Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty by Jerry Oppenheimer

There's a large enough market for histories and stories about ultra-rich families and their dysfunctional relationships with each other and those around them.  The problem, unfortunately, is contextualizing their stories and drawing in the point of view of the family members themselves when many are no longer of this world.  Much of what 'Crazy Rich' tells us is already well known; Extravagance is a relative word and family members will go to war with each other over money, inheritance, trusts, and relationships.  In that respect 'Crazy Rich' offers little in terms of originality.  The more interesting aspects of the Johnson & Johnson story is the history of the company, the directions various Johnson members took the company, and unfortunately much of that is related through anecdotes with various tangents along the way.  Trying to write such a complex history, with all the dimensions and Johnson family members that influenced the course of the company and family itself, is an impossible task.  While one can applaud the author for what he's tried to do, in many ways he's raised more questions than he's answered.

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