Lewis Cullman



Walter Cronkite calls New Yorker Lewis Cullman “one of the nation’s major and most generous philanthropists.”


In his engaging memoir, Cullman writes of engineering the very first leveraged buyout — in 1964, putting up $1,000 cash, he and colleagues bought Orkin Exterminating for $62.4 million —and of giving vast amounts of his fortune (nearly $500 million and counting) back to society. Cullman, a descendant of Emma Lazarus and the founder of Barnard College (among other distinguished forebears) recalls the entertaining details of flying by the seat of his pants as a business innovator, and includes warm portraits of family members and friends who influenced him. At the book’s end, he leads a crusade for private foundations to make their businesses fully accountable, and to return their 'stagnant wealth' to society and the economy.

Return to the heady days when $1,000 bought a $62.4 million company.