An Empire Undone: The Wild Rise and Hard Fall of Chris Whittle

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Carol Publishing Group, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 371 pages
Chris Whittle came out of nowhere and started with nothing; he was basically just an ambitious student from the University of Tennessee. A superb salesman, he became America's most talked about entrepreneur in media and education reform, a man with visions of the future. In 1987, before he turned forty, Chris Whittle was wealthy enough - Time Inc. bought half of his company for $185 million - to enjoy a lavish Gatsby-style life. And then his multimillion-dollar empire collapsed. Chris Whittle could sell, but he couldn't manage. He undercut his CEOs. His ego made him think he could do it all. In the end his mismanagement drove his overexpanded company to the brink of bankruptcy. Known for pulling many rabbits out of hats, Chris tried desperately in 1994 to rescue his media empire. He failed. His partners, Time Warner, Associated Newspapers of London, and the Philips Electronics conglomerate of the Netherlands, dethroned him and had a fire sale of all his entrepreneurial inventions - save one, the Edison Project, in which he still held the biggest stake. Now Chris Whittle is launching the first of the Edison schools, with Benno Schmidt managing them, and hopes to win a sizeable share of what he sees as a new $75 billion privately managed public-school industry.

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