TimeThe Man with the Iron Grasp.
Los Angeles TimesMister Achiever!
The GuardianStill raising hell!
Financial WorldWhen Sumner Redstone gets going, it's like watching a TV video on fast forward!
Another point of contention is his constant harping of his character and credibility. He claims that they are the bedrock of his existence. OK, what was he doing in Europe photographed with a young woman-although he claims innocence his wife left him after 52 years of marriage. He may have been innocent but his wife had apparently seen enough. Is this character and credibility? His reliance on his credibility is highly selective-Beavis and Butthead are the epitome of character and credibilty?
Also, after he purchased CBS his top 2 lieutinants were being squeezed out of positions. These gentleman were significant players in his building of Viacom and he played dumb in claiming he didn't know they would lose their place after acquiring CBS(they brought it to his attention). Redstone stated that he would call off the deal if they wanted him to do it. PLEASE. We learn plenty about Redstone in the book to realize that nothing stops him from getting what HE wants. After the acquisition, they were gone and he made a great point of saying how rich he had made them.
If you are looking for an objective view of Redstone and his dealings, this is not it. If you are interested in getting in on the inside of some big deals, you may enjoy it. Just bring your weedwacker to cut through Redstone's self serving BS.
It's also clear to me how easy it is confuse a person with the single-minded courage of his convictions with someone who is ruthless. I have known a few people similar to Mr. Redstone, who were similarly single-minded of purpose. When you look closely at these people, the look in their eye in much more about having a vision or goal and thinking intently, "How can I make IT happen?" than it is about "who can I hurt or run over?"
If they do happen to run over people it is usually not done from malice, but because those people are merely in the line of whatever goal they are trying to achieve.
This is not to say that these strong-willed people suffer fools gladly (which they don't) or are not capable of getting even (and then some) after someone else attacks them first. But they don't go out of their way to hurt people without having been hurt by them.
Mr. Redstone also exemplifies how easy it is to become confused about aggression being bad. Tiger Woods is aggressive. Andre Agassi is aggressive. Aggression + Principle = Conviction. Aggression - Principle = Hostility. Aggression is actually admirable, but it needs to be wedded to principle. And Mr. Redstone is a good example of how to be aggressive in the right way.
Read this book as a guide to taking the bull by the horns and taking charge of your life, instead of waiting for life to happen to you.
In this book, Mr. Redstone recalls the long road that led him from drive-in theater projectionist to media mogul. At every twist and turn, Mr. Redstone defeats "incomprehensible" odds to claw his way to the top of his "entertainment" empire. The capstone of this empire was his acquistion of Viacom, and with it, MTV.
Redstone describes with almost messianic fervor how he ignored advice to sell off the fledgling music channel. "I believed that MTV could be a cultural force in America" (page 116). "Young people 12 to 20 were going to become adults of 30 to 40...", "If we attracted them early, we could keep them forever." (page 117).
Well, attract them he did, and anyone who can sit through ten minutes of MTV "programming" can readily appreciate Mr. Redstone's "cultural messages". (Try searching "Shower Rangers" on you favorite browser some time. Thanks, Sumner!).
Even more sinister is the calculating way in which he targets the youngest viewers for his oily propaganda. "I felt much the same way about Nickelodeon and the possibilities in creating a children's brand." (page 117). From cradle to grave, Uncle Sumner had a direct conduit to America's, and then the world's, most impressionable viewers.
But Mr. Redstone does not live in a vacuum. He has children and grandchildren of his own. They grew up with the MTV generation too (Can't you just see Grampa Sumner settling down with the grandbabies to watch some quality rap videos?). Mr. Redstone, however, believes that while "multiculturalism" and "diversity" are just the ticket for the gentiles, his family would attend private schools in Israel.
Towards the closing pages of this book, Mr. Redstone also mentions his wife of 50+ years, as he is in the process of divorcing her. "I took measures to see that she would have no control in the company". Heart warming, ain't it?
I highly recommend this book. As the old proverb goes, "Know thy enemy."