As a six-year-old in post-WWI Germany, John W. Kluge capitalized on price fluctuations to glean candy money from his family's grocery budget. Four years later in Detroit, he organized a lawn-cutting service and expertly managed and maximized its staff. As a teenager, Kluge pursued a scholarship to Columbia University and then challenged his sponsors to double it. He founded and ran two hundred companies, mostly in media, and when it was time to retire, he instead leveraged a deal and became the wealthiest businessman in the world. Kluge has used his money to collect art, fund scholarships, award prizes (such as the biannual, million-dollar John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences), and establish a world-class research institute, the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He continues to scout for opportunities to build businesses and make a difference in the lives of others. Over the course of one summer, Kluge's son, John W. Kluge Jr., interviewed his father about the people and events that influenced his exceptional talents and worldview.
John Kluge: Stories recreates their engaging dialogue, in which two generations revisit childhood tales of a bustling Detroit, youthful explorations at Columbia, and the dramatic experience of serving in the United States Army. Kluge describes how he developed his powerful business acumen and reveals his impressions of fame and power. His stories are accompanied by personal photographs, excerpts from newspapers and magazines, and other ephemera. A man of unwavering ethics and bravery, Kluge is one of the twentieth-century's last business titans. This book captures his extraordinary story, a portrait of a man--and a country--on the rise.
John W. Kluge Jr. is a graduate of Columbia College and works as a research and new media officer in the president's office at the EastWest Institute, New York City. This is his first book.