The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever by Steve Madden (with Jodi Lipper) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a free and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Famed designer and businessman Steve Madden, along with Jodi Lipper, dive into the personal history of not only the Madden brand, but the man himself as he works to share everything from his personal trials and tribulations, how he grew his business and even how business tactics have changed in the wake of COIVD-19 in the book “The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever”.


The Synopsis

Everyone knows Steve Madden’s name and his shoes, but few are familiar with his story. Over the past thirty years, Steve Madden has taken his eponymous shoe company from the fledgling startup he founded with a mere $1,100 to a global, multi-billion dollar brand. But Madden’s demons, from his battle with addiction to the financial shortcuts that landed him in prison, are as important to his story as his most iconic shoes. In this raw, intimate, and ultimately inspiring book, Madden holds nothing back as he shares what it took to get here and the lessons he’s learned along the way. From his unconventional hiring strategies to his slavish devotion to product, Madden offers a business perspective that is as unique as his styles.

In The Cobbler, readers are treated to the wild ride through Madden’s rise, fall, and comeback. But they will also walk away uplifted by a man who has owned up to his mistakes and is determined to give back and use his hard-won platform to create positive change. Originally written in 2019, The Cobbler was released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. During and in the aftermath of the pandemic, Madden’s perspective on life and business shifted. This new, updated version includes a prologue and epilogue revealing how Steve Madden the man and the company not only survived, but managed to come back stronger than ever for the second time.

The Review

This was a well-written and powerful memoir meets business nonfiction read. The authors did a brilliant job of capturing a tone of honesty and perseverance in the writing of this book. The history and unique perspective on this particular angle of the fusion industry, as well as the way the industry moved through the 90s and early 2000s, was particularly engaging and remarkable to read about, as it brought about both nostalgia and a firmer understanding of how one of our society’s biggest brands came to be.

Yet it was the author’s vulnerability and self-reflection that really brought the reader into this book’s narrative. The honest way the author delved into everything that happened in his journey, from his humble beginnings to his struggles with addiction, the smell starts to his business, and the impact of the recent pandemic on his understanding of the industry going forward, allowed the reader to feel connected to the author’s experiences and the profound changes he made in life to grow from those experiences.

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and engaging, authors Steve Madden and Jodi Lipper’s “The Cobbler” is a must-read memoir and business-related nonfiction read of 2023. The insightful and memorable nature of the author’s journey and the experiences that shaped not only an industry but the man behind one of the world’s biggest brands made this a book you won’t want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

Steve Madden is the founder of Steve Madden Ltd and is world renown for his innovative line of shoes. He started his world-famous brand with only $1,100.00 selling shoes out of the trunk of his car. In 2002 Madden was arrested and served time in federal prison. Madden has devoted his life to charity and saw his business through a multibillion-dollar comeback. Mr. Madden chose self-publishing over traditional publishing to be able to chart his own path as he did within the fashion industry. Look at how that turn out.

Jodi Lipper is a six-time New York Times bestselling writer who partners with high profile experts and celebrities to garner major publishing deals and translate their experiences and expertise into highly effective and marketable books. Jodi has co-written several notable memoirs as well as prescriptive books about business, wellness, and personal development. 

Her clients include iconic shoe mogul Steve Madden, the “father of biohacking” and creator of Bulletproof Coffee Dave Asprey, and Fran Hauser, whose book The Myth of the Nice Girl was named the Best Business Book of 2018 by Audible and was listed by Amazon as One of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.