Testosterone Inc: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild

Testosterone Inc: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild

by Christopher M. Byron, Angela Byron

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Praise for Testosterone Inc.

"A best bet if you are looking for a business book in the mold of a novel by Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, or Olivia Goldsmith . . . while there is a remarkable amount of business history, there is enough talk of divorces and other aspects of personal lives to justify taking this to the beach."
—The New York


Praise for Testosterone Inc.

"A best bet if you are looking for a business book in the mold of a novel by Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, or Olivia Goldsmith . . . while there is a remarkable amount of business history, there is enough talk of divorces and other aspects of personal lives to justify taking this to the beach."
—The New York Times

"Entertaining and eye-opening . . . rarely do we get such a well-documented and readable account of such unacceptable behavior among those at the top of American business."

"Cheeky, mesmerizing, and sometimes out-of-bounds . . . Byron will have you shaking your head in amazement by the time you finish Testosterone Inc."

"Unearths tantalizing stories of bad behavior."
—USA Today

"Irresistible, wonderfully well written, superbly documented. . . .This book is a fabulous read."
—The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Byron does a remarkable job of supplying the social, political, and business background in which these four repulsive individuals pursued their quests for wealth and fame. But it is the testosterone content of the book that keeps the reader riveted. This is basically a book about greedy, powerful men trying to fulfill their adolescent fantasies by taking mistresses and divorcing their wives to marry younger women."
—Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

"Combines an understanding of balance sheets with an ear for gossip and an eye for human failings."
—Daily Telegraph (UK)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…unputdownable…as gripping as any thriller…gasp in disbelief…” (Reading Chronicle, September 2004)

“…the raciest business book you’ll read all year…” (Business Eye, August 2004)

“For a pacy, racy, throwaway beach read, Testosterone Inc. scores highly.” (CFO Europe, July 2004)

"...while there is a remarkable amount of business history, there is enough talk of divorces...to justify taking this to the beach.” (The New York Times, July 11, 2004)

"...entertaining and eye-opening..." (Barron's, June 7, 2004)

"...unearths tantalizing stories of bad behavior ." (USA TODAY, June 1, 2004)

Even before this business columnist's new book was released, the publisher was fielding calls from Jack Welch's lawyer—and that was just for the cover. The next 402 pages should really interest them. Byron, whose last book was the best-seller "Martha Inc.," is known for dishing. In his tales of "CEOs gone wild," even the mightiest corporate giants—Welch, Al Dunlap, Dennis Kozlowski and Ron Perelman—succumb to the most basic urges, falling victim to greed, gluttony—or a temptress in a tight dress. "Testosterone" reads like a juicy novel but, as its elaborate footnotes remind readers, the stories are true. (Or, at least, they've yet to be contested in court). (Newsweek, May 17, 2004)

This is surely a first - a glandular history of how big shot CEOs ran their companies variously into ridicule and bankruptcy and themselves into criminal prosecution and infamy.
Christopher Byron, author of the scathing story of convicted felon Martha Stewart, Martha Inc., has trumped that book with this account of the foibles of a gang of four once-esteemed, now ridiculed CEOs. In the cast are "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap, who destroyed Sunbeam Inc.;, Dennis Kozlowski, who awaits retrial after a jury got hung on the question of his guilt in sucking $800 million in personal benefits out of Tyco; Ron Perelman, who used junk bonds to take over Revlon and Revlon to assault Hollywood and not a few blondes; and Jack Welch, who used his brains, personality, and utter lack of restraint to wrest a king's fortune of personal benefits out of General Electric and to give a pretty big fortune to his ex-wife when discovered doing legovers with the editrix of the Harvard Business Review.
With superb scholarship and a novelist's sense of character, Mr. Byron takes his reader into the antics of his cast. He reveals that Al Dunlap, a "beast" as he calls him, wouldn't even buy maternity clothes for his wife or togs for his baby. An artiste both in accounting and issuing pink slips, Al fired everybody in sight, got his factories to turn out barbecues that he shipped out to retailers who didn't want them and would not pay, later rented warehouses to hold all the unsold inventory, then showed the unsold things as sold and paid for. When his financial knitting was undone, Sunbeam unraveled like a cheap suit. Had the board that hired him done their homework, they would have discovered a sociopath who had done much the same thing in a former job at a paper company.
The information about Dunlap and most of what Mr. Byron reveals about Messrs. Welch, Perelman and Kozlowski is known and in the public record. But the motivation - how these guys let their pants do their thinking for them - is instructive for investors.
It is an old adage that when the head of a major industrial company or any outfit doing something intrinsically dull figures he'll sell out and buy a movie studio, what is really going on is that the CEO wants to hump some stars. Think of how Edgar Bronfman dumped chemical maker DuPont and went to Hollywood and lost most of his family's money in movies and Vivendi and you get the point.
Irresistible, wonderfully well written, superbly documented, Testosterone Inc. is a book that can drive any investor to shudders. A few spelling errors in French, in Mafia terminology like consigliore (sic) and the name of a swank New York hotel, the Sherry Netherlands (should be singular) are harmless. A better index would let the reader see how some institutions, such as the Wharton School of Finance, were hatcheries for Wall St. felons). But no matter. This book is a fabulous read. (Toronto Globe & Mail, May 17, 2004)

Imagine, if you will, a supermarket tabloid like, say, the Weekly World News—but devoted exclusively to business celebs, with headlines like Scientists Say Larry Ellison Is a Space Alien! and Meg Whitman Is Caught in Secret Love Nest! The rag would naturally sport the cheesy tabs' unique editorial tone, by turns breathless, sniggering, outraged, awed. Got that? Okay, so picture it 375 pages long, minus the space aliens and Meg Whitman, and you have the flavor of Christopher Byron's new book, Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild (John Wiley & Sons). Every now and then a book comes along that is so silly and mean-spirited that it leaves you slack-jawed. This, friends, is one.
It's not that Byron hasn't done his homework. In taking on four big kahunas—Jack Welch, Ron Perelman, Dennis Kozlowski, and Al Dunlap—the author writes that he pored over 15,000 documents, not neglecting divorce files and police reports. Oh, boy. But it turns out all that due diligence was a fig leaf for Byron's true obsession: sleazy sex lives of the rich, here gleefully served up with a big dollop of self-righteousness. Rich and powerful men behave badly, he intones, because at "approximately the 144th month of life ... testosterone levels in males simply shoot off the chart." Okay, but if that happens in all males, doesn't that make these four just human? Byron's whole premise suggests that these guys' shenanigans were caused by sky-high testosterone, but who can say? Certainly not Byron: None of his victims would let him get close enough for an interview, let alone a blood test.
Footnotes abound, and Byron tucks many of his wilder suppositions—such as one alleging that Jack Welch's new wife, Suzy Wetlaufer, attempted to "improve and upgrade" the background of Jack's ex-wife Jane—into them. Wetlaufer declined to comment, and that seems to have been a smart call. After all, would you talk to the Weekly World News? – Anne Fisher (Fortune Magazine, May 17, 2004)

“Combine[s] an understanding of balance sheets with an ear for gossip and an eye for human failings.” (Daily Telegraph, 8 May 2004)

“New York journalist Christopher Byron lays bare the sexual antics of America’s most celebrated business heroes.” (Daily Telegraph, 5 May 2004)

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.13(d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER BYRON has been writing about business and finance for over thirty years. He is author of the international and New York Times bestseller, Martha Inc., writes a weekly business column for the New York Post, and is the host of a syndicated daily radio show, Wall Street Wakeup with Chris Byron. He is an analyst on Good Morning America, and appears frequently on CNBC, FOX News Network, MSNBC, and CBS Evening News, among other venues. His articles have appeared in Esquire, Playboy, New York, Worth, Men’s Health, and Travel Holiday magazines. Byron graduated from Yale College and the Columbia University School of Law. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and lives in Connecticut with his family.

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