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The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing’s Greatest Race, The America’s Cup Hardcover


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Frequently Bought Together

The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing’s Greatest Race, The America’s Cup + Winging It: ORACLE TEAM USA's Incredible Comeback to Defend the America's Cup + America's Cup San Francisco: The Official Guide
Price for all three: $55.01

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; F First Edition edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802121357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802121356
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Larry Ellison, billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation, the worldwide computer technology company, was looking for a challenge. He decided, in early 2000, to race for the America’s Cup. Of course, the America’s Cup race isn’t between individuals but between sailing clubs; Ellison figured that shouldn’t be a problem. He’d have no trouble finding a club to sponsor him. Turns out that wasn’t as simple as he thought, until Norbert Bajurin, the mechanic of the title and the newly appointed commodore of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, faced with a shrinking membership and the very real possibility that the club might have to shut down, came up with the brilliant idea of sponsoring Ellison. This energetically written book recounts the partnership that grew into a friendship, as Ellison and Bajurin mounted multiple runs for the Cup (they won it in 2010, and that story alone, with its pitched legal battles and their attendant publicity, could fill a book). Published only months before the 2013 America’s Cup, with Ellison’s team defending, the book is sure to spark interest among racing fans. --David Pitt

Review

“[An] excellent book … The story of Mr. Ellison’s decade-long effort to win the Cup and bring it back to the U.S. under Golden Gate’s flag is worth telling, and Julian Guthrie, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, tells it well.”—Wall Street Journal

“Splendid … Guthrie crisply sketches the complex process that was required for Ellison to establish his own position in the top ranks of yachting and organize the winning team in 2010. A thriller of a tale and a worthy scene-setter for this summer’s trophy defense in San Francisco Bay.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Billionaire and the Mechanic opens with a thrilling scene as old as Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ and as iconic as ones from Conrad, Melville, Hemingway and Sebastian Junger: a man battling a dangerously stormy sea. That the sailor, Larry Ellison, is one of our contemporary captains of industry, the swashbuckling billionaire of the title … only heightens the drama. … [The Billionaire and the Mechanic] succeeds as a lively primer, history, and up-to-date soap opera, full of local color, leading up to the America’s Cup races in San Francisco Bay.”—San Francisco Chronicle

"Julian Guthrie's riveting book takes readers deep into uncharted realms, from the extremes of the ocean to the sublime connection between two singular men. The Billionaire and The Mechanic is a wondrously detailed story, beautifully told, by a writer who understands both the intricacies of human nature and the immensity of the natural world."—Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

“Surely the most comprehensive book ever written about an America's Cup challenge, The Billionaire and The Mechanic will surely be must reading for any yacht-racing aficionado."—Frank Deford

“From the opening scene in this book—and scene is the appropriate word for its cinematic beginning—the reader is swept along on heart-thumping rides on swift, dueling sailboats, past an assemblage of characters worthy of Dreiser, past the shoals of deceit worthy of Dickens, and coming to rest on the formidable character of billionaire Larry Ellison, who has the will-to-win of his best friend, Steve Jobs, and of a mechanic, who made winning possible. Julian Guthrie writes as if with a magic wand, holding the reader spellbound.”—Ken Auletta

"[A] product of first-rate reporting. . . . A riveting account."—Sailing

"Energetically written .... sure to spark interest among racing fans."—Booklist

"This is one helluva great read. Larry and Norbert - beautiful dreamers both, men with faith in their ability to convert them to reality. This book is fascinating; it informs, educates and entertains about the longest continuously contested trophy in all of sports. This is a must read for lovers of sport, and particularly for sailors.”—Bob Fisher, author of An Absorbing Interest: The America's Cup—A History 1851-2003

"Larry Ellison's America's Cup victory was as improbable as it was inevitable. The same is true of his alliance with radiator repairman Norbert Bajurin. In this absorbing page-turner, Julian Guthrie tells us how they came together to make history."—G. Bruce Knecht, author of The Proving Ground: The Inside Story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race

The Billionaire and the Mechanic is pumping with adrenaline and yet full of subtle, surprising details about both sailing and one of the most mysterious, controversial characters on earth. This book is tirelessly reported and Guthrie has a rare writing gift to tie it all together into a work of literary journalism that reads like a thriller.”—Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project

"If you're interested in the America's Cup competition, or in sailboat racing generally, you'll love this book. Julian Guthrie's taut and fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the colorful personalities, the risky development of astonishing new boats, and the hair-raising racing tactics of Larry Ellison's long campaign to win the trophy is necessary background reading."—Derek Lundy, author of Godforsaken Sea: A True Story of Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters

"A gripping tale of world-class competition and strategic gamesmanship. . . . It will have enduring value as a great story in its own right."—Sail World

"Entertaining."—Soundings

“An up-close tour of how the world’s fifth-richest man spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and hired and fired the best sailors on Earth, to win.”—Forbes

Customer Reviews

It is truly an inspiring story.
Beverley Hayes
This is a well told story of Larry Ellison's quest for the America's Cup and the head of the Golden Gate Yacht club who helped along the way.
Jason A Letman
If you're interested in the Cup, and/or a competitive sailor, this is a must read.....well written and very entertaining.
pangaeamac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Robideau TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I have never followed the sport of racing yachts, I have always loved the science and technology involved in the creation of these amazing machines. I picked up this book for technical information and to be wowed by the details of making the world's fastest non-motorized boats, but instead I found a beautiful story of the inner workings of an America's Cup campaign.

There was quite a bit of detail and it was obvious that much research went into the making of this not-so-short book.

The book started out by alternating the stories of Norbert(the mechanic) and Larry Ellison(the billionaire). This system kept the story moving while the background information was laid out. The stories throughout were compelling and relevant, but the initial story of the Sidney-Hobart Race is what drew me in and forced me to read the book despite it not being what I expected.

The author does a good job at explaining the intricacies and difficulties of what is happening so that the reader can truly appreciate the magnitude of the project.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in yachting, big races, or monumental undertakings.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DDT on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While this book provides plenty of insight into America's Cup racing, the trade-off is just not worth the value. Too much of Ellison's hand is in this book and it reads like a one sided cell phone conversation and then the final few chapters read like something out of People magazine. There is also a hidden mean spirit here as some very respected professional sailors get seriously dissed in this book, unnecessarily so, most likely impacting their careers. I would highly recommend skipping this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Blake macDiarmid on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Indulgent. Hyperbole in excess. Over the top. The Billionaire and the Mechanic are all these things, and yet I loved it. Do I believe Ellison took the reins in the Hobart race to save Sayonara at a critical point? Nope. But do I think he has sailed in the arena, paid his money and taken his chances? How many of us would come back after 2 losses in the Cup to finally win, then spend another fortune to make sailing more accessible to the sporting public with the spectacle of AC72s and unprecedented TV and multimedia coverage? This book gives, in albeit a slanted view, an inside perspective on it all.

Flawed, but if you're a Cup junkie you need to have this on your bookshelf. And if you're a hater, hide it in your Kindle... but still get it!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wendy M. on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The description and story-telling in this book are so strong, that whether or not you're already interested in yacht-racing you'll enjoy this book - and if you weren't previously interested in The America's Cup before reading it, you'll be avidly following it by the end.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Klaatu on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The basic concept of the underdog yacht club teaming up with the billionaire makes a good story and I certainly found the subject matter and presentation interesting. My only real problem with the book is that Larry Ellison apparently had so much editorial control over the book and the ego to make the resulting product come out as self-aggrandizement in the third person.
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By packer shareholder on April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As Past Commodore of a nearby Yacht Club and visitor to Golden Gate YC, I found the book to be accurate and insightful to the story behind the location of the America's Cup Race in 2013. Even a non boater might enjoy the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Billionaire and the Mechanic" is a marvelously successful literary event. Guthrie's writing is a wonderful experience in so many ways: the easy language flow, the depth awareness of sailing, sail-boat racing, the history and richness of The America Cup series, and, even, of the nature of competition and its passions. Guthrie reports a given race with detail, energy, eliciting a tension in the reader when he or she already knows the outcome. Her rich, honest introduction to, and journey with, two fascinating men, Larry Ellison (amongst other strengths, a true blue water racing sailor) and Norbert Bajurin (a capable, respectful leader of persons) is extraordinary. Guthrie enables understanding of the world of great wealth, and its dwellers, with knowledge and grace (both traits dumfounding to the SF Bay Area Media, and the majority of the local society – both those water wise and ignorant). The Kindle edition (and, perhaps the recent paperback edition) has a full rendering of the 2014 regatta, and interesting commentary about the Cup's future. A very sane and pleasurable piece of writing; ethically sound.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love good lessons tied to activities I like. This ties business practices and sailing. I couldn't put it down.
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