“Samuel C. Florman was a New York City kid . . . He became an engineer and a builder, mixed it up with sharp-elbowed real estate developers, wily subcontractors, politicians honest and otherwise, Mafia-linked concrete mixers, and canny community activists, not to mention clients whose projects ranged from chapels to apartment houses. . . Readers may know Mr. Florman from his books and magazine articles about technology and society. “Good Guys, Wiseguys” sticks to his career, more than half a century as partner of Kreisler Borg Florman. Its tone is engagingly informal, twinkling with bemusement over the horrors put in his way by bureaucracy, slick- dealing contractors, unions — or simply capricious nature.” — The Wall Street Journal
“. . . a unique insider glimpse into the politics of building the most important city of the 20th century.” — Publishers Weekly
“. . . an engaging memoir about one man’s career in construction — rising to the top of an industry renowned for crime, corruption, violence, physical danger, and the chronic risk of financial catastrophe.” — Home & Garden
“Mr. Florman, the chairman of the construction firm Kreisler Borg Florman, doesn’t write like an engineer. He. . . has produced a number of insightful and accessible books, including “The Existential Pleasures of Engineering.” This latest volume is buoyant . . . Mr. Florman is a charmingly guileless writer. . . — The New York Times
Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings is an engaging memoir about one man’s career in construction–rising to the top of an industry renowned for crime, corruption, violence, physical danger, and the chronic risk of financial catastrophe.
Starting in the Navy Seabees at the end of WWII, Samuel C. Florman made his way as a general contractor in New York City through the period of explosive development, private exuberance and the historic growth of publicly supported housing–all amidst the rise of the notorious Mafia families, and evolution of the Civil Rights Movement. His storied career brought him into contact with a variety of personalities: politicians and civil servants, developers and technocrats, saintly do-gooders and corrupt rapscallions. Along with the rousing adventures there were satisfactions of a different sort: the enchantment of seeing architecture made real; the pride of creating housing, hospitals, schools, places of worship–shelter for the body and nourishment for the spirit.
Samuel C. Florman is an American civil engineer, general contractor and author. He is best known for his writings and speeches about engineering, technology and the general culture. The most widely distributed of his seven books is “‘The Existential Pleasures of Engineering'”, published in 1976, second edition in 1994. According to one authority, ‘It has become an often-referred-to modern classic.’ His most recently published book is Good Guys, Wiseguys and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction, published in 2012. Florman is Chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company, Scarsdale, New York. In 1995 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “For literary contributions furthering engineering professionalism, ethics and liberal engineering education.”
“After more than five decades as a general contractor in New York City, Samuel Florman, chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company has many stories to tell. An engineer with a gift for prose, he . . . recounts his career from the 1950s amidst the rise of the notorious Mafia families and evolution of the Civil Rights Movement.” — Skyscraper Museum Booktalks
“In every genre in which he has written, which now includes the memoir, Samuel Florman has shared his valuable insights into the nature of engineering and technology within a social and cultural context.” — Technology and Culture