Family Wars: The Real Stories behind the Most Famous Family Business Feuds

Family Wars: The Real Stories behind the Most Famous Family Business Feuds

by Grant Gordon, Nigel Nicholson


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Many of the world's greatest businesses are family owned, and with this comes the threat of family feuding, sibling rivalries, and petty jealousies. Family Wars takes readers behind the scenes on a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs of some of the biggest family-run companies in the world, showing how family in-fighting has threatened to bring about their downfall. Covering families such as Ford, Gucci, McCain, Guinness, Gallo, and Redstone, Family Wars is an astonishing expose of the way families do business and how family in-fighting can threaten to blow a business apart. Whether it's Brent Redstone's court case with his father and sister or the family feud over Henry Ford's $350 million trust fund, the book reveals the origins, the extent, and finally the resolution of some of the most famous family feuds in recent history. Family Wars also provides valuable advice for anyone involved in a family business, offering suggestions on how to avoid such problems.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780749460556
Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
Publication date: 04/28/2010
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nigel Nicholson has been honored by the American Academy of Management for his contribution to business theory and method.  He is a professor at the London Business School, where he leads the Family Business Research Initiative.  A former journalist, he is a frequent commentator in the media on business affairs and has published 15 books and over 200 articles.

Grant E. Gordon is the Director General for the Institute for Family Business. He is a fifth generation member and Non-Executive Director of William Grant & Sons, a family business that changed over from family to non-family leadership in 2000.

Table of Contents




1.          Family wars    


2.          The ideas: the roots of family warfare         

            Families at war; The roots of conflict; Gene politics and the family firm; Family dynamics; Culture and personality


3.          Brothers at arms       

            Introduction; Koch Industries – destructive redress; The Reliance story – the myth of unity; The Dassler family – racing for supremacy; The Mondavi family – a bitter cup; The Gallo family – vintage conflicts


4          Fighting for the crown          

            Introduction; The McCains – when the chips are down; IBM – the Watsons, Senior and Junior; Bata Shoe – a struggle for strategy


5          The house that hubris built

            Introduction; The Ford family –­ parental oppression; The Dart Group – an excess of willpower; Château d’Yquem – the perils of condescension; The Redstone family – the leader’s iron grip; Solid Waste and the Waxman family – greed, deception and destruction


6          Heads in the sand – the insularity trap         

            Introduction; The Guinness story – sliding into scandal; The Sakowitz story – the unchecked leader; The Steinberg story – falling apart, together; The Louisville Times and the Binghams – losing the legacy; Seagram and the Bronfmans – the runaway leader


7          Schism – to have or have not?

            Introduction; Pritzker – fighting for the spoils; The LA Times Group and the Chandlers – the centrifugal family; Freedom Communications and the Hoiles – a battle for control; The Pathak family – spice wars


8          Un-civil war    

            Introduction; U-Haul and the Shoens – a shattered dynasty; The Gucci family – a tragic Italian opera


9          The spoils of war and the price of peace      

            From poisoned roots to the fruits of success – the essential lessons of warfare; Warning signs and practical measures; In praise of conflict




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From the Publisher

"Will inspire readers to institute processes for governance and communication that can prevent a feud from festering." — Family Business Magazine

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