In this issue
The distraught young widow sought my help after suddenly finding herself in charge of her late husband's global shipping empire. As she rushed anxiously toward my desk, I couldn't help noticing that, beneath her coat, she was wearing nothing but a bra and panties.
The inheritor's journey
Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth:
A Life Guide for Inheritors
By Thayer Cheatham Willis
New Concord Press, Portland, Ore., 2003
201 pp., $25
Reviewed by Dennis T. Jaffe
The failure rate of family firms—fewer than 12% survive to the third generation—dismays many entrepreneurs. Yet even the biggest non-family firms are no safer from the Grim Reaper. Some 70% of the original 1955 Fortune 500 companies are gone today, barely two generations later.
All companies, like their human founders, follow a predictable life cycle:
The man from the restaurant consulting firm walked into my office, where I sat hunched over my desk. He hesitated for a moment, then asked to meet with Courtney.
“That's me,” I said.
As I glanced over his paperwork, which he had slid across my desk, I felt him staring at me.
“So,” he said slowly. “You own the restaurant?”
I didn't look up. “Yup.”
“With your family?” he inquired. I raised my eyes with a look that would have killed any reasonably intelligent man who had ever encountered an angry woman.