|About the Book|
This fascinating life story—which starts when Richard Laster, age 14, fled his home in Vienna to escape Hitler’s invasion of Austria—is full of memorable twists and turns on his route to America and eventually becoming “the most memorable man” atMoreThis fascinating life story—which starts when Richard Laster, age 14, fled his home in Vienna to escape Hitler’s invasion of Austria—is full of memorable twists and turns on his route to America and eventually becoming “the most memorable man” at General Foods. All this is reflected during a span bounded by the outbreak of World War II in Europe followed by Pearl Harbor, V-Day, the growth of suburbia, Silicon Valley and the numerous sociological changes in America. …And It Went So Fast is also loaded with well-tested nuggets of business advice, including the evergreen value of goal-setting.With the United States as his first goal, Richard and his family stopped in London to wait for their visas. During this time learning English was his priority, as well as preparing to take the examination for the University of London. Much to his surprise, and to the surprise of his parents, he passed the exam and that “success” gave him a sense of confidence that he needed as he faced the future.After entry into the United States, Richard proceeded with studying for a degree in chemical engineering which he received from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y. Upon graduating, he became employed as a Junior Chemical Engineer at General Foods. His career at GF—from his entry level position to President of Maxwell House, Executive Vice President and a Director of the Corporation—did not follow a straight line. General Foods is a consumer-marketing company and Richard’s background in science and engineering was not the normal background that qualified him for progression in the company.He credits his acceptance into the University of London with giving him confidence initially and, as opportunities presented themselves at General Foods, he opted to leave his comfort zone in science and pursue new challenges and goal-setting on his way to the “executive suite.” After retiring from General Foods, he led two start-up companies in the exciting field of biotechnology, one in the agricultural space and the other in the health field.Along with his wife and two children, Richard Laster always cared for the world around him, and he participated in numerous community activities such as President of the Chappaqua School Board, a member of the Town Board, Chairman of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, and on-going support of his religious institution. In his remarkable journey, Laster reached out and made many new personal and professional friends who helped him.…And It Went So Fast points out through engaging story-telling that setting a goal and developing a sense of confidence in achieving that goal are important ingredients in moving ahead in life.