Summary of Media Man

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Media Man book summary


8 Overall

8 Innovation

8 Style


How does a guy who sells billboards create a media empire? In 2001, author Ken Auletta won a National Magazine Award for his profile of media mogul Ted Turner in The New Yorker. In this book, he expands this profile, giving colorful detail about the remarkable life of the colorful, outspoken and complicated business cowboy. Auletta shows that Turner is shocking, abrasive and driven, but he rarely goes more deeply into Turner’s motivations than to explain his rebellion against his father. The book might have been titled The Rise and Fall of the Turner Empire. It chronicles Turner’s revolutionary, meteoric creation of a cable empire, including the nation’s first cable superstation, and the founding of CNN. It follows Turner as Time Inc., gobbles up his thriving company. Auletta takes a hard look at the personalities that engineered the formation of AOL Time Warner, then the world’s biggest media company. Unfortunately, at this point, Auletta becomes preoccupied with the dealmakers and - like AOL TW - places Turner on the back burner. This is just a detour, however, from his compelling portrayal of a corporate superstar who ran his business from his gut. recommends this fascinating read.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Ted Turner built his media empire;
  • How he became the first executive to see the potential of cable and other new technologies;
  • How Turner Broadcasting’s rapid expansion placed it in debt, required it to seek partners and inhibited Turner’s vision; and
  • Why bigger did not mean better for AOL Time Warner or Ted Turner.

About the Author

Ken Auletta has been writing a column about the communications business for The New Yorker since 1992. He wrote four best-selling books, served as a political commentator for WNBC and WCBS in New York, and produced a documentary on Rupert Murdoch. Auletta won a National Magazine Award for his 2001 profile of Ted Turner.



Life with Father
Robert Edward (Ted) Turner III was born in Cincinnati in 1938. His tyrannical father, Ed Turner, was a successful businessman who battled depression. When Ted was 15, his younger sister, Mary Jane, contracted a deadly strain of lupus. He helplessly watched her deteriorate...

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    Penguin Group (USA), 2010


Contained in Knowledge Pack:

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    Media People
    Riddle: how do you seem to know people really well, when you don't know them at all? They are on your TV and in your living room everyday. Now, meet the people who think in the box.

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