Richard Kirshenbaum – Rouge

A Novel of Beauty and Rivalry

Sometimes you just get a kick out of a book! One page into Richard Kirshenbaum's debut novel, Rouge, I knew I was reading a winner. 

I always love to talk to an author on the release of their first novel -- it makes me, in a tiny way, a part of history. When they look back years later on their first release, they might just remember me -- especially if I rave about their book. So it was so much fun to talk to Richard, who is not only a great writer -- but also charming and delightful!

Even the most popular authors are anxious about the release of a new novel -- will it be well received? Will readers like it? Will the readers feel connected to the story?

Well, Richard doesn't have to worry.  Rouge is a master work from an amazingly talented author. It is what I call solid -- which is the highest compliment coming from me. It means the writing is top quality. It means that the author has captured my heart and mind. I care about the characters. In fact, after a little while, I forget they are characters -- to me they become real.  I feel as if I could walk into a room and sit down and just start talking to them.

Richard Kirshenbaum is a very talented storyteller.  He captures the reader with this dynamic story of two icons of the beauty industry: Josephine Herz and Constance Gardiner, who take us on a wild adventure as they compete to create the most famous cosmetics company in the world. But it is more than a story about the fierce rivalry between these two women, it is a deeper story about power, talent and the dedication it takes to build a company. 

The historical backdrop of this story is beautifully told from the beginning in 1922 through to the 1990's. Richard has added depth to this story by confronting the subject of racism, McCarthyism and greed. I particularly enjoyed his depiction of an African-American entrepreneur, based on a real legendary business woman, who is as savvy and smart as any man or woman in the world of cosmetics. 

This is a book that a scriptwriter dreams about adapting. It is visual. The locations. The clothes. It is all there -- a magical set design in words. Then there is the dialog in the book. Richard's dialog is outstanding. It is bright and crisp. There is a freshness to it that actually sent me back in time -- to the fast paced and witty dialog of Hollywood in the 1930's.  

I was happy to hear that the book has been optioned and will become a major motion picture. Read Rouge now and start imagining who you would cast in the parts -- I'm sure it's a game that is being played in Hollywood right now!

"Reading Rouge is a delicious and cherished treat! Stand up and cheer for the iconic female cosmetic industry pioneers who were brilliant, beautiful and beyond their years in entrepreneurial genius. I can’t wait to be on set filming this book. “ ―Wendy Finerman, Academy Award-winning producer of Forrest Gump, The Devil Wears Prada and Stepmom

As everyone who reads the book will agree, Rouge is just a great read.  Get it for yourself -- and get one for your best friend!

“I couldn’t put it down! The perfect summer and vacation read when I’m on the road." ―Venus Williams, tennis champion, entrepreneur, founder EleVen by Venus

About the Author

Richard Kirshenbaum knows what he is writing about in Rouge as he has worked with some of the greatest cosmetic companies in the world. His insights into the high-powered world of the cosmetic industry is one of the reasons his book is so authentic and enjoyable. 

He is the founder and CEO of NSG/SWAT, a high-profile boutique branding agency.  He has lectured at Harvard Business School and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame and  is also a co-founder of SWAT Equity, a venture-capital firm investing in emerging entrepreneurs and consumer brands

He is the author of a number of bestselling non-fiction works, including Under the RadarClosing the DealMadboyand Isn’t That Rich? and the New York Observer's "Isn't That Rich?" column.

He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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