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.
King Larry: The Life and Ruins of a Billionaire Genius Hardcover – January 10, 2012
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
That the life of Larry Hillblom is only now being chronicled will amaze anyone who reads this book. Hillblom was both a revolting creep, and a brilliant businessman. His ability to outwit and outmaneuver virtually every adversary almost reads like the stuff of cheesy fiction until you realize it's all based on really well researched facts. Hillblom was also a pedophile who wasted much of his wealth fueling the (often underage) sex industry in SE Asia, an unfortunate and glaring footnote in this business biography. Larry's pedophilia aside, the book is indeed gripping, and almost reads like a movie just aching to be made.
Yes, the legal details were a bit much at times, but the minutiae nearly always seemed to have a purpose. And yes, the pedophilia and sex did seem to be more of a footnote than you'd expect from an enlightened, western author. But if Scurlock's purpose was to make a book that told a more complete story about Hillblom without becoming a rant on his many imperfections (which include abhorent, immoral behavior), then Scurlock succeeded. Hillblom was clearly a flawed, perverse, even depraved sex addict who also happened to be a visionary who transformed an entire industry almost single-handedly. Not many biographies (including that of Jobs) can make such a claim on their subject.
King Larry isn't perfect, but for a non-fiction biography, it's damn close. Couldn't recommend it more highly!
Scurlock does a great job describing the details of just how Hillblom pushed the limits in creating his main business and his later investments; and how he continued to push the line in his personal life.
Scurlock creates a uniform picture of Hillblom the man. At the same time, however, Scurlock, acknowledges the mystery of Hillblom's life and death and intentionally makes us wonder if the picture that he paints is complete. It is hard to believe a man as smart as Hillblom, who actually wrote a legal opinion on the rights of unacknowledged heirs, never anticipated that his many children would surface after his death. Maybe the Hillblom will litigation was a gift to his kids, or maybe he just never got around to dealing with issue. We will never know.
The book is a quick read and would be good companion on a plane. It is an interesting detour from the usual airport escapism and actually makes the reader think about the how the same qualities that led to success in business, may have led to personal disaster.
Give Scurlock credit as many other worthy writers have given up on this task as the digging, distance and due diligence must have been overwhelming. He lays down the story in three parts rather well. Early on, Hilbloom is portrayed as a true underdog character taking on building a new, exciting company and sticking it to the Big Guys. He seems likable despite the fact that he has few, if any, redeeming qualities except being an exceptionally motivated, hard worker and "the rich boss." As the tale progresses, however, Hilbloom cocoons himself in his protected Micronesian Hamlet by propping up politicians and business deals by intimidation, legal maneuvers and sheer bully wealth. A true sense of his personality evaded me as a great deal was made over his idiosyncrasies like his shabby dress, diet, and, eventually, his sexual depravity. The story is patched together through the eyes of business associates, yes men, adversaries, court documents and a fair number of hangers on. It would appear he really did not have friends in the usual sense.
One suspects a screenplay in the offing as this would be a great movie and Scurlock knows his film.
There are a few geographical bloopers that the editor should have caught. References are made toward illegal drug distribution in the early days of DHL, but never explored further. Hilbloom's own drug use is briefly mentioned early in the book, but is curiously absent as the book progresses.
It was an engaging, interesting read that I have been looking forward to for over a decade and we have Spurlock to thank for putting it out there for us to consume.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
also rather "broke the mold" in the scheme of life.