The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors

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9780471395232: The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors
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The roller-coaster life of the flamboyant creator of General Motors

William C. Durant did big things the big way: he overreached, but, until his final failure, he picked up the pieces time after time to confound his competitors. From a turbulent childhood in the small town of Flint, Michigan, to his phenomenal success in creating General Motors, Durant's meteoric career easily rivals the success stories of modern legends like Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, and Bill Gates. With his trademark smile and personal charisma, Durant assembled General Motors in a few short years, buying companies at the rate of one every thirty days. Durant's deal-making artistry even tempted Henry Ford, and had Durant upped his acquisition price Ford would be a division of GM today.

Durant's story illuminates the conflict between innovation and control of innovation -of the uneasy alliances struck again and again between inventors and their sources of capital. His years of heady success building General Motors were marked by epic struggles with bankers. But he depended on only a few sources of big money to finance his exploding business, and pitted himself against forces he underestimated or refused to consider. Gambling on a run on GM stock, he was finally forced into a buyout that ousted him from his role in the GM empire.

Into the dramatic tale of this early twentieth-century mogul come the fascinating automotive pioneers -Henry Ford, David Buick, Charles Nash, Albert Champion, Louis Chevrolet, and Alfred P. Sloan. On Wall Street, J. P. Morgan turned down Durant's request for a loan while Pierre du Pont invested in Durant's expansion. Tracing the fortunes of a man and his era, The Deal Maker is a fast-paced, rousing tale of Durant's dizzying success and ultimate failure.

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Long before Ted Turner and Steve Case, a flamboyant dreamer named William Crapo Durant was assembling innovative corporate empires that would rival any. After growing a Flint, Michigan, carriagemaker into one of the biggest players in a booming industry, Durant got caught up in the automotive frenzy sweeping the world and in 1908 established General Motors by acquiring a stable of existing carmakers (including Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac) as well as parts companies and manufacturing plants. In The Deal Maker, experienced biographer Axel Madsen goes behind the scenes to detail also the financial setbacks that soon cost Durant control of GM, the partnership with Louis Chevrolet that led to formation of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, his triumphant reestablishment at the top of GM (and second embarrassing fall from power), the formation and failure of his alternative automaker, Durant Motor, and, finally, the enormous stock-market victories he enjoyed before his complete financial destruction in the 1929 crash. The Durant that Madsen reveals is a business visionary truly worth getting to know, the "Great Gatsby of carmaking" who understood the big picture but lacked the personal patience and managerial skills necessary for long-term success. --Howard Rothman

From the Back Cover:

The roller-coaster life of the flamboyant creator of General Motors

"A well-written biography."—New York Times

"A well-executed glimpse of one of the giants of the automobile industry."—Publishers Weekly

Long before Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, and Bill Gates, there was William C. Durant (1861–1947), the flamboyant businessman who made deals at warp speed to build General Motors and the automotive industry. Now in paperback, The Deal Maker brings Durant, a self-starter obsessed with making it and being seen as making it, to thrilling life. Thriving on the art of the deal, Durant was buying companies at the rate of one every thirty days at the height of his career. By 1910, he had brought together twenty-five automobile firms into what would become the General Motors empire. Then, gambling on a run on GM stock, Durant was forced into a buyout, which unseated him from GM, leaving him without the financial wherewithal to ever succeed again. Featuring some of the most important figures in the history of the automotive industry and American business, including Henry Ford, David Buick, Albert Champion, Louis Chevrolet, Alfred P. Sloan, and Pierre Du Pont, The Deal Maker is a fast-paced, rousing tale of Durant’s dizzying success and abject failure.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780471283270: The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors

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ISBN 10:  0471283274 ISBN 13:  9780471283270
Publisher: Wiley, 1999
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9780756783129: Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors

Diane ..., 1999
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