Meet David Cully: avid reader, family man and the new president of Baker & Taylor.
An educator by training, David began his long association with the book business as a part-time sales associate in the Gimbels East Book Department while attending graduate school at NYU and teaching at Hillcrest High School in Queens.
After teaching middle school in suburban NJ, he joined Bamberger’s as an assistant book buyer in 1976. From there his career in the book business has included stops at Sher Distributing, Waldenbooks, Berkley-Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Barnes and Noble and most recently Baker & Taylor. While venturing out from the world of books with a couple of starts up (Egghead Discount Software and Blue Tulip) and a turn-around (Lechter’s) outside of the world of books, David always came home to the business that is in his blood.
He and his bride, Lynn, now back in publishing at Kensington after 12 years off to raise 5 children, reside in Princeton, NJ. Their children, Blaine, Brisa, Meg, Mei Li and Drew, ages 17-30, are at various stages of their careers and education and it seems as if the nest is never quite empty. We had the opportunity to pick David’s brain about his role at Baker & Taylor, his favorite books and life lessons he’s picked up along the way… Read on!
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Facilitating and watching people connect, brainstorm, plan and execute together, succeeding in a way that no one could have done individually.
What was the first book you ever read?
Stuart Little by EB White.
What are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. My dad was a part of that greatest generation; he landed troops on the beaches on D Day. I also just finished a new short story collection by Joyce Carol Oates, Dis Mem Ber. Don’t read it before bed time, though. Nightmares are guaranteed if you do!
eBooks or traditional books?
There were not ebooks in 1960, so I’d say traditional books.
All-time favorite movie?
Chariots of Fire. Everything about it—the score, the cinematography and the story line—is inspiring!
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the beginning of your career, what would it be?
Listen more, speak less. Be more, do less.