New Biography Of Tony O’Reilly

18 Sep 2015 | 12.19 pm

New Biography Of Tony O’Reilly

Tycoon ‘spancelled by his own deepest weakness’

18 Sep 2015 | 12.19 pm

Gill & Macmillan has published a new biography of Tony O’Reilly, written by Matt Cooper (pictured). The hardback runs to 564 pages and is priced at €27.99.

The Maximalist: The Rise and Fall of Tony O’Reilly is divided into five sections and has 45 chapters, covering O’Reilly’s business career through Irish Dairy Board, Heinz, Fitzwilton, Independent News & Media, Atlantic Resources, Eircom and Waterford Wedgwood.

O’Reilly’s life story was previously written by Ivan Fallon in 1994. Around one half of Cooper’s book covers similar territory but the new bio now provides a more comprehensive overview of a man described by the publishers as “one of Ireland’s most remarkable public figures”.

Cooper, presenter of a daily current affairs radio show on Today FM, is a former financial journalist, so the book has a good handle on what went right and wrong with Tony O’Reilly’s many business adventures.

In the book’s Epilogue, Cooper writes (with an F. Scott Fitzgerald flourish): “This was a man who wanted to be the best and to give the best to what mattered to him, but he was spancelled by his own deepest weakness: whatever he had, whether in reduced circumstances or at the best of times and no matter at what age, it was never enough.

“He was dominated by a need, a drive, a greed, perhaps, that would not let him rest and be content with great achievement. The desire for more spurred him on continually, and he chased down all that was possible, every experience, every accolade, every cent.

“In the frenzy of seeking, he found that it was quite possible to want too much. Such were the consequences of those elements of his personality that made him the maximalist.”

The book is very nicely produced, with large type for easy legibility, and has a 22 page index. It is expected by the book trade to be a festive season bestseller.

The Maximalist 72

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