If you start out working in the world of newspapers, you’ll eventually come to grips with the fact that you spend an inordinate amount of time chronicling the consequences of actions by people who are stupid, ignorant or heavily intoxicated. Some of us find solace in the sporting pages, whose stories tend to focus on human achievement instead of failure. For the same reasons, some of us turn to the financial section to reinforce our faith in humanity’s essential goodness. That kind of story is both evergreen and geographically universal. The guy who’s the topic of this automotive biography happens to be from England, but the success that Tom Hartley has reached is transcendent of nationality, as told by the life histories of Americans like Rick Hendrick and Roger Penske.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is one man’s tale of making it in a challenging, unforgiving business. Hartley is an entrepreneur of great accomplishment in England, a car dealer who, in a very real sense, markets human fulfillment, as the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and Ferrari 812 Superfast in his current inventory make plain. Hartley has become something of a household name in the U.K. for trading in mega-exotics like these over the past 45 years, having sold his first car in Glasgow at age 12 and then surviving a medical crisis that nearly blinded him while he was still a teen. Veloce Publishing has given Hartley a platform to tell his life story; the result is an inspiring story that comprises 249 hardcover pages. Yes, it’s a vanity work to a degree, but it’s always also a message of unwavering persistence and the rewards it can bring. We could all use a lesson such as this. Based on the exchange rate, it’s about $27.00 in hardcover or $21.00 in paperback directly from the publisher.