Paweł Patora

‘Recipe for riches’ (‘Recepta na miliony’) reprinted after 50 years

The former mansion of Oskar Kon, a Łódź industrialist, currently used by the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź The former mansion of Oskar Kon, a Łódź industrialist, currently used by the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź
Paweł Patora

Bolesław Lesman’s book ‘A Recipe for Riches’ has been reprinted by the Kusiński publishing house, with support from the Lodz Special Economic Zone.

The book is awell-written and documented monograph, describing the life of Oskar Kon - one of Łódź’s wealthiest industrialists in the early 20th century, owner of the Manufaktura factory in the Widzew district, as well as the life of his family and other industrial families carrying on their business in the rapidly developing Lodz. The Explorer’s Bookstore, which stocks ‘Recipe for Riches’, notes on its website that Bolesław Lesman depicted in his book ‘a moment of the mental and spiritual transformation of three generations of businessmen. As the city developed, so did they, and with time they turned from small-time operators and ‘people with ideas’ to powerful players who dictated their terms even to the government itself’.

Like Moryc Welt, but without the scruples

Oskar Kon, the main character in ‘Recipe for Riches’, has his counterpart in ‘The Promised Land’ (‘Ziemia Obiecana’), Reymont’s seminal novel - Moryc Welt. However, according to Lesmian: ‘Moryc Welt’s traits (…) would not have been enough for Kon to live his way. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of people like Moryc Welt in Lodz. If you wanted to make your mark, you had to be smarter, stronger, more ruthless and have fewer scruples than the others.”

The best book about Lodz

Bolesław Lesman, a journalist working for ‘Express Ilustrowany’, a local daily newspaper, worked on the book for 20 years. ‘Recipe for Riches’ was written based on extensive source materials, such as documents and interviews with people who personally knew Kon. The book is very accessible and riveting.

‘In my opinion, it’s the best book about Lodz and perfectly shows how people did business in Lodz during the interwar period’, said Jacek Kusiński, publisher of ‘Recipe for Riches’. Compared to the original run, the reprint of the book includes additional photographs of many characters depicted in the book, short biographies of entrepreneurs and financiers associated with Kon, written by Karol Chylak, as well as an essay penned by prof. Tomasz Bocheński, a scholar of literature.

The book’s artwork is exquisite. ‘I believe today’s books must be very elegant, they must have a utilitarian value in and of themselves’, said Jacek Kusiński.

What’s the connection between ‘Recipe for Riches’ and the Lodz Special Economic Zone? ‘We’ve decided to help in reprinting the book, as our offices are located in a renovated factory once operated by Ludwik Grohman and we believe ourselves to be heirs to the industrialists’ heritage’, said Marek Michalik, CEO of the Zone.

Paweł Patora

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