Summary of Top Man

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Top Man book summary


8 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Authors Stewart Lansley and Andy Forrester do a good job of crafting the story of Philip Green, who bullied, connived, intimidated, schemed, blustered and outworked his way to the top of the heap in British retailing. The son of "business-obsessed" parents, Green learned the value of driving a hard bargain early in life. He specialized in buying goods at distressed prices so that later he could appear gracious when he sold them for a low price and put a tidy profit in his pocket. As the authors deftly portray, Green was a master of retail haggling. In fact, one disappointment is that the book doesn’t deviate from its "business-icon biography" mode to delve more deeply into the attitudes and techniques that made Green a killer dealmaker. Guile, intimidation and ruthlessness no doubt played major roles. The authors do a thorough, creditable job of telling the inside story of how Green clawed his way to his current rank as Britain’s fifth richest person. At times, however, they focus too much on internal political intricacies that may not interest most readers. That said, recommends this interesting portrait of a retail tycoon whose whims still affect the daily lives of tens of thousands of Brits.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How fashion retail czar Philip Green became the fifth richest man in England;
  • What formative events shaped his life;
  • How he buys and disassembles companies; and
  • How he shook up elitist British retailing.

About the Authors

Stewart Lansley is a former economist and a current television and radio journalist. He is an award-winning BBC executive producer and the author of Poor Britain and After the Gold Rush. Andy Forrester is a television producer and the author of The Man Who Saw the Future, the story of William Paterson, the Scotsman who founded the Bank of England.



The Early Years
British billionaire Philip Green was born in 1952 on the Ides of March, the only son of Simon and Alma Green. His parents lived in Croydon, a district south of London that suffered heavy damage during World War II and was rebuilt in a lack-luster, post-war style. Simon ...

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