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Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas Paperback – Bargain Price, March 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Binkley offers this story of the trio of tycoons who took over Las Vegas and transformed it from a crushed-velvet world with a libidinous frontier air into a place where, increasingly and sometimes surprisingly, entertainment and good taste go hand in hand. Binkley provides an inside look at deal-maker Kerkorian, casino visionary Wynn and professor-turned-mogul Loveman and their lavishly competitive lives: their exclusive and aggressive tennis games, the one-way conveyor belt created to transport customers away from a competing casino, the battle to build the biggest and the best. The author shares intriguing details about these power players—Wynn has a secret entrance, behind some fake books on a shelf, to a sprawling closet—and is also adept at portraying a seedier Vegas, where aged Mafia barons dined on the osso buco at Piero's Italian restaurant, their canes hanging from their chairs. Sometimes her chronology gets a little murky. Still, Binkley offers plenty of nuggets mined from her years on the beat, producing a full, flashy tale of powerful men and their pride, vanity, envy, greed—and all the other cardinal no-nos that earned Vegas the name Sin City. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The odds are good this will be quite a bestseller. It's a great drama on the greatest stage Wynn, Kerkorian, and Loveman represent three opposing business personalities, three styles of achieving success. On the Vegas strip, they're pitted against each other like gladiators, and we've got front row seats. Kapow!―Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Much to like about this book! Las Vegas is a great "stage" for an interesting book. Wynn, Kerkorian and Loveman are such great characters, each so different. And, the race to be the biggest and the best is fascinating.
The real kudos need to go to the author. In every dimension, this book is well crafted. Well organized with a great many facts woven into the compelling story line. Well detailed with every scene painted as if the reader was present. And, well written with business terminology correctly used and judiciously sprinkled so as to not detract from the powerful story. In an age where so many books are so poorly written, the quality of the writing here really is noteworthy.
What I respect most about the author is amidst the captivating story she devotes time to asking the $64 million dollar question, i.e. how should one feel about a business whose purpose is to turn its customers into gambling addicts? A very thoughtful question that the author appropriately serves up for each reader to answer for themselves.
Christina Binkley...for your first book, you did great!
The book's sub-title says "Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman and the Race to Own Las Vegas." Binkley posits that a series of mega-deals have apportioned Vegas into three controlling companies: MGM Mirage (headed by Kirkorian); Wynn (Steve Wynn's eponymous new post-Mirage venture); and Harrah's (helmed by ex-Harvard prof Loveman). Binkley appears to have had little access to Kerkorian, (no one does, but read Bill Vlasic's classic Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler for a better peek at him) but ample access to his lieutenants. She obviously had developed a cordial relationship with Loveman. What stands out is her relationship with Wynn and wife Elaine. It's extensive, to say the least. She's clearly enchanted with the guy.
In fact, that relationship leads me to my major problem with the book - it simply lacks credibility to leave Sheldon Adelson - Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sand Corporation (Venetian, Sands Convention Center, Palazzo) - out of the story. He, as much as anyone, set the pace for Vegas during Binkley's years of coverage. And, he made the leap to Macao ahead of any of his Vegas peers. It's blatantly obvious from the text that Ms. Binkley has a history with Adelson. Yes, he's famously dyspeptic and probably has little use for her. But Adelson has also feuded publicly and nastily with Steve Wynn. Wynn uses Binkley here quite transparently to take a number of gratuitous slams at Adelson. She's little more than a water-carrier in that regard. That's sad because it detracts from the overall excellence of the book in a very distracting way.
A tale of the tape:
p. 89 - Adelson described as a "would-be mogul" who "irked Wynn"
p. 93 - Adelson is "warring with Wynn"
p. 209 - Adelson described as Wynn's "nemesis and neighbor"
p. 250 - The "eccentric" Adelson takes Sands public and is "catapulted from obscurity to number 19 on the Forbes 400" (Hello?? COMDEX, anyone? This guy was hardly obscure pre-Sands; his success was far from the luck and accident implied here).
p. 271 - 272 - Wynn takes a moment to "pity" Adelson...'It's too bad he's not in better health and able to enjoy it more. He's in a wheelchair.' That's cold, man.
p. 276 - "Loveman lost the Singapore bid to Sheldon Adelson." Adelson didn't win it, right? Loveman lost it. It's like Adelson and team had no role and won by default. Hardly.
I've not cherry-picked the negative references - those are the ONLY references! Juvenile stuff. What a shame.