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Top Man: How Philip Green Built His High Street Empire Paperback – 8 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (8 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845131681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845131685
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Philip Green was aggressive, flash and cocky. He was very unpopular.' Former schoolmate 'Philip is without doubt the best dealer retail has seen. But no one in management gets on with him for long.' Business colleague 'M&S have yet to meet their judgement day.' Philip Green, on withdrawing his second bid to take over Marks and Spencer 'I just thought you should know that I tore your f**king article out and put it under the cat's arse where it belongs.' Philip Green to a journalist"

About the Author

Andy Forester is a journalist and television producer who has specialised in making business stories accessible to a general audience. His most recent book, The Man Who Saw the Future, is a biography of William Paterson the founder of the Bank of England. Stewart Lansley, formerly an academic economist, is currently an executive producer in the Current Affairs Department of the BBC. His TV and radio work has been nominated for both EMMY and Sony awards and he has written six books, including Poor Britain and After the Gold Rush.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By One view on 13 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
An intresting read but then Green is an intresting character an intresting flawed a character but non the less a major flair player in British power games.

This bio starts as you'd expect with Green's early life. Despite his barrow boy persona readers who know little about his formative years will be surprised to learn of his upper middle class background and his Mother being a catalyst in his first Business venture. The bio ends during the time he launched his audacious bid for control of M&S. There are not too many pages and with a colourful, maverick character as a subject it is a page turner which is accessible to a reader who has no experience of Business. The style is lean and to the point and the writer is fair to his subject although Green is ultimately a somewhat elusive figure in comparison to a more public figure such as Alan Sugar. Despite his sharp piercing wit he gives little a way the writer manages to build up a clear picture of Green and the world he inhibits, in addition laying bare the facts that this country's political system is wrongly in awe of Green and his Business elite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mac McAleer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
This informative and very competent biography of Philip Green was published in 2005 by Lansley and Forrester, who are both business journalists. By 2005 Philip Green had made two unsuccessful attempts at taking over Marks and Spencer. He dominated the High Street by the purchase of Bhs and Arcadia (Top Shop, Burton, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Miss Selfridge), and had converted both from publicly quoted companies to private ones, registered off-shore.

Despite his aggressive manner in business and his infamous use of foul language Philip Green is no East End barrow boy made good but the son of entrepreneurial parents in North London. His formidable mother has been credited with introducing launderettes and self-service petrol stations into the country. Leaving his expensive boarding school with no academic qualifications he spent many years in the shoe and rag trade, not always successfully.

When success came he allowed himself to be bought out by a publicly quoted company. His management style did not change and he treated the public company as a private one. This was unacceptable behaviour and it all ended in tears. From then on he avoided taking any company public.

He has formidable focus on detail, particularly on costs. He often starts at the price-point at which his customers are willing to buy and works backwards up the supply chain whilst retaining quality and style. His early expertise gained importing from Hong Kong has served him well and with high volumes he is able to go into the global manufacturing market place and order direct, cutting out the wholesalers. He is also good at management by walking about and does not live in managerial isolation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By eeoodares on 27 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Well written, well researched and very honest. Mr Green does come across as a ruthless man which is not so suprising. But he appears to have been ruthless from a very early age.
Some early detail is missing, he seems to go from no cash to lots of cash to bankrupt to a millionaire within a few pages and I find those bits more interesting than some of the other more flash bits.
I enjoyed this book, my wife enjoyed it and it is going to be passed on to friends an I believe they will love it.
I would recomend this book as a great read but by the end you might think that Mr Green is more than just a party loving guy who sells cheap dresses to teenagers. Wow, pray he does not come after your business!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Dec. 2005
Format: Hardcover
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, we recommend this interesting portrait of a retail tycoon whose whims still affect the daily lives of tens of thousands of Brits.
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Format: Paperback
I had never heard of Philip Green up until a couple of years ago, not that he is that well known to the general public even now. The most amazing thing about him is how much money he has made in such a short period of time.

They say just over a decade ago he was a rag trader a mere multimillionaire and barely known. He is now worth £4.5 billion and is estimated to be Britain's fifth richest person. He made his first billion in record time and then went on to quadruple his wealth in a few years.

He now owns via a private company Bhs and Burton, Miss Selfridge and Topshop about 2,500 shops in all.

In 2004 he became well known as he tried to take over Marks and Spencer which had been the crown jewels of British retailing but has been languishing for the last few years. It would have cost over £11 billion.

The book explains how he made his money and his drive and determination.

He lives in Monaco and all his wealth is in his wife's name so he pays no taxes on it. He is abrasive, vulgar and uses a lot of expletives. No one would speak about him on the record and the book was unauthorised.

He has had some outrageously expensive birthday bashes where he jets out people to lavish parties.

It was interesting that he had a few friends in his early years that turned out to be less than straight but now the city has taken him to their hearts and they are prepared to lend him money.

Although these books depict successful businessmen as being individualists they always get there by having a team of people they use all the time. No one can make it entirely on their own.

His first few business ventures failed owing a lot of money so not everything he touched turned to gold.
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