- Founder of Famous Amos Cookies and Father of the Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookie Industry
- The Power In You
- Turn Lemons into Lemonade
- Relationships are Partnerships
- A Recipe for a Successful Life
- Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life
When Wally Amos won his Horatio Alger Award in 1987, his Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Corporation had made $12 million in annual sales with 35 Famous Amos stores throughout the United States and Asia.
It was a dream come true for Wally Amos, who had spent his childhood in poverty. At the age of 12, his parents divorced, and Amos was sent from his hometown in Tallahassee, Florida to live with his aunt and uncle in New York City. Five years later, he dropped out of high school and joined the Air Force, where he earned his high school equivalency certificate. Later, he worked in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency in New York, and within a year became the first black theatrical agent at William Morris. Eventually, Amos moved his family to Hollywood to start his own business as a personal manager for entertainment figures.
It was a struggle from the start. He never had a big star as a client, and he never seemed to have enough money to make ends meet. Finally, Amos took control of his life and began to earn a living doing something he had enjoyed doing since he was a child in his Aunt Della’s kitchen—baking chocolate chip cookies.
He opened his first store on Sunset Boulevard, with the help of investments made by show business friends. His shop was an instant success. Soon, other Famous Amos shops began to appear.
But Amos’ Horatio Alger story does not end there. In fact, he has lived the Horatio Alger story all over again. From 1985 to 1989, Amos was forced to sell his Famous Amos business four times to stabilize losses brought about by his own admitted mismanagement. By the time the fourth owner took over, Amos had no equity left in the business so he chose to leave it.
Amos started a new company called Wally Amos Presents Chip and Cookie. But a year later, Famous Amos sued him, saying they owned his name and likeness. While that lawsuit was being pursued, Amos refused to accept defeat and started the Uncle Noname Company. “Noname,” Amos says, “is pronounced no-nah-me, and is Hawaiian for ‘temporary loss of legal name.”
Amos wrote a book about his experiences, calling it The Man with No Name—Turn Lemons into Lemonade. “I wanted people to know that you should not allow challenges to deter and defeat you,” says Amos.
Amos published another book last year called Watermelon Magic—Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life. In it, Amos talks about choosing positive experiences and making positive decisions.
Today, Amos says his goal in life is to help people build self-esteem. “Most problems can be traced to low self-esteem,” he says. ” My purpose is to guide people to their inner strength and greatness. When people fill their lives with love, positive energy, faith, giving, and enthusiasm, they will be a success.” ” You can make your life whatever you want it to be.”
Books by Wally Amos
- The Man with No Name—Turn Lemons into Lemonade
- Watermelon Magic—Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life. In it
- Live an Inspiring Life
- The Power of You
- Watermelon Credo
- Cookie Never Crumbles