Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty

Overview

From the founders of the international health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson in the late 1800s to the contemporary Johnsons of today, such as billionaire New York Jets owner Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, all is revealed in this scrupulously researched, unauthorized biography by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer. Often compared to the Kennedy clan because of the tragedies and scandals that had befallen both wealthy and powerful families, Crazy Rich, based on scores of exclusive, ...

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Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty

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Overview

From the founders of the international health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson in the late 1800s to the contemporary Johnsons of today, such as billionaire New York Jets owner Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, all is revealed in this scrupulously researched, unauthorized biography by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer. Often compared to the Kennedy clan because of the tragedies and scandals that had befallen both wealthy and powerful families, Crazy Rich, based on scores of exclusive, candid, on-the-record interviews, reveals how the  dynasty's vast fortune was both intoxicating and toxic through the generations of a family that gave the world Band-Aids and Baby Oil. At the same time, they've been termed perhaps the most dysfunctional family in the fortune 500. Oppenheimer is the author of biographies of the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Hiltons and Martha Stewart, among other American icons.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

To call Johnson & Johnson a corporate giant is a radical understatement: With revenues of 65 billion dollars a year and assets exceeding 113 billion dollars, this medical and pharmaceutical behemoth continues to thrive despite numerous scandals and several huge payment settlements. This unauthorized book by astute watcher of the rich famous Jerry Oppenheimer (Madoff with the Money; Martha Stewart) bares the savvy business strategies and gnarly legal struggles of this firm, but it will keep many readers turning pages even more eagerly with its accounts of Johnson family marriage drama and personal scandals. A ripe history of "the most dysfunctional family in the Fortune 500."

Publishers Weekly
In his latest breathless tell-all, Oppenheimer (author of unauthorized biographies of Martha Stewart, the Hilton family, Anna Wintour, and others) trains his gaze on the Johnsons, the cursed Kennedies of pharmaceuticals—a family who, with every generation, find themselves at the center of celebrity and political scandal. From the very start, the Johnson clan courted controversy by smashing rivals and famously stealing Florence Nightingale's logo for the Red Cross. Since then, they've been plagued by misery, corruption, and misfortune (despite amassing a substantial fortune). Oppenheimer provides a wealth of salacious and sometimes tragic material—from Casey Johnson's recent breakdown and death, to the parade of outlandish characters who have married into the family (including the housekeeper-turned-dowager Barbara Piasecka Johnson, who died this past April 1) and the transformation of Robert "Woody" Johnson IV from playboy to Republican powerbroker, football mogul, and philanthropist. The book is an impressive example of journalistic synthesis, bringing together bits of tabloid journalism not usually connected (playing celebrity connect-the-dots is half the book's fun) around a strong narrative core. The lurid, occasionally clumsy writing is matched by a real sadness for a family whose money can buy influence and power, but comes with costly personal consequences. (July)
From the Publisher
"Oppenheimer follows the clan of dysfunctional Band-Aid and baby-powder millionaires through the adulterous affairs, ugly divorces, drug and alcohol addictions, tragic accidents, suicide attempts, paternity disputes, will contests, and other turmoil as the family reaps the rewards of inheritance through privilege, opulence, and excess, for better and for worse." —-Booklist Starred Review
Library Journal
Oppenheimer, who's offered unauthorized peeks at Hillary and Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, Jerry Seinfeld, and the Hilton family and landed on the best sellers lists for his troubles, here looks at the heirs of the Johnson megamillions and comes up with enough sex, suicide, and scandal to keep the right readers engrossed until all hours of the night.
Kirkus Reviews
A prolific biographer of the rich and infamous, Oppenheimer (Madoff with the Money, 2009, etc.) digs into five generations of the Johnson family, "the most dysfunctional family in the Fortune 500." Founded in 1887 by three Johnson brothers, Johnson & Johnson became synonymous with products such as Band-Aids and baby powder. The author occasionally reveals corporate strategies and secrets but mostly focuses on the members of the extended Johnson family, detailing their mind-boggling personal wealth. Hundreds of names come and go throughout the narrative, with Oppenheimer concentrating on 15 blood relatives, their spouses and business partners. The book is largely a fast-paced chronicle of births, courtings, marriages, divorces, estrangements, bitter lawsuits, drug and alcohol abuses, crimes, memorable deaths and other unpleasantness. After the first generation, members of the Johnson family found it difficult to decipher whether outsiders cared about them for their personalities or only for their wealth. That kind of doubt can cause havoc with emotional stability, as Oppenheimer demonstrates with frequent salacious details of the lives of his protagonists. As is the case with his other unauthorized biographies, the author usually reveals little about whether his information derives from primary or secondary sources. The writing is clear but often painful to read due to the use of clichés and trite metaphors. One Johnson family member emerges as the chief subject: Robert Wood Johnson IV, a great-grandson of a company founder. Oppenheimer uses the nickname "Woody" to identify the protagonist, frequently coming back to his fundraising for Republican presidential candidates and his ownership of the New York Jets. A gossipy, character-driven saga suggesting that the spoiled rich are their own worst enemies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250049087
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2014
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 232,368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

JERRY OPPENHEIMER is the bestselling author of unauthorized biographies of public figures including Hillary and Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour, Rock Hudson, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, Ethel Kennedy, Jerry Seinfeld, and the Hilton family. In addition to being a biographer he has also worked in several different capacities as a journalist, including as an investigative reporter and a producer of television news programs and documentaries.

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