In 1988 Forbes magazine hailed Chuck Feeney as the 23rd richest American alive. No one knew until then that he was extremely wealthy. Or was he?
Born during the Depression in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Feeney had made a fortune as co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the world's largest duty-free retail chain. How he did it is one of the great untold retail stories of modern times.
The greater untold story is that Feeney had in fact given away his fortune, in its totality, to endow Atlantic Philanthropies - one of the most generous and secretive philanthropic funds in the world. Atlantic Philanthropies is committed to giving away all its assets - currently they stand at $4 billion - during the next decade, an unprecedented example of the "giving while living" philosophy. Through the achievements of Atlantic Philanthropies, Chuck Feeney's influence has become even more impressive than his wealth.
Feeney is a frugal man who travels economy class and does not own a house or a car. He has largely kept out of the public eye - until now. He has revealed his secret life only because he hopes his story will encourage something in which he passionately believes: that rich individuals have a moral obligation to put their wealth to good use while they are alive.
©2007 Conor O'Clery; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp
"A smart business book detailing some vicissitudes of retailing, wrapped in a vivid biography of an engaging tycoon." (Kirkus Reviews)
It was like I went on this whole life journey with this amazing person and then....it was over too quickly.
Feeney is amazing. The billionaire pledge that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are doing is based on what Check Feeney has done. He did almost all of it anonymously. This is a great story that needs to be told and retold. What is really enjoyable is that you get an insight into his business and philanthropic strategy. If you want to know what a great fortune can do in the right hands, read this. Chuck Feeney’s impact will be felt a 100 years from now. But, few will know it was he. And that’s just how he would want it.
"Well worth a listen by anyone"
On the face of it a story of a paradoxical man who grew up poor, enlisted, then university and travelled. He made millions from Duty Free and investments and then decided to give it all away to make other people's lives much better. It reads like a novel rather than a biographer and is fascinating. Has it changed by views? No but it has strengthened by determination in all parts oft life. Chuck Feeney achieved success at whatever he focussed on and [relatively] quickly. Great read and well narrated.
"must listen, then listen again"
Chuck represents the counter culture of today, in a world driven by money and greed he is an example that big business can help the greater good
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