It is almost impossible to read a biography of anyone of any importance in America from the late 1950s & early 60s and not have Bill Paley's name mentioned, he and his wife Babe were that ubiquitous, they seemed to know everyone.
Sadly, this is one of those books that seems so interesting in the first few chapters, one feels so excited with the whole book ahead but then somewhere after the first third it fizzles and never recaptures the initial vibrant feeling. I think that is because in describing his childhood and youth he is more open, once he gets to his adulthood, he is much more guarded about his life and privacy which I can understand however it lacks vividness, reads dull and somewhat lifeless.
Bill was from a prosperous family and with his unique business skill and vision, he skyrocketed that advantage to founding CBS and modernizing radio and television programing. Or at least that's what he says. From reading the reviews of some of the bios on him, he wasn't quite the hero to CBS as he describes himself to be. Of course quite normal to have disparate opinion of oneself compared to how others see you.
He was also firmly entrenched in the jetset crowd as the husband of the famous Babe Cushing Mortimer Paley, and they hung out with Babe's equally famous sister Betsy Cushing Roosevelt Whitney married to high-society's revered member, the famed Jock Whitney. These two couples seem like the ultimate in 1950-60s glamour. And they traveled with their little side-kick Truman Capote, until he betrayed them in Answered Prayers. The oral-biography of George Plimpton's on Truman is a great book and covers this jetset era Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career.
Bill doesn't reveal in this book but he wasn't the most faithful husband and caused I gather some sorrow for his wife Babe. Best to see The Sisters: Babe Mortimer Paley, Betsy Roosevelt Whitney, Minnie Astor Fosburgh : The Lives and Times of the Fabulous Cushing Sisters. But he could also be quite kind, apparently supporting a very old flame, the silent actress Louise Brooks when she ran onto hard times from alcoholism Louise Brooks also an interesting book.
Sometimes a lacking book spurs one to want to learn more about the person from other biographies - however not with Paley, one book is enough. Now his brother-in-law Jock Whitney would be a different story.