Magna Cum Laude: How Frank Stronach Became Canada's Best-Paid Man (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/3/4
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The first biography of one of Canada’s most elusive and controversial billionaires.
This is a solid, thorough business book about Frank Stronach, Canada’s most famous rags-to-riches story. The outline is well known: a young Austrian immigrant arrives in Canada in 1955 with fifty dollars in his pocket. He takes menial jobs like washing dishes until he can start a tiny machine shop in Toronto in 1957. The Auto Pact opens up the car-parts business. The company grows and grows, spawning many small union-free factories, until from its Aurora base it employs more than seventy thousand people, and Frank as chairman and owner can pay himself over $54 million in salary.
Yet Wayne Lilley’s book will be the very first about this eccentric, larger than life figure. As a result of dogged research, he has built up a detailed, step-by-step picture of how Magna grew — and recovered from the brink of disaster in 1990, to its present gigantic size.
It’s an amazing story of business success, stranger than fiction, that along the way takes us into the world of car-making, of horse racing (Stronach owns more than 1,000 thoroughbreds and 11 tracks in North America), and of politics (where Frank and his daughter Belinda have both played a role). Yet all the while a shareholders’ 2006 lawsuit against Stronach’s control of the company is ticking like a time bomb . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
“A judicious, balanced, lively trip through Frank’s balance sheets.” — Globe and Mail
“Lilley’s research is exhaustive, without being excessive. . . . Magna Cum Laude is a fascinating account of the juggernaut that’s Frank Stronach.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Wayne Lilley [is] a seasoned business observer who has been writing about Stronach and his $23-billion business empire for decades. . . . The author has done his homework.” — National Post
From what was the opening of a machine shop two years later became a multi-billion dollar corporation in car-making and Thoroughbred racing. If there was ever a businessman who needed a biography done on his life, Stronach certainly goes to that winner's circle.
Author Wayne Lilley utilizes his research and sources accumulated over the years as a business reporter to present the best public picture ever presented of Stronach and his businesses in this "unauthorized" biography.
Stronach is known for keeping a very low profile and it certainly is within his purview not to cooperate with an author or any person in the media. But for Magna Cum Laude to be attacked by a company spokesman for inaccuracies is a bit disingenuous.
For a reader who knows Stronach through his track ownership and Thoroughbred farms in the United States, the book may be just a bit premature. He has had recent successes with new tracks slated for construction in California and Pennsylvania & may be part of the ownership group to operate the Thoroughbred franchise in New York.
But the "new" Gulfstream Park (Florida) took numerous hits from patrons and the slots plan has had to be scaled back due to a continuing adverse climate in state government. There are a list of tracks that are for sale - if only partially - and Stronach has had difficulty in maneuvering through the minefield that is politics at the local, state and federal levels.
Many of these issues will be played out in 2007, hence additional material may be needed in a future edition. And if that is the case, I hope Stronach will find the time to sit down with Lilley to add even more punch to this excellent book.