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Family Wars: Stories and Insights from Famous Family Business Feuds by [Gordon, Grant, Nicholson, Nigel]
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Family Wars: Stories and Insights from Famous Family Business Feuds Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 304 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The authors, a family business executive and an academic, present case studies of famous family companies, including Koch Industries, Mondavi, IBM, Bata Shoe, The Dart Group, the Redstones, Guinnesses, Pritzkers, and Guccis. The authors provide lessons for understanding the warning signs of family conflicts and contend that the winners are those who recognize the problems early and find a fair resolution. They note that the root cause of family wars usually is the founder, who, while a great builder, can also be a great destroyer. Gordon and Nicholson conclude that the objective in dealing with family wars is to come out of the battle wiser, stronger, and with more discipline. Advice includes the ability to embrace change by recognizing that today’s assumptions may not hold for tomorrow, understanding the impact of the evolving values of the surrounding culture, and achieving flexibility through open communication based on strong values and principles. Lessons from this excellent book apply primarily to family companies, although there is thoughtful leadership insight for other managers. --Mary Whaley

Review

"Lessons from this excellent book apply primarily to family companies, although there is thoughtful leadership insight for other managers." -- Booklist


"Will inspire readers to institute processes for governance and communication that can prevent a feud from festering." -- Family Business Magazine


"The authors' talent for storytelling, and willingness to share the corporeal as well as the corporate, makes Family Wars worth the time." -- USA Today

Product Details

  • File Size: 1407 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page; 1 edition (March 3, 2010)
  • Publication Date: March 3, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EROETC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,003 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Gary Dale Cearley on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Gallo, Ford, Guinness, IBM, Gucchi, Mondavi, Reliance and Addidas... Global brands? Before they were these brands they were family owned companies (or family run in the case of IBM). Authors Grant Gordon and Nigel Nicholson do a fairly decent job in their research of these family business as well as many others. They give summarized histories of the businesses germinating and taking off. They even give genealogical breakdowns of the families in question. But where they really score is that they have been able to analyze these situations on both an organizational behavior level as well as that of a psychological level.

The authors are quick to point out in the beginning of this book that there are many advantages to being in a family run business. Decisions are made quicker. Conflicts can often tend to be resolved in a more efficient manner. The businesses are often more profitable and last longer than a "corporate" business, that is, with professional management and not family management. They also point out that family friction can be good for the business in certain instances. But it is the struggle for control that generally unwinds everything.

The book itself is written in a very interesting style. It could pass for a professional business book, a university text book or a non-fiction book that is written for pleasure. I have to commend the authors on this - especially since this was a joint effort and not one man doing all of the written production.

Throughout Family Wars we see the causes of the inter-family strife and are generally walked through the resolutions - and sometimes there really aren't any.
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Format: Hardcover
An old business adage that runs in the family business parlance puts it rather simply, "The first generation starts, the second builds and the third sells." But in the true purview of realism, do all family businesses rest on the same gritty axiom? Are families really bound taut in `intimate, dynamic, honest and loyal' strands of inter-personal business? Moreover, does the presence of conflict within family businesses itself mean failure? These are some of those integral questions that this compelling read shall endeavour to answer.

A comprehensive discourse on conflict within family business, `Family Wars' dwells on those inequalities and flaws that keep families from embarking onto shared entrepreneurship, yet resonantly discussing the indispensability of family firms in the economy.

`Family Wars' runs you through a set of melodramatic and enthralling case studies (over 20 in number), which splits family conflict into different categories highlighting the stringent irony of blood-ties. Some of the themes interwoven are the `father- son conflict' (Gallo wine family saga), `sibling rivalry' (Ambani family),`the insularity trap' (Guinness story) and Schism (Pritzker empire saga) to name a few. Certain issues, which arise between generations like overpowering personalities and nepotism, are also explored.

As an intriguing illustration, the theme of `Parental Oppression' is presented through the Ford Family case (Chapter 5), which depicts an obsessive personality in the form of a narcissistic leader, Henry Ford who focussed exclusively on himself, lacked empathy and totally neglected `succession management' in his organisation to the extent that after the untimely death of his son, he was dethroned by his daughter- in- law leaving a trail of psychological debris.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an advisor that works with family dynamics in business and legacy contexts, I found the book contained powerful descriptions of family dynamics, the intersection of those dynamics with the structural aspects of family business (legal, executive and governance) and solid assessments of the most critical factors in play. The book opens with one on of the best lay-oriented primers on family dynamics I have seen. What was missing for me were the interventions that would have tied family dynamics theory and practice together with the actual dynamics in the families they profiled. Their excellent primer simply lays there - providing explanatory power but not grounding a more strategic practice that would have potentially made a difference and resulted in more effective structural solutions. For most families I work with, their first impulse is to "escape into organization" by attempting to address emotional issues with structural fixes. They want to reconfigure boards, restructure shareholder agreements and the like. That pattern is replicated over and over through the book. These, I have found, are, in Adam Kahane's parlance,"power solutions to love problems". In my experience, the relational dynamics will undo the structural fixes almost every time. There are, however, interventions that are based on solid family theory that address the family dynamics head on and that, if successful, will result in forms (structures) that the family can make function. To end on a more positive note, I think they nail the fundamental patterns of conflict in family from both relational and issue perspectives.
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