- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 23, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 047170637X
- ISBN-13: 978-0471706373
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1973, 29-year-old John Malone became the CEO of a debt-ridden Denver cable company, Tele-Communications, Incorporated; in 1998, he sold TCI for $48 billion. In the intervening 25 years he frenetically built a cable and media monopoly. Robichaux, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, pens an account that is part Horatio Alger success story and part cautionary tale of the abuses of unfettered capitalism (the latter a more timely narrative these days). Malone is a complicated hero; focused and driven, he built his empire largely through clever, complicated financing deals that sidestepped bank rules and taxes and enriched an inside group of shareholders. In the spirit of "charge as much as you can for a product...and spend as little as you can get away with," TCI, the author says, provided shoddy service to cable subscribers and bought out potential competitors to keep the cable industry an insular cartel. When local governments protested, Malone cut off service. Robichaux doesn't make much of it, but it's notable that junk bond financier Michael Milken and the former CEO of Global Crossing, Leo Hindery, appear in these pages as Malone's trusted friends. Although he cooperated with Robichaux for this book, Malone doesn't (as do minor characters like Ted Turner) spring to life from its pages. In this, once again, the reclusive Malone seems to have gotten things his way.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Robichaux, an editor of the Wall Street Journal's "Weekend" section, covered cable television for the paper from 1989 to 2001. Here he draws on interviews and published sources to produce a well-written account of John Malone. In the early 1970's, at the young age of 29, Malone took over a small cable company on the edge of bankruptcy known as Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCl), which he adeptly turned around and in 1998 sold to AT&T for $48 billion, making it the largest media merger in history. The author weaves an intricate tale of the cable industry and TCI as he reveals the brilliant deal-making strategies that built the largest cable company in the world. A typical strategy would be to swap stock, which defers recognition of profit on the deal whereby taxes would not have to be paid. Using these tactics, Malone acquired hundreds of companies and was viewed as a monopolist, creating a political backlash in Washington that caused him to be called Darth Vader, Genghis Khan, and the Godfather rolled into one. Readable and well researched, this work is unauthorized but was written with Malone's cooperation. Recommended for media collections in public libraries and those interested in the "art of the deal." —Bellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY (Library Journal, January 15, 2003) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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As far as being a kindle book goes, the margins and spacing are a little off. I think that this would be better read as a printed book. Nothing was so distracting that I couldn't read it, though.
Overall a good read.
I found the description of the many struggles of John Malone and Bob Magness as they built Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) to a dominant cable company an unforgettable story. It is a story of a rancher (Magness) who sold is cattle to "climb on towers and wire homes", and of John Malone a financial and business visionary who saved the company from bankruptcy (some will say multiple time) and led it to its powerful position.
I like the author ability to both describes in technical details the early days of the first cable systems and the personalities of the industry visionaries as they fight against many challenges (regulatory, financial and personal).
This book might be more important today (2012) than it was when released in 2005, as the industry is losing some of its dominance. The few broadcasting companies that were undefeated semi-monopoly only 30 years ago were slowly overtaken by the young cable guys as described in this book. Today some of these guys and the mighty cable industry are facing tremendous challenges (cable video subscription had its first negative year), other players are taking prominent position as leaders in the media distribution industry, and once "hooked" clients are debating about "cutting the cord".
The author neither analyzes the industry nor judge its ways. However, it is telling the story of risk taking people with a vision to create a product against all odds.
One might find that the key lesson in this book is that it is not only a company, a technology or a unique position that creates tremendous success, it is also (some will remove the word "also") the people, the captains of change. Read the book and you will have the opportunity to learn about one of these captains, John Malone.
Author of "Why do we sell low and buy high? The guide you must read BEFORE you invest"
TCI and John C. Malone provide a lively story of the ideas and issues during the times of consolidation and govt actions
during the 1990s , President Clinton and the Telecom Act of 1996.
The narrative ended in 2002. An update would be in order.
Great read on the man and the emerging cable industry that are both still topical today (2014).
Most recent customer reviews
Many pieces requirement to understand but this is a good one