Madness, Miracles, Millions

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
140 Pages
Reviewed on 10/12/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Hello! My name is Joseph Semprevivo, I am the CEO/President and founder of Joseph’s Lite Cookies as well as an award-winning, bestselling author of “Madness, Miracles, Millions.”

At the age of 9, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. I found out that I was a diabetic when I read an article in the Deming Headlight, about a bike-a-thon for diabetes that included symptoms for diabetes. After some blood work and tests, doctors told my parents that I would be lucky to live past the age of 17.

In 1986, Joseph’s Lite Cookies was born on a Sunday morning. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was outside playing with my friends and walked over to a pay phone to call my parents to see how they were doing. My mother told me that they had a surprise for me when I got home.

My father (Larry) knew I badly wanted to eat cookies again so he experimented until he perfected the perfect oatmeal cookie. It was my first cookie that touched the roof of my mouth in 7 years and it was amazing! I turned to my father and begged him to make more flavors.

From our little kitchen in New Mexico we began baking 170 sugar-free cookies a day and brought them to local grocery stores and businesses for people to sample.

Currently we (Joseph’s Lite Cookies) are baking over 12 million cookies a day along with supplying other diabetic friendly products. Today the cookies can be found in numerous countries and nationwide across the United States in stores such as: Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Big Lots, independent/ health food stores and major grocery chains around the Country.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Madness, Miracles, Millions is a memoir written by Joseph Semprevivo and his father, Larry Semprevivo. The story begins before Joseph was even born. Larry had been a pressman in a printing plant for over twenty years when the unthinkable occurred. Through another employee’s mistake, his hand had been trapped between two rollers and was being pressed and coated with varnish. The emergency stop button was just out of his reach at first, but as his hand was dragged further into the machine, there was no hope of reaching it at all. This event changed the Semprevivos' lives. While Larry was recovering, his wife set up a small press in the garage and started printing flyers for local businesses. Larry and Jo would do whatever it took to keep their family fed and clothed, and their family worked right alongside them.

Joseph and Larry Semprevivo’s memoir, Madness, Miracles, Millions, is inspirational and heart-warming. It’s also great reading. The two authors write clearly and simply, and their story is a fascinating one, starting with that very dramatic and awful incident at the printing plant. They share their feelings of abandonment when family and friends grew distant as Larry was recovering and the family’s welfare was at stake, but they also show how that tragedy brought them even closer to the family and friends who really mattered -- the ones who stuck by them. There’s a lot of time and events covered in Madness, Miracles, Millions, but the authors keep the focus relatively narrow to maintain the lively pace and excitement of the book. I enjoyed reading this memoir. It’s well-written and, by the time I had finished the book, I felt as though I knew the two authors. Madness, Miracles, Millions is highly recommended.

Karen Pirnot

Larry and Joseph Semprevivo are a father and son writing team who have written Madness, Miracles, Millions, a memoir about how they turned tough times into a thriving business. I found the first accounts of the father's injuries at work to be the most poignant and the most significant in motivating the family towards a cohesive and directed effort to overcome an event which could have stifled many families. With some, a potential tragedy stuns individuals and sends them into a period of withdrawal and inaction. But, the Semprevivo family pulled together and made lemonade out of the lemons they were handed. But, it wasn't until the diagnosis of diabetes in the son that the family came up with a product that was to revolutionize the cookie industry. The son, Joseph, hated his diabetic food restrictions so he came up with a delicious ice cream that those with diabetes could eat. But, he still missed cookies. So his mother developed a cookie recipe that would soon send the family business into unknown territories and make young Joseph a true entrepreneur.

As do many families, the family of Larry and Joseph Semprevivo suffered set-backs and defeats. But they always maintained a positive rather than a defeatist attitude and Madness, Miracles, Millions is the story that separates them from those who choose a victim role. This is a fun and easy read for those wanting motivation to stay in the game of life.

K.C. Finn

Madness, Miracles, Millions is an inspirational book penned by Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo, a father and son team who tell the tale of their lives from their terrible struggles to great successes. Written as a mixture of true-life lessons and engaging narrative prose, the book genuinely feels like the reader has been sucked into the vivid, highly visual lives of this incredibly close knit family. It begins with a high-impact, tragic moment that many families in crisis would relate to, and continues along an unabashed route, bearing all the genuine, heart-breaking events that the Semprevivos went through, and how those experiences translated into enormous success later in life.

This incredible book hinges on the metaphor that every cloud does indeed contain a silver lining, as author Larry Semprevivo indicates: “from every near tragedy a triumph emerged”. The result of reading this book is an uplifting, reaffirming feeling that fate will reward you for hard work and persistence in your life. To me, Madness, Miracles, Millions is a real-life embodiment of the American Dream, where bitter sadness and great elation often go hand in hand to transform hardworking individuals from rags to riches. I found myself genuinely moved and inspired by this engaging, well-written narrative, which captured my imagination and made me feel as though I really knew the authors on a personal level. If you’re looking for a story to inspire you to overcome your own hardships – whatever they may be – then Madness, Miracles, Millions will do the job. Accept no imitations, this is the real deal!

Eileen Johnson

Madness, Miracles, Millions by Joseph and Larry Semprevivo chronicles one family's journey from middle class to poverty to millionaires. The book opens with the Semprevivo family living a comfortable middle class life. Larry and Josephine are happy with their two children -- until the first instance of madness happens to the family. Larry is seriously injured when his arm is caught in the printing press at work. This accident is quickly followed by the first miracle when the printing press stops long enough for Larry's arm to be removed from the machine. And so begins a series of mad events which are always followed by a miracle. The Semprevivo family soon adds a third child, Joseph.

The story of the Semprevivo family in Madness, Miracles, Millions is told by son Joseph and father Larry. Joseph learns from his father and mother that a positive attitude is critical to navigating through the moments of madness to make it to the next miracle. As Joseph grows up and is diagnosed with diabetes, he uses this early training to find the positive path through his illness. In the course of this journey, the family creates a legacy and accumulates a fortune. Madness, Miracles, Millions is a quintessential Horatio Alger story of rags to riches in the United States. Well written and engaging, this book sends a positive message that it really is possible to make it through very negative circumstances by maintaining a positive attitude and working hard. A good read that is highly recommended!

Mamta Madhavan

Madness, Miracles, Millions by Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo is an uplifting, motivational and inspirational book that revolves around the family story of a father and son duo, Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo. The book tells readers about their humble beginnings, setting up a company that does a million dollar business and their growth in business and as individuals. Like any other family's story, this book shares with readers the story of the Semprevivo family, a family that refused to give up and turned opportunities into success. It is also the story of a family that held onto their dreams in life, about their hard work and perseverance and an example of how much one can achieve and gain in life by not giving up on their dreams.

This is the story of a wonderfully close knit family. The book will change your perspective on how to handle challenging situations in life and decide whether you want to be a victim or a winner. It is an amazing story that will help you in finding yourself amid all the chaos and confusion that is going on in your life. Their story of personal and professional triumph is indeed a motivation for all those who need that extra push to move in the right direction and bring success into their lives. The story is motivating, not only because of their success on the job front, but also because of their holding together as a family. The book inspires readers to turn tragedy into winning situations.

Jane Allen Petrick

"Every family has a story to tell; some are more extraordinary than others." So affirms Joseph Semprevivo in Madness, Miracles, Millions. And this is an extraordinary story. But contrary to so many family stories being told today, this story is a very, very sweet one, in more ways than one..

Joseph Semprevivo was only eight years old when he was diagnosed with diabetes, brought on by snitching too many sweets from the counter of his family's restaurant in Deming, New Mexico. His parents, Larry and Josephine Semprevivo, confronted this challenge as they had Larry's debilitating industrial accident back in New Jersey: with lots of love, lots of prayer, and no whining. As the family struggled on through one crisis then another (a near fatal gall bladder incident, a dishonest restaurant manager, bankruptcy), Larry and Josephine Semprevivo kept themselves and their three children close and confident, understanding that "life isn't about luck, it's about attitude." For the Semprevivos, what separated the victors from the defeated was what you did with your life in the wake of tragedy.

Then one day, twelve-year-old Joseph, tired of a life without sweets, fiddled around in the kitchen of his family's reopened Italian restaurant and made his own ice cream without sugar. It was delicious. The rest, as they say, is history. Joseph's Sugar-Free Ice Cream and later Joseph's Lite Cookies brought the Semprevivos visits with Hollywood celebrities, a Presidential internship for Joseph and, yes, financial success. A nationally recognized entrepreneur by the time he was 21, Joseph never forgot, however, the key lesson he had learned from life and his parents: "When I refused to succumb to my fate, my fate would succumb to my will, and from every near tragedy a triumph emerged."

"Taste and see that the Lord is good." This bible quote could easily be the motto for the Semprevivo family. Madness, Miracles, Millions gives us a beautiful picture of what it looks like not only to believe in family values, but to live them.