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*A Book Review*


By Michael Bloomberg

by Michael C. Gray

November 29, 2000

Michael Bloomberg is a fascinating example of a modern Horatio Alger story. In this book, he describes how he built a huge, privately-held media empire.

His father was an accountant at a dairy and his mother a homemaker. He grew up in the blue-collar town of Medford, Massachusetts.

Michael graduated from Johns Hopkins University and received an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Before it was fashionable for MBAs to work on Wall Street, Michael chose to work at Salomon Brothers. He started selling bonds, and eventually worked in information systems.

During August, 1981, at age 39, as a vice president at Salomon Brothers, he was terminated when Salomon was merged with Phibro Corporation, a commodities trading firm. In the process, Michael received $10 million in cash and convertible bonds.

Michael Bloomberg is a compulsive workaholic. Instead of retiring, he decided to become an entrepreneur.

The securities industry desperately needed to be able to track, in real time, the price activity for securities. Michael was able to persuade Merrill Lynch that he and his employees could develop this capability. Merrill Lynch became a 40% "silent partner" in the venture and committed to buy the equipment. Bloomberg company was (barely) successful in delivering on its commitments to deliver the first Bloomberg terminals.

Today the Bloomberg terminal is the industry standard information device for the securities industry.

After his success in developing the Bloomberg terminal, Bloomberg became determined to become a major provider of international business news. He faced entrenched challengers in Dow Jones & Co. and Reuters. He has successfully established a media empire, including a wire service, on-line news, a book publishing company, a magazine, radio and television shows for public television stations, a radio network, and cable television.

Establishing this enormous business in a short time has required the devoted attention and leadership of a compulsive workaholic - Michael Bloomberg - and like-minded employees.

Michael Bloomberg has paid the expected price. Despite giving obligatory attention to his family, including being home for dinner during weekdays and spending weekends and vacations with his children, his neglected marriage ended in a "civilized" divorce. At this stage of his life, he believes this sacrifice was worth it. Time will tell how he will feel in the end.

There is a lot to learn from studying the career of this remarkable person. Michael Bloomberg has made a tremendous contribution to international business and to the charitable causes that he is interested in. I highly recommend that you read this book.

Buy it on Amazon: Bloomberg by Bloomberg.

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