What a feast right now in terms of Australian business biographies!.
I waxed lyrical a week or two ago about the James Packer story, Who Wants to be a Billionaire?, written by Paul Barry who has made somewhat of a living following the Packers over the decades. We still have a few signed editions left in stock. If you want to get a taste of it all, have a listen to the Booktopia interview with him on our site.
Meanwhile, I’ve just read Richard Pratt, One Out of the Box. While James Kirby and Rod Myer don’t quite have the pulling power of Barry, they do a fine job of reminding us just what a complex, influential and interesting man Richard Pratt was. Worth $5.48 billion last year, Richard Pratt was a stalwart of the Melbourne arts, business and sporting field, and while his enormous expansion of his father’s packaging business Visy was perhaps his greatest achievement, he will unfortunately be remembered as much for the humiliating price fixing scandal that earned his company the largest corporate fine in Australia’s history. Combine that with stewardship of Carlton Football Club, his less than conventional personal life, and his generous and varied philanthropic projects, it all makes for a fascinating read.
Next up, the John Ilhan story, A Crazy Life. Crazy John – another rags to riches migrant story, another story of taking on the big guys and forcing a place at the table. I haven’t quite got to that one yet but there was an interesting backgrounder on TV last week, (you need to search the site under his name) focusing on both his legacy and the wife and four children he left behind after his premature death from a heart attack at the age of 41 two years ago.