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I recently read the true story of Ted Rogers memoir “Relentless”. He is the founder and man behind Rogers Communications business worth 25 billion dollars. Rogers is Canada’s largest wireless carrier, largest cable provider, 52 radio stations and 70 consumer magazines. City TV and the Blue Jays baseball team along with the Rogers Stadium add to an impressive list of corporate entities.

Ted’s father prematurely died, at the age of 39, when he was only five years old. His mom was an alcoholic who didn’t feel that she could raise her son. She shipped off to a boarding school at the age of seven to seventeen where he was bullied by his fellow students.

He returned home with a passion to reclaim his father’s dreams of a family success story. When you read the book you can see that Ted was a relentless “Type A executive” . He was a hands on president who loved the art of the deal, the human interaction in business.

He lived a life where Never Enough might have been his axiom for success. Constant severe health problems plagued the man throughout his life but didn’t stop him from making yet another deal. Hospital stays at the Mayo Clinic didn’t interfere with his keeping contact with his executives on his speaker phone.

Peter C Newman called him a risk taker, river boat gambler. Business success was the measure of the man. Little time for his three children or his wife Loretta. Wheeling and dealing was the essence of the man.

Towards the end of the book Ted focuses on his succession plan for the empire that he built. His fifty years of work had to remain in the hands of his family. Legal trusts that he established would make sure that order and stability would be maintained after his demise.

The memoir on the whole was business orientated with little balance for family. I have to admit that there were times that I skipped a few pages to get a better personal glimpse of one of Canada’s business success story. I guess making the deals didn’t impress me much. In some ways it is a sad story of success at any price.

Ted was an overachiever who was like many others who lost their fathers at a young age. The loss of a parent when you are young can define the rest of your life. Bill Clinton, Andrew Jackson, Mackenzie King, Waldo Emerson and scientist Isaac Newton are examples of similar men who lost a parent at a young age.

Negative early childhood experiences including death/separation from parents sometimes can have positive/negative consequences. Hard to have faith in yourself or to-morrow when you have lost trust in your significant role model.

Ted Rogers sums up his life at the age of 75. “It has been a good life. And as I always like to say, The best is yet to come.” His memoir was distributed to the book stores September 2008. Ted died three months later, December 2008.

For an hour or so I stole the life of another huge business success story reading the memoir. Like Howard Hughes ,the multi-billionaire, Ted Rogers left everything behind when he passed away.

Perhaps the price of seeking fame and fortune you risk losing your balance trying to satisfy your wants and not your needs. The sages teach us: ‘For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own life in his quest for wealth.’

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com