Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire

Lewis, Reginald F.; Walker, Blair S.

Published by Wiley, 1994
ISBN 10: 0471042277 / ISBN 13: 9780471042273
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Synopsis: "Voyages deep into the frenzied, complex world of LBO transactions."—BusinessWeek.

"Sheds light on an important chapter in both African-American and American business history."—Earl G. Graves, Publisher, Black Enterprise magazine.

When Reginald Lewis was six years old, his grandparents asked his opinion about employment discrimination against blacks. Reg replied simply, "Why should white guys have all the fun?" Why, indeed! Lewis grew up to become the wealthiest black man in history and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, reigning over a commercial empire that spanned four continents. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated at $400 million.

"Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" traces Lewis's rise from a working- class neighborhood in east Baltimore to Harvard Law School and ultimately into the elite circle of Wall Street deal-makers. Expanding on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, journalist Blair Walker completes a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined man with a razor-sharp tongue—and an intellect to match. He shows how Lewis's lifelong hunger for wealth and personal glory fueled his success on the playing field, in the classroom, and in the boardroom. Walker also provides a rare insider's view of Lewis, the iron-willed negotiator and brilliant business strategist in action as he finesses one phenomenal deal after another.

A moving saga of personal courage and determination as well as a virtual how-to book for those who would like to follow in Lewis's footsteps, "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" is every bit as memorable as the man whose story it tells.

From the Inside Flap: "Why should white guys have all the fun?" One of Reginald Lewis’s earliest childhood memories was of hearing his grandparents talk of employment discrimination against African-Americans. When asked for his opinion on the subject, six-year-old Reg simply replied: "Why should white guys have all the fun?" Why, indeed! This precociously self-assured boy would grow up to become the wealthiest black man in history and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. Profiled in Forbes magazine as one of the four-hundred wealthiest businesspeople in America, Lewis reigned over a commercial empire spanning four continents. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated by Forbes to be in excess of $400 million. Having apprenticed in the art of the leveraged buyout while head of his own successful Wall Street law firm, he went on to mastermind some of the most spectacular deals ever, including the $1 billion purchase of food giant Beatrice International—one of the largest leveraged buyouts ever. A noted art collector and connoisseur, he was also a celebrated philanthropist who gave away a vast fortune to charity. Yet despite the notoriety surrounding Lewis’s financial coups, until now, little has been written about the life of this remarkable but private man. Based on Reginald Lewis’s unfinished autobiography as well as scores of interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" cuts through the myth and media hype to reveal the man behind the legend. What emerges is a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined individual with a razor-sharp tongue—and an intellect to match—who would settle for nothing less than excellence from himself and others. Tracing Lewis’s rise from an east Baltimore working-class neighborhood to Harvard Law School and ultimately into the elite circle of Wall Street deal-makers, journalist Blair Walker shows how Lewis’s lifelong hunger for wealth and personal achievement drove him to success at whatever he turned his hand to. Walker also provides us with a rare insider’s view of Lewis, the iron-willed negotiator and brilliant business strategist in action as he finesses one phenomenal deal after another. An inspiring tale of a remarkable man’s victory against overwhelming odds, "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" is a book as memorable as the man whose story it tells.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How ...
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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Reginald F. Lewis; Blair S. Walker
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Lewis, Reginald F., Walker, Blair S.
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Book Description John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: Very good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very good. Second printing. xvii, 318 pages. Illustrations. Sources Interviewed. Index. Signed by co-author. Inscription signed by Blair Walker. Lewis' biography "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" was co-authored by former USA Today business writer Blair Walker and made the Best Seller list of Business Week when published in 1994. This inspirational story of one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs of our time tells how Reginald Lewis created a billion-dollar business empire. Rising from a Baltimore ghetto to Harvard Law School and into the elite circle of Wall Street deal makers, he went on to engineer the historic buyout of food giant Beatrice International before his death in January 1993. When six-year-old Reginald Lewis overheard his grandparents talking about discrimination against African Americans, he asked, "Why should white guys have all the fun?" This self-assured child would grow up to become the CEO of Beatrice International and one of the most successful entrepreneurs ever. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated in excess of $400 million and his vast commercial empire spanned four continents. Based on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, as well as interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, this book cuts through the myth and hype to reveal the man behind the legend. In 1965, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a summer school program at Harvard Law School to introduce a select number of black students to legal studies. Reginald lobbied for his acceptance and got in. He made such an impression that Lewis was invited to attend Harvard Law School that fall - the only person in the 148-year history of the school to be admitted before applying. During his third year at Harvard Law, Lewis discovered the direction his career would take as the result of a course on securities law. His senior year thesis on mergers and acquisitions received an honors grade. After graduation (HLS '68), Lewis landed a job practicing corporate law with a prestigious New York law firm . Two years later he-along with a few others-set up Wall Street's first African American law firm. Lewis focused on corporate law, structuring investments in minority owned businesses and became special counsel to major corporations like General Foods and Equitable Life (now AXA). RFL was of counsel to the New York-based Commission for Racial Justice and represented The Wilmington Ten. He was successful in forcing North Carolina to pay interest on the Wilmington Ten bond. A desire to "do the deals myself" led Lewis to establish TLC Group, L.P. in 1983. His first successful venture was the S22.5-million dollar leveraged buyout of McCall Pattern Company. It was a struggling business in a declining industry. Lewis streamlined operations, increased marketing, and led the company to two of the most profitable years in McCall's 113-year history. In the summer of 1987, he sold the company for $65 million, making a 90 to 1 return on his investment. Fresh on the heels of the McCall deal, Lewis purchased the international division of Beatrice Foods (64 companies in 31 countries) in August 1987. The deal was supported by the most powerful investment banker then, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and led by high yield bond king Michael Robert Milken. Lewis, after closing the deal in December 1987, re-branded the corporation as TLC Beatrice International, Inc. At S985 million, the deal was the largest offshore leveraged buyout ever by an American company. Seller Inventory # 60317

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