I Was a Potato Oligarch: Travels and Travails in the New Russia

I Was a Potato Oligarch: Travels and Travails in the New Russia

by John Mole
     
 

In this eye-wateringly funny account from John Mole, readers will experience “the real Russia” firsthand. Beginning with a risky business venture inspired by British fast food, Mole attempts to submerge himself in Russian culture—but often finds himself in the middle of a fiasco instead.

Overview

In this eye-wateringly funny account from John Mole, readers will experience “the real Russia” firsthand. Beginning with a risky business venture inspired by British fast food, Mole attempts to submerge himself in Russian culture—but often finds himself in the middle of a fiasco instead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this funny travel memoir, entrepreneur Mole (It's All Greek to Me!) recounts his adventures as an "international development consultant" in post-Soviet Russia. Ever chasing the next "Big One," Mole finds himself hawking a stuffed baked potato fast food franchising scheme in the midst of an economic meltdown. Along with Russian pals Misha and Oleg, Mole learns that finding a decent potato in Russia is nearly as hard as securing financing there. Mole drinks, bluffs and bribes his way across missile bases, spud farms, and the business lecture circuit. While often witty, Mole, it becomes apparent, does sympathize with the various average Russians he meets struggling to make a living: one older woman from Yekaterinburg trying to sell a single possession-a left shoe; a biochemist dedicates his life "to one little bug" while working on a "couple of wooden tables, a few test tubes and other bits and pieces out of a decent chemistry set."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Mole (It's All Greek to Me!), a business writer, serial entrepreneur, and professional expat, has put together an account of living in Russia that is both funny and informative. His adventures in bringing a baked-potato franchise from South London to Moscow run the gamut from finding the right kind of potatoes (not that easy, apparently) to selecting a name that could be understood by both Russians and foreigners in either Cyrillic or Roman characters. In the midst of all this, readers learn that Mole has been known to wear tutus, has a head too large for standard Russian hats, and was once mugged by musicians when playing in the woods. Mole has even more to say about all the red tape one has to deal with when starting a business in Russia in the early 1990s; unsurprisingly, the Russian mafia also plays a role. Finally, he ends up ditching potatoes and working instead on a joint venture to develop a new type of bioreactor. This entertaining read about the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit, even under extremely difficult circumstances, is recommended.
—Susan Hurst

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781857885095
Publisher:
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Publication date:
08/15/2008
Pages:
228
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

John Mole has had a varied international career, from banking in the USA and Athens to jacket potato restaurants in Russia. He is also a well-known author of comic novels, as well as the perennial bestseller Mind Your Manners and It's All Greek To Me. For more information, please visit his website at www.johnmole.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >