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Nigel Nicholson's new book Family Wars is published this week by Kogan page

10 Mar 2008


789Greed, power-lust, jealousy and treachery, are only a few of the elements which sizzle in the many stories of family businesses told by the authors, Nigel Nicholson of London Business School and Grant Gordon, Director General of the Institute for Family Business.

Family Wars outlines key themes that punctuate the book such as the ‘roots of conflict’, ‘family dynamics’ and ‘culture and individual personality’. After telling the twenty-four stories of family wars, the book closes with the lessons learned, listing twenty ‘warning signs’ and nine ‘risk factors’, showing how businesses should respond to them.

Stories in the book include:

  • The Guinness story: how the family insisted in holding tight to the reins of the business even after they lost touch and interest. This caused the fall of the Guinness dynasty.

  • The Pathak story: a clash of civilizations emerged when the founder’s Westernised daughters challenged their mother’s decision to pass their shares to their brother.

  • The Gucci story: power, treachery, murder – these are the words which summarise the rise and fall of the Gucci family empire.

  • The Gallo wine story: how siblings’ infighting led to a deep family split and life-sapping courtroom drama.

  • The Redstone family story: the Redstones own one of the world’s greatest media empires, incorporating CBS and Viacom. A leader’s untrammelled willpower foreshadows family splits and alienation from the business.