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A Passion to Win: Redstone, Sumner

A Passion to Win

Redstone, Sumner

ISBN 10: 0684862247 / ISBN 13: 9780684862248
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2001
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Hard Cover w/ DJ. First Edition (full number line). SIGNED by Sumner Redstone and inscribed by author on bookplate affixed to free front end paper. To ., Warm Regards. Text is clean and solid, no other markings. Covers are blue boards with black cloth. DJ is fresh and not price clipped ($26.00), protected in mylar jacket. Book and DJ condition: Fine. Bookseller Inventory # 5396

Bibliographic Details

Title: A Passion to Win

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A titan of modern media, Viacom Chair-man Sumner Redstone reveals how he battled his way to become the head of one of the world's great media empires, and the richest man in entertainment.
In one of the most fascinating business autobiographies of this or any other year, Sumner Redstone tells the unvarnished story of how he overcame every obstacle to build a vast media and entertainment engine that includes Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon, Blockbuster, Simon & Schuster, and now CBS. A larger-than-life figure in the grand tradition of the Hearsts, Paleys, and Pulitzers, and voted in a recent survey of 600 corporate executives as the number-one most inspiring CEO, this is the man who can truly say, "I am Viacom."
A Passion to Win gives a riveting look behind the scenes at the highly charged negotiations that won Redstone both Viacom and Paramount. The book reveals the intense business calculations and strong emotions of Redstone's head-to-head confrontations with such adversaries as Barry Diller and H. Wayne Huizenga. A Passion to Win takes the reader along on the financial roller-coaster ride that began when Blockbuster went into the tank, risking Redstone's fortune and life's work. By the end of that ride, Redstone had righted his company and revolutionized the video industry. In a world of high-visibility corporate battles, Redstone pulls no punches. This is the man who faced down a pack of thugs when they threatened producer Bob Evans during the filming of The Cotton Club. And this is a book that shows the reader what it takes to win.
Behind it all is the same iron will that helped Redstone to survive a deadly fire at Boston's Copley Plaza Hotel by clinging with one hand to a third-story ledge before being rescued -- with burns so severe over nearly half his body that doctors feared he would die.
Born in a Boston tenement, he graduated first in his class at Boston Latin, went through Harvard in three years, was chosen for a special cryptography unit in the U.S. Army whose assignment was to crack Japanese codes during World War II, then, after Harvard Law School, successfully pleaded cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court -- all of this before embarking on his astounding business career.
Never before has Sumner Redstone revealed himself so candidly, and now, with the assistance of writer Peter Knobler (who co-wrote attorney Daniel Petrocelli's bestseller Triumph of Justice, about the O.J. Simpson civil suit), he has produced an inspirational life story that will command major attention.

Review:

Sumner Redstone should be dead. At least that's what the prologue to his autobiographical tale of business trial and triumph reveals, relating the story of Redstone's narrow escape and painful recovery from a Boston hotel fire in 1979. It might also be what some of Redstone's business adversaries secretly wish after reading this revealing book. Much has been written about the man in control of the Viacom empire, but in A Passion to Win, the consummate winner spills the beans on how he got to where he is, who stood in his way, and what drives him to succeed.

Redstone began life in a hardscrabble Boston neighborhood in the early 1920s, the son of a Jewish entrepreneur and a woman determined to see her children excel. Instilled with a drive to succeed at an early age, Redstone went from the academically tough Boston Latin School to Harvard to a military career breaking Japanese codes during World War II. After the war, he went back to Harvard for law school, then spent the next seven years immersing himself in a profession based on reason and justice, ideals that he claims hold his life together. Realizing that practicing law was just a business, however, he went on to enter another business arena, joining the movie drive-in company his father had founded and very quickly expanding it, assuming leadership, and changing the company's name to National Amusements. Redstone's story details his experiences at the helm of this company--taking on the big studios by challenging film industry practices like blind bidding; investing heavily in those same studios, often to great profit; gathering the stock-owning clout and financing needed to make a serious bid for Viacom; battling fiercely to win against the Viacom management group's efforts to take the company private; and finally acquiring the media conglomerate in 1987. Many of the juicy bits lie in tales of Redstone's subsequent years with Viacom, his involvement (initially through MTV) with the Clintons, and the company's acquisition of both Paramount (and the bidding wars that entailed) and Blockbuster (and that deal's ensuing battles with Wayne Huizenga). Redstone is obviously a tough player, not averse to overriding team decisions when he believes in his own vision and not afraid to litigate when he feels unjustly treated--something he's done often, though he claims to hate lawsuits and denies suing "too readily." But he's also book smart and business savvy, and his story offers many tidbits of advice on deal making and power playing when the stakes are high.

A Passion to Win isn't going to win any literary prizes; the writing is simple, and the story unfolds in an often-tedious litany of accomplishments. Indeed, as autobiographies go, this one's tone is rather self-satisfied and can even seem petulant when the author is rehashing what he perceives as the many business wrongs committed against him. But this is a tell-all from a high vantage point in corporate entertainment, and as Redstone's personal account of all that helped and hindered on his way to the heights (jam packed with big-name players in entertainment business, law, finance, and politics), it's sure to be a source of anxiety for some and a titillating read for many. --S. Ketchum

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