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Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince Hardcover – October 18, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though Prince Alwaleed bin Talal came to public attention in the U.S. when Rudy Giuliani rejected his $10 million donation to the Twin Towers fund, Alwaleed's real significance is as a global financial powerbroker. The Saudi royal is the biggest single foreign investor in the U.S. economy and the world's fourth-richest man, with assets totaling more than $21 billion. His significant holdings in U.S. companies include Citigroup (which he bailed out with $590 million in the early '90s), Apple and News Corp., the corporate entity responsible for this "authorized biography." Khan, who has interviewed high-profile figures for CNN International, tags along with Alwaleed and his entourage as they conduct business in Riyadh and Paris, holiday in Cannes and trek into the Saudi desert for a weekend getaway. The resulting reportage has the breezy flavor of a magazine profile awkwardly stretched to book length. There's plenty of praise for Alwaleed's "financial intelligence" and outsized personality, but Khan doesn't probe beyond the admirable surface (though he notes others have tried to dig up dirt with little success). The glowing descriptions seem carefully crafted—and timed—to raise Alwaleed's profile in the West. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Khan, independent broadcaster and journalist, offers a unique window into the life and times of His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (known as Alwaleed), who is described by the Wall Street Journal as the "Arab Warren Buffet." Age 50 and U.S.-educated, Alwaleed is currently the fifth wealthiest man in the world. His prominent family ties in Saudi Arabia as well as in Lebanon lead him, a Muslim who identifies with Western ways and champions reform, to serve as a bridge between the Middle East and the West. The most successful investor outside the U.S., he owns vast investment portfolios that include such brand names as Citibank, EuroDisney, and Apple. This is a fascinating tale of a financial giant who gave the author unprecedented access to himself and those who surround him, resulting in a treasure trove of information. However, like all biographies written with the support of the subject, many could question its objectivity. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Har/DVD edition (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060850302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060850302
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, it comes with a 1 hour documentary DVD on the Prince. This is probably the first ever biography where they enclosed a DVD. I have never met the Prince nor seen him on TV, but the DVD gave me a good impression of him.

This book is an authorized biography of Prince Alwaleed. In America, he is not as famous as Warren Buffet, but he is quite well known in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Since this is an authorized version, the author, Riz Khan, is very careful not to say anything that is too negative or controversial about Alwaleed. We won't fault him for that since he wants to please the Prince.

What I enjoyed about this book is the numerous interviews made by Alwaleed. You get a good sense of how this man thinks and learn his philosophy about life and business. I also like reading about how the Prince lives and makes his business and investment decisions.

He is driven, precise, highly ambitious, demanding, fast-paced and extremely detailed-oriented man with a photographic memory. He will stop at nothing to reach his goals. How else can you account for his rise from a mere royal Prince starting with $30,000 in seed capital to being worth over $24 billion dollars in less than 25 years. He is respected by CEOs and heads of state from around the globe.

Alwaleed got his start in Saudi real estate and earning commissions from foreign contractors during Saudi Arabia's building boom in the 1980s. He then got into the banking business by buying and merging together Saudi banks. Alwaleed tells the story of how he saved Citibank from near collapse in the early 1990s by putting up a good chunk of his net worth (close to $600 million) during the bank's crisis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And have only found out that I didn't review it recently.

The desire to read this book came after seeing this man on 60 minutes.

I am not sure what to think. It is not like he started with nothing and created a multi billion dollar empire from scratch (like Gates or Buffett).

The fact that I can remember so little of this book years later shows how little useful information was contained in it.

Save your money.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I wanted to gain some more insight into one of the world's richest men, his investments, his strategies and his life. As written by Riz Khan I expected to receive a balanced view of his story.

However, I was gravely disappointed. First it is the worst written book I have ever read in my life. Apart from Khan's writing style which resembles that of a 16-year old submitting an essay he wrote the night before the deadline and apart from being dull, weak in vocabulary and downright boring, it is also full of grammatical mistakes.

The story itself is incredibly one-sided with absolutely no opposing perspectives to those of Waleed. It presents an unacceptably incorrect view of liberal Islam and presents what is essentially an egotistical, arrogant man's view of how incredible his achievements are. The idea of a billionaire who claims he is religious and prays to God 5 times a day contrasts starkly with how he put Koranic verses in the lobby of his Georges V hotel in Paris. The very lobby under which rich Parisians sip martinis and discuss Arab terrorists and immigrants in France.

The first chapter - indeed the rest of book seems incidental - is dedicated to providing a response to Rudolph's Guliani's rejection of Walid's $10m donation for 9/11. The rest of it is repetitious, self-congratulatory and eeks of both Walid's personal editing and Riz Khan's incompetence as a writer.

Anyway, point being, dont buy it.. read something useful (and spell-checked) instead.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book came across as an extremely bias piece. When it came to sources it seemed that Khan used the same people repeatedly. It was so bad I was only able to read the first two chapters. I'm sure that Khan put a LOT of hard work into this book but the end product was not very good. However, the idea of adding a video to the book was a huge plus and I hope other biographers follow his lead on this point. That idea alone gave this book two stars!
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By Larry on February 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a fun time reading this book. I thought it was excitingly written and made me have fun following the adventures.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
NOW THIS IS A GREAT READ AND THERE IS A DVD ALSO INCLUDED....VERY INTERESTING MAN - ENJOY ALL WHO PURCHASE
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not like most biographys. Not indepth enough. Does not really explain how the deals really happened. Would like for someone else to give a go at another one.
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Format: Hardcover
I am from the middle east (Dubai) and i hear the name Al Waleed bin Talal on a daily basis..

Anyways about the book, it is a pretty good read. The way he conducts business is amazing. No one is arguing that he is a good business man. A man who knows what to go in and what to avoid.

However, i do not think that he should be considered one of the most successfull people around the world. You can NEVER convince me that he never used his royal connection to start his empire (or even to do business inside KSA and outside).

The first quarter of the book is all about trying to convince people that he started a normal start like any normal business man. THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE. a royal can never be considered a billionare.

He is a good business man no one is objecting but can you compare him with the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson who all started very simple and with almost no money ??

Those people took a risk that could make them what they are now or break them forever.

A man like Al Waleed if he takes a risk and it dose not work out, well he can always use his royal name to start over, and over, and over, and over. He has the support of the richest family (country) in the world. His father gave him a big sum of money, an office and staff to start with. CitiBank gave him a loan of 1 Million riyal because of his royal name. He got contracts from outside organizations because these organizations can use his royal name to their advantage.

YOU CAN NEVER DENY THAT IT WAS HIS ROYAL NAME THAT BUILT HIS EMPIRE AND NOT HIS SKILLS.
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