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Bold Entrepreneur: A Life of James B. Duke

Bold Entrepreneur: A Life of James B. Duke

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Book DescriptionBold Entrepreneur is the scholarly biography of James B. Duke, a man who was more important to Duke University than it was to him or his life. His munificence in underwriting the establishment and permanent support of Duke University cametowards the end of his life, after a long series of remarkable achievements in the business world. Along with such achievements, his great philanthropic actions have earned him a prominent place in history.

James B. Duke, or Buck as his family calledhim, took over the family’s tobacco manufacturing business after his father retired. He also played a key role in the establishment and then management of the British-American Tobacco Company in and after 1901-1902. From the standpoint of business history alone, this was a pioneering and colorful venture. Duke also ventured into Canadian hydroelectricity, a highly creative and bold move that dramatically revealed his entrepreneurial panache and genius.

In this fascinating biography, Durden presents the life of a man who was not only a business genius, but also an avid horticulturist. He spent several million dollars on transforming a large portion of the Duke family farm in New Jersey into a magnificently landscaped park, one of the late Gilded Age’s most magnificent country estates. This is also the biography of a most creative entrepreneurial capitalist, one who, after a lifetime of big business successes, finally turned his talent towards investing in a unique plan for perpetual philanthropy in the Carolinas.