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Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire (Enterprise) Paperback – October 17, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A nuanced and engaging portrait of an immensely complicated man. . . . The book hits its highest notes in depicting how a mercurial cable mogul revolutionized the news industry and then watched as the manic boom-and-bust cycle of the 1990s swallowed up and regurgitated his prize innovation. . . . Readers may find more detailed analyses of the merger of AOL and Time Warner, but they will find none more entertaining, straightforward, or comprehensible. "
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is easy to read and filled with colorful insights into his life. Major financial and business ventures are covered in detail, with analysis of both legal and money aspects. The book is well referenced, drawing info from interviews with Mr. Turner, his friends and family, and secondary sources such as other books and newspaper articles. The book can be read in 1 day or less, and I recommend reading it.
An interesting point of his business personality as depicted in this book is that he's not afraid to take risks, yet is supposedly very uncomfortable with debt. So why did he practically mortgage his company in an effort to acquire CBS? The reasoning isn't really fleshed out to a satisfying degree. All we really take away from this account is how he desperately wanted to expand into broadcast network television; not on how such a massive and high-profile acquisition would benefit viewers, shareholders, and employees. Taken in context with the entirety of the book, one concludes that the move was as much ego-driven as Turner would maintain that it was driven to create cost-efficiencies. We also don't get a clear sense of what's behind his fervent anti-unionism and vaunted parsimony, only that they were definite traits.
While getting a taste of his upbringing and subsequent family life is interesting as background, probably the most compelling part of this book is Turner's boardroom battles as part of Time Warner, and later AOL-Time Warner. Here we get a true sense of the personalities and motivations at work, and at odds, within the changing paradigms of corporate media. It's this that made the book worth reading and where Auletta shines as a writer--the kind of writing that made Three Blind Mice so noteworthy and memorable.
At only about 180 pages, it's difficult to recommend this book at full list price, or even Amazon's substantially discounted price, but a used or library copy is definitely worth the time to get to know a little more of this broadcasting and entertainment pioneer.
Overall, the book was satisfying. Turner's life is covered rather well, but the details are missing. Every chapter seems more of a summary of something larger than a fact-filled chapter that it is intended to be. Then again, I wasn't expecting a thorough biography given its scant 180 pages.
Regardless, this book will give you a good idea of the man that is Turner. Why did he strive for greatness? Why did he create CNN? How and why did he lose CNN and his fortune? Why is his heart set on world peace? These questions - and others - are neatly answered.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How does a guy who sells billboards create a media empire? In 2001, author Ken Auletta won a National Magazine Award for his profile of media mogul Ted Turner in `The New Yorker'. Read morePublished on January 9, 2006 by Rolf Dobelli