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Can't Is Not an Option

The Story of a Man Who Did It His Way What exactly is the American dream? Jerry Leberfeld began as a poor Jewish kid in Rockaway Beach and ended up as an entrepreneur who counts politicians, business icons, and celebrities as the same kind of friends as the guys he grew up with. For Jerry, living the American dream is striving to reach your potential without forgetting your roots. Jerry paints an entertaining picture of his upbringing in Rockaway Beach during its glory days. He tells about falling in love and marrying Aviva, his life companion and a Holocaust survivor, and their struggles as young parents, about working full time, graduating college, and his struggles in the corporate world while anti-Semitism was rampant. After 18 years in corporate America, Jerry risked his career to pursue his dream. He left his secure job, then rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Over the next decades Jerry founded 4 successful companies, the first of which was Art Expo, the largest and most successful fine-arts fair. He talks about relationships with celebrity artists including Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Tony Bennett, Marcel Marceau, Luciano Pavarotti, Donna Summer, Salvador Dali, Erte, and politicians such as NYC Mayor Ed Koch and NY Senator Jacob Javits. After selling Art Expo to a Fortune 500 company, Jerry could have retired but he didn't slow down. He pushed to reopen the NY Coliseum with the still-talked-about NY Coliseum Antique Show. He even volunteered to accept a UN consulting assignment and adventure to Indonesia and explains how he became a guest at the royal wedding along with Indonesian President Suharto. Woven throughout his book are instructive details and fascinating anecdotes on how to survive the bureaucracy of government and union pressures as well as guidelines and rules on how to start and succeed in a new business with limited capital and a good work ethic. At age 73 when Jerry was struck with myasthenia gravis, a debilitating autoimmune disease, he kept up his productivity by focusing on what he could still do, not what the illness took from him. Jerry acts in local theater, consults future entrepreneurs, and, fortunately for us, he picked up a pen. Jerry believes the times we now live in aren't as bright as they were when he was growing up, and he is far from certain about the future of his grandchildren's generation. In this book, he shares Horatio Alger-type stories to help keep this current generation's dreams alive and offers advice gleaned from his almost 80 years of hard work and living the American dream. Acclaim for Can't Is Not an Option "In the 1980s, the founder and director of ArtExpo, Gerald Leberfeld, did more then anyone to introduce art and artists to the American public. Through ArtExpo he created a giant canvas for all people to feel comfortable in a place many felt intimidated. Leo Castelli, perhaps the greatest art dealer of the twentieth century, said he couldn't believe that Jerry could get so many new people interested in art. I will never forget the '80s and this special time that we worked together." -Peter Max "Gerald Leberfeld, founder and director of ArtExpo, has transformed the business of art, changing it from a business conducted in hushed whispers behind closed doors to an open forum, stimulating in its diversity and scope and accessible to all. We have ordered a case of books to share with our employees, our clients, and anyone who seeks and appreciates an honest American success story." -Paul Baker and Larry Winokur, CEOs, B-W-R Public Relations "Partnering with Jerry Leberfeld in reopening the New York Coliseum and building a fabulous Antique Show together were great achievements as well as an amazing adventure. A rare partner and a brilliant businessman. Jerry's book is sure to be a true collectible!" -Irene Stella, President, Stella Show Manag
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About the Author

Jerry Leberfeld is a former executive with Olivetti-Underwood and Prentice-Hall who decided to leave the security of corporate America to pursue his dream of entrepreneurial success. Perhaps best known as the creator of Art Expo, the largest fine-art exhibition in the world, Leberfeld pursued the American Dream while staying close to his roots. He is proud to be known as "Benny the Book" by friends he's had since the 1950s, "Jerry" by celebrities such as Peter Max, Tony Bennett, and Ed Koch, "Dad" by his son and daughter, "Grandpa" by his two beautiful granddaughters, and "Best Friend" by his wife of 55 years, Aviva.

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