Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing Hardcover – September 25, 2007
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"A smart business book detailing some vicissitudes of retailing, wrapped in a vivid biography of an engaging tycoon." -- Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007
"If (Conor O'Clery's) compelling narrative becomes a blue-print for future efforts to record the life stories of philanthropists, then the reading public might become far more aware of the major donors who have existed in their midst. O'Clery's account of how Charles `Chuck' Feeney rose from a blue-collar New Jersey neighbourhood to immense riches as founder of global retail enterprise, Duty Free Shoppers, and then gave almost every cent away, reads like a cross between a whodunnit and an airport business guru book." -- Philantropy UK, December 2007
"You may never read a book as uplifting as Conor O'Clery's "The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune" In vivid, unvarnished prose, "The Billionaire Who Wasn't" recounts Feeney's meteoric rise from blue-collar beginnings in Elizabeth, N.J., to a perch as one of America's titans of commerce, head of Duty Free Shoppers, the largest liquor retailer in the world." -- Washington Post's Express, November 6, 2007
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
He did not want his name on buildings or the publicity that goes with large contributions to worthwhile causes. Cornell is his college and he has given generously. Ireland has received much of his attention. He has helped build hospitals, colleges around the country and the world. A very modest, humble man with a sense of humor. The book is a great read.
This is the most inspiring book I have read so far. This book was more motivating and inspirational to me than books such as the `Secret' by Rhonda Byrne. Here's a real `existing' role model we can all look up to. He did it, and so can we. He is a living proof that helping others in unselfish ways is possible. He is living proof that that there is good on Earth, and being good is not only possible but feasible.
This is the story of Chuck Feeney, born into a poor family. Not having enough funds to pay for his college education, Feeney joins the Air Force, and is stationed in Japan. There he realizes the profit making potential of duty-free sales. He starts selling duty-free goods to soldiers, such as tobacco and alcohol, and to make the story short, ends up owning duty-free shops across the world. Within a few years he becomes a billionaire. He is ranked as the 23rd richest man in the United States by Forbes magazine.
Feeney was not happy with his billions. He did not like the life of excess lived by the rich. `How many shoes do you need?' he would often ask. He did not like the competition between the rich in owning luxury goods. For example, a yacht is never big enough; someone else will have a bigger one. Someone else will have a bigger mansion.
Feeney was also worried for his children. Kidnapping was prevalent at the time, and Feeney did not want to live his life surrounded by bodyguards and in fear for his family. So one day, he secretly flies to the Bahamas and donates all his profits to his newly established charity organization.
Many find it hard to part from a few dollars. Feeney parted with billions. All the proceeds from Feeney's company went straight to his charity foundation. Unlike Bill Gates (whom I also admire for his philanthropy), Feeney gave away his whole fortune without announcing it. No one ever knew of Feeney's philanthropy, not even his partners. His name is not on any library, University, or building. Feeney gave secretly. He believed that your left hand should not know what your right hand is doing when it comes to charitable donations. Feeney is a man who gives not for selfish reasons such as recognition and fame, but to help make a change in people's lives.
Feeney did not feel guilty about making money, but he felt guilty keeping it. He felt his money should not be for the sole purpose of giving him and his family pleasure, but for giving pleasure to the world.
Feeney also helped solve the IRA (Irish Republican Army) problem together with Bill Clinton, and opposed the war in Iraq. He did not vote for Bush in 2004, and marched against the war of Iraq in the streets of London in 2004. He also felt that the US was unfair to Vietnam, and flew several times to Vietnam offering anonymous help.
Chuck Feeney is a great man, and his story should be an inspiration to all of us. This book should be read by everyone, and should be required reading in schools and universities. If one man can make such a difference, how much can we all do together? For one thing, we would end world hunger and poverty!
This book made me realize that ending world poverty is not such a farfetched dream: all it takes is a humble heart, like the one Chuck Feeney has!
Money can be the root of all evil. Money does corrupt, and in excess corrupts absolutely. But money can also end all of the world's suffering. It is a two edged sword. One edge will bleed the world to death; the other edge will bring an end to suffering.
I have chosen how I want to hold my sword. Have you?
The book is perhaps a bit heavy on details of how he made his money (Duty Free stores), and the various schemes to tax shelter his money, and the steps to remain anonymous. He believed that one should give money directly to causes that would make a difference, and monitor the progress to see that the money was being wisely used. He distrusted Government spending which often has graft and inefficiency, and political conditions.
In short, an inspiring book well worth reading, and acting on if your finances allow.