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Relentless: The True Story Of The Man Behind Rogers Communications [Paperback]

Ted Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 21 2009

From his earliest days buying Canada’s first FM radio station, CHFI, to developing Rogers Cable, Media and Wireless, Relentless tells the true story of the man who stood alone among Canada’s all-time business giants. Relentless is the amazing story of a young man who overcame the early death of his father—which cost the family a burgeoning radio business—to establish and nurture one of the biggest communications companies in North America.

Relentless, published mere weeks before Ted Rogers’ death in late 2008, is filled with back-room deals, on-air battles and the often outrageous exploits of an extraordinary entrepreneur. The book made headlines coast to coast when it was first published, and Rogers’ passing spawned tributes in newspapers, as well as on radio, Tv and the Internet, in Canada and around the world.


Product Details


Product Description

Quill & Quire

This year the machinery mythologizing the high rollers of capitalism is grinding mightily, with the focus turning to media magnates. Donald Trump still holds court on television’s The Apprentice; there’s a new biography of William Randolph Hearst by Maclean’s editor Ken Whyte; and two books about corporate daredevil Richard Branson are already in stores. Now the spotlight is being turned on two members of Canada’s media royalty.     Relentless is really three books in one: the story of Ted Rogers’ childhood and schooling, a retelling of his rise to power as head of Rogers Communications, and a brief set of principles for succeeding in business. The first act is certainly the most entertaining of the three. In effect, it is the archetypal orphan story, rewritten to star the young Rogers: Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One set at Toronto’s Upper Canada College. When young Ted’s father dies and his company is taken over by unfaithful business partners led by his wicked uncle, the boy sets himself the goal of rebuilding the elder Rogers’ legacy. A skinny boy at boarding school, he takes to boxing and, despite many a knockdown, perseveres to become a champion. He hooks his first pay-per-view audience in his dormitory by charging fellow boarders to watch the TV programs he captures with a jerry-rigged antenna of his own design.  From there, the book descends into a plodding timeline of investments, business deals, and power plays, punctuated with a litany of A-list name-dropping and astronomical dollar figures. The clichés come fast and thick. Throughout Relentless, Ted Rogers is portrayed as a proud Canadian, a maverick, a self-made man, and so on. More than anything, Rogers strives to be seen as a simple man, a desire highlighted by statements like, “I don’t use long words because I can’t pronounce them properly and I don’t know what they mean.” But these bids for everyman credibility come off as comedic rather than genuine. Rogers and Brehl are so desperate to paint many different pictures of the mogul that the final image is hopelessly blurred.      Newman’s portrayal of the late Israel Asper is equally flattering: the Izzy of Izzy is a stubborn iconoclast, a populist politico, a nation-building philanthropist, seemingly more concerned with the thrill of the enterprise than with dollars and cents. But Newman does manage to posthumously imbue his subject with an offbeat liveliness. Asper, with his passion for jazz, cigarettes, martinis, and business (in that order), comes across as part scrappy entrepreneur, part buffoon. He signed major deals going on little more than his trademark chutzpah, engaged Conrad Black in business and linguistic dueling, and single-handedly put Winnipeg on Canada’s business map. On the other hand, in true Hearstian fashion, he thought that just because he owned a printing press he could dictate what his papers reported. Newman quotes him as telling his daughter Gail, “Why would I want a paper if I couldn’t determine what it said?”  Unfortunately, Newman’s book falls into the same trap as Rogers’: there is only so much storytelling possible before descending into the nitty gritty of financing, contract-signing, and those other dull necessities of enterprise.   Rogers and Asper are Canadian entrepreneurial icons and both certainly had uncommon business acumen. But the assumption behind chronicling their lives is that these lives – the personas behind the business deals – and the lessons they can teach aspiring entrepreneurs are fascinating in and of themselves. This is where both Relentless and Izzy fall short. Even as primers on corporate success, the books are flawed. They represent the old school of business thinking based on big credit, schmooze-and-booze dealing, and overt political manoeuvering. Asper and Rogers are men who knew what they wanted and worked all their lives to get it. Newman aptly describes their common personality as “visionary workaholic.” But this is hardly groundbreaking. These two books share the predicament of most business bios: they are, ultimately, unnecessary. For better or worse, some men, like Richard Branson, are made for the spotlight, and gladly embrace it. Those who are not, like Izzy Asper and Ted Rogers, should not be thrust into it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

?Ted Rogers touched the lives of countless Canadians outside of his business ventures through his generosity in professional sport, health care and education....we will never forget one of our greatest Canadians.?
? PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER ()

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like a new one March 20 2013
By Roger
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is a used book but seems like a new book. I like Ted Rogers' word from the book "Have you got the solution or are you still part of the problem".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless--recommended reading Nov. 9 2008
By David
Format:Hardcover
Relentless passes all the test for a first-rate business biography, and with flying colours. It is accessible and readable for non-business readers, informative and filled with intriguing surprises about this controversial, ground-breaking innovator. Ted Rogers' candour and fearlessness come through on these pages, and Robert Brehl captures his voice with consummate professional skill.
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Format:Hardcover
"Relentless," Ted Rogers' official authorized biography, is to my knowledge the last work on this notable Canadian businessman released prior to his death late last year. As such, it stands as the final word not just to Mr. Rogers' business acumen and entrepreneurial savvy, but also to his human side: from the tramautic -- and bloody -- eyewitness accounting of his father's death to the humourous anecdotes from his days at Upper Canada College, from his friendship with John Diefenbaker to his dogged fight to regain the former glory of his family's broadcasting empire, the man that was Ted Rogers is revealed in the first person.

Veteran business journalist Robert Brehl, who befriended Mr. Rogers during his years covering Canada's telecommunications industry, lends the deft touch of a professional wordsmith to this testament to a giant of Canadian enterprise, making it easy to read and accessible to all. If you're looking to understand what motivated the man behind one of Canada's most successful communications companies to work as hard as he did -- and take the risks he's famous for taking -- this book is highly recommended.
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