career writing short stories. Capote earned the most fame with In Cold Blood, a journalistic work about the  murder of a Kansas farm family in their home. Capote spent four years writing the book aided by his lifelong friend Harper Lee, who wrote  To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). 

My personal favorite, a quote from “In Cold Blood”

“The day before the Clutter family’s funeral, Susan, and Bobby agree to go to Garden City in order to “see Nancy.” They go to the funeral home and are shocked to see the Clutters dressed in their formal clothes with each of their heads “completely encased in cotton, a swollen cocoon…[that], because it had been sprayed with a glossy substance, twinkled like Christmas-tree snow.”

This in my opinion what makes a good, no… great writer is a detailed description that a reader can see in their mind or related too.