In 1991, Gerald Ratner made a landmark speech to the Instituteof Directors
After over 25 years in the jewellery trade, Gerald Ratner wasone of the most well-known and successful retailers of hisgeneration. He had built up a highly profitable, multi-millionpound international business, including household names likeRatners, H Samuel, Ernest Jones, Watches of Switzerland, as well asover one thousand stores in the US. Being asked to give the keynoteaddress at the Institute of Directors' annual conference at TheRoyal Albert Hall was a great honour and should have been thecrowning glory on two decades of empire building.
Gerald's speech was seized upon by the media after he includedjokes about the quality of some of the shops' products. But thefar-reaching impact that these jokes would have no one could havepredicted.
"Even though I had once had my name above hundreds of shops upand down the country, it had become more famous as a byword forcrap. It took several years to realise just what an impact thespeech had had on every aspect of my life."
Press coverage of hardback version:
"... a rollicking good read"
—Michael Skapinker, The FT
"Most business autobiographies are so overlaid withghost-writerly blandness that the character of the subject is lost.Mr Ratner had help with this one, but fortunately he is stillthere: obsessive, funny and a bit of a scoundrel - the lastmitigated by how well he knows it."
"self-effacing, revealing and human"
—Luke Johnson, FT Business Life
"A few ill-chosen words to a well-heeled audience 16 years agoreduced Britain's biggest jeweller to poverty. Now he reveals howhe bounced back"
"...contains lessons for us all"
"...worth its weight in gold"
"Everyone knows the story of Gerald's rise and fall - what anamazing story and well worth reading.... I couldn't put it down,totally gripping and inspiring stuff, you really couldn't see thiscoming from such an energetic, passionate man"
"I have read many bio's from business leaders and most areboring 'how to get rich' or 'let me tell you a long list of notvery interesting stories with all the good bits missed out'.Gerald's book is very different it is a great read, I could not putit down"
"Sobering and enlightening at the same time. A great read and amorality tale of our time."
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