A Curious Discovery: An Entrepreneur's Story

Overview

A Curious Discovery is one of the most complete and honest accounts of entrepreneurship and the building of a giant corporation ever written. Media visionary John Hendricks takes the reader on his unforgettable journey from founding Discovery Communications over a breakfast table to establishing the organization as the world's largest provider of television content. Hendricks tells this remarkable story—from the triumphs to the failures—with unflinching candor. In the process, he shares what he's learned over the...

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A Curious Discovery: An Entrepreneur's Story

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Overview

A Curious Discovery is one of the most complete and honest accounts of entrepreneurship and the building of a giant corporation ever written. Media visionary John Hendricks takes the reader on his unforgettable journey from founding Discovery Communications over a breakfast table to establishing the organization as the world's largest provider of television content. Hendricks tells this remarkable story—from the triumphs to the failures—with unflinching candor. In the process, he shares what he's learned over the past three decades, from the obstacles and successes of the early years to the very real and very different challenges that exist today. The result is not only a powerful autobiography and corporate history, but also a valuable primer for all budding entrepreneurs.

A Curious Discovery goes behind the scenes, telling the fascinating stories of some of the network's most popular shows: Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, The Crocodile Hunter, Planet Earth, Dirty Jobs, and Trading Spaces. It also draws lessons from the network's setbacks, including the unsuccessful collaboration with the New York Times, and explains the company's high-profile decisions, such as Discovery's partnership with Oprah Winfrey and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Hendricks reveals that his achievements would not have been possible without one crucial factor that has informed his life since childhood: curiosity. Ever eager to learn, to uncover—even to take enormous risks—his questioning mind has guided his development and success, and continues to shape his outlook today as he works to improve education around the world.

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  • A Curious Discovery
    A Curious Discovery  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1984, Hendricks had ,000 of debt on his wife’s American Express card and took all but out of his family’s bank account to fund an audacious idea for a cable channel that features science and education programming. A blend of memoir, business guide, media history, and adventure, Hendrick’s story is proof that entrepreneurship is a socially approved form of gambling. Discovery Communications is now a near-ubiquitous media shark, with shows such as Mythbusters, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Planet Earth, and Trading Spaces. Hendricks built an empire out of his college fundraising experience, charm, and enviable prescience, in spite of his lack of real media experience. He boasts that he saw it all coming: DVR, Internet television, and e-books. Hendricks’s confidence and delusional optimism is absolutely contagious. It would be great if, as he claims, Discovery’s educational program is the key to solving a host of problems, from terrorism in the U.S. to poverty in Africa. Hendricks has proved his willingness to go “all in,” and maybe we all need a little bit of his kind of crazy to make our dreams reality. 8p b&w photo insert. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (July)
Robert Redford
“John Hendricks’ story is quintessentially American, and yet he ended up bringing to millions the diversity and excitement of the world. In A CURIOUS DISCOVERY he tells a terrific story rooted in the 20th Century but exploding into the 21st.”
Bill Clinton
“A CURIOUS DISCOVERY is a fascinating look at our ever-evolving media landscape and a practical guide for purpose-driven, made-in-America prosperity.”
Kirkus Reviews
A memoir from Hendricks, the founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, the world's leading educational communications and TV company, which boasts more than 400 million subscribers living in 215 countries. The author tells how he built the basis for his present dreams to provide educational TV services to the 400 million households worldwide that lack electricity by working through the world's village schools. He describes how he had been drawn to the educational power of TV as a child growing up in Alabama in the 1950s. Moving into public service as one of the first lobbyists at the federal level for university programs and then the founder of a newsletter company servicing academic science programs, Hendricks recalls how he prepared for the opportunity that would present itself in September 1982, when he founded "Cable Educational Network," the predecessor to the Discovery Channel. The author had accumulated insight into the world of documentary films, cable TV and the broadcasting system, as well as the untapped potential of 25 percent of viewers whose interest in scientific and other factual content was going unaddressed, which Hendricks calls "the magic number that would one day create a multibillion-dollar industry." The author also shares his own view of the characteristics that shape a successful entrepreneur. For Hendricks, the key has always been curiosity, which he views as "the fuel of human progress," something that can be taught "to anyone, at any age, anywhere in the world." Recruiting the people and raising the finances to build the capacity called on still other qualities, which the author's narrative helps bring out. Hendricks also explores the economics of cable broadcasting and where the technology of global educational TV is headed. An interesting tale of how curiosity and entrepreneurship merged to transform TV and education.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062128553
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 371
  • Sales rank: 994,464
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

John S. Hendricks is the founder of Discovery Communications, the world's number one nonfiction media company, and serves as chairman of the Board of Directors. Hendricks has been the driving force behind the company's dramatic growth, including the expansion of Discovery Communications from its core property, Discovery Channel, to current global operations in more than 215 countries with 150 networks, among them TLC, Animal Planet, and Science. He lives in Maryland.

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