From the Publisher
Next to Thomas Edison, Samuel Insull is the name you should remember as the most important and perhaps the most notorious person in the utility business. He was the billionaire utility tycoon from Chicago whose gas and electric empire operating in over thirty states in 1932, causing a million investors to lose two to three billion dollars. Starting as Thomas Edison's private secretary in 1881, he was responsible for establishing centralized electric supply. He organized the Edison General Electric Company before the industrial giant of the same name, working out a model of nationwide distribution and promoting rural electrification. One of the most significant accomplishments was acquiring effective government regulation of public utilities. The author does not make judgments as to whether Insull was good or bad. He merely wants us to know the man for what he did.
From the Inside Flap
An astute businessman, he practiced "mass production" and "selling at the lowest possible cost" long before those ideas became popular. In addition, he successfully applied the concepts of load and diversity on a large scale -- factors on which all utility rates are based. On the financial side, his innovativeness in devising ways to market securities made possible gigantic modern corporations owned by anonymous millions and therefore owned by nobody.
Insull was instrumental in acquiring effective governmental regulation of public utilities. He pioneered welfare programs long before labor or even government became aware of their importance and encouraged the growth of labor unions.