He served as a U. Air Force radio operator during the Korean War , and began his career selling duty-free liquor to Kennedy family members at Mediterranean ports in the s. Feeney is the father of two daughters, Diane V. Feeney and Leslie D. Feeney Baily.
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This information is incomplete. In later years he would measure success by the speed and efficiency with which he could give that wealth away to empower others.
Sit with it. Life is full of these tensions. View 1 comment. Jun 19, Andrew Han rated it really liked it. A perhaps appropriately fawning account of Chuck Feeney. Well-written biography, if a bit drawn out. Quite an extraordinary businessman-philanthropist life. Mar 25, Janet Eshenroder rated it liked it. Lucky for the world that Charles Feeney fashioned himself after Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie felt the duty of a man of wealth was to set an example of modest, ostentatious living, provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him, and after doing so "to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds which he is called upon to administer.
I give kudos to Feeney for his incredible sense of entrepreneurial smarts the ability to foresee a need and seek to create the supply before the demand even arose, a willingness risk it all again and again to put himself and his partners on the ground floor of lucrative businesses , for Feeney's willingness to live "modestly" and out of the limelight some of this was to avoid kidnappings and being pestered , and his decision to give away most of his billions while he was still alive and could see the good that arose.
He applied his business sense to his philanthropy, again seeking out future needs which would have the major impact in improving conditions in multiple nations often in education and medicine and leveraging foundation money with government or other private donors. Right from the beginning, Chuck figured out how to evade paying taxes. One of the partners added for legal expertise made corrections to keep them out of serious legal trouble, but the partners remained enormously successful in getting out of paying taxes in any country. Was it legal? The book was an eye opener for how and why the wealthy can amass fortunes.
That Charles Feeney eventually gave most of his fortune back is admirable. He defends not paying taxes because, in his opinion, the government was just not as efficient as he would be in getting the most bang for the buck. However, he is not the norm. If we had more Charles Feeneys, perhaps we would all look up with more admiration to those who acquire great wealth.
Until that day, the book is an eye-opener about how income inequality has developed in the past generation. Jul 05, Casey rated it liked it. This book was given to me by a Boston philanthropist who said he had been so inspired by Chuck Feeney's story that he ahd purchased two dozen copies and was giving them to anyone who was interested The story itself is compelling. Feeney, a renaissance man who founded the "Duty Free Shops" concept and built a business empire in the aftermath of WWII, secretly gave away billions of dollars, supported peace in Northern Ireland and education around the world.
The book itself chronicles Feeney's lif This book was given to me by a Boston philanthropist who said he had been so inspired by Chuck Feeney's story that he ahd purchased two dozen copies and was giving them to anyone who was interested The book itself chronicles Feeney's life, starting with humble roots in NJ, following his travels around the world to start up DFS, the savvy business moves to build an empire, and ultimately his decision to give away his entire fortune without telling his partners - or anyone else!
The style is simple, but is an impressive compilation of interviews and vignettes that paint a picture of the man who defined the "giving while living" philosophy. Oct 29, loafingcactus rated it it was amazing Shelves: read Wow, wow, wow!!! An intense page-turner as the businesses develop from real boots-on-ground gumption to insane levels of cash generation. An inspiration for philanthropic giving.
And Feeney's efforts start far down the poll from multi-million dollar donations, to personally picking up trash when he walks down the street because all of those small acts of making the world better matter too. Mar 21, Cristobal rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. A fascinating read about an extraordinary businessman and how he built a retailing empire, while later turning those same skills to give away his fortune with amazing results. Chuck Feeney is an extraordinary individual, from whom we can learn a lot about the true importance of wealth.
This should be distributed to all billionaires and any other so called "high net worth individual" , if only to have them think deeply about what it is they can do with their money. Jul 08, Steven rated it it was amazing. This is a fantastic book. Chuck Feeney is an incredibly modest, humble and low-key "billionaire" who gave it all away so he could watch his wealth be put to good use during his lifetime.
His is an inspirational rags to riches and back to rags, almost story about an Irish Catholic from Elizabeth NJ who went on to conquer the world. It's very well written, and at times you have to pause because it almost reads like fiction. He is one of the biggest donors to universities in the entire world, and This is a fantastic book. He is one of the biggest donors to universities in the entire world, and most people have never heard of him.
The fact that I've met many of his family members one of whom is a best friend only served to reinforce the power of this story - his family lives like he does - modestly and humbly. I would strongly recommend this book. This biography is incredibly insightful and interesting. It reveals the life and personality of one of the most secretive billionaires in the world. I could draw many similarities throughout the book with Sam Walton, the founder of Wal Mart. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in philanthropy and retailing.
View 2 comments. Jan 03, Saitonne rated it really liked it. I loved this.
Chuck Feeney, The Billionaire Who Wasn't, Pledges $ Million To Universities To Fight Dementia
Yes the writing could have been better but the life lessons I've taken away from this are invaluable. I really walked away with admiration of Chuck's determination to change the world and people's lives. He really did achieve his goals. Aug 19, Charlie rated it liked it. The story of an interesting and inspirational man but v dryly written and too long. Amazing subject for a book, businessman Chuck Feeney, who cofounded Duty Free Shops and became a billionaire - except by the time the real money rolled in it was deposited in a secret charitable foundation.
He was influenced by Andrew Carnegie's "Wealth" which described his philosophy toward money and philanthropy. The story of Feeney's early life and especially building the business was excellent - the first pages of the book are fantastic. Feeney returned from his Korean War service in Arm Amazing subject for a book, businessman Chuck Feeney, who cofounded Duty Free Shops and became a billionaire - except by the time the real money rolled in it was deposited in a secret charitable foundation.
The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune
He was a hustler - making and selling sandwiches at the fraternities in the evenings for extra money. After college he didn't want to get a regular hotel job and instead talked his way into graduate school in Grenoble France, and his real breaks came when he went to Antibes and Villefranche on the Riviera for the summer.
He started by selling duty free liquor to US sailors in ports around the Med, and added other items to their inventory. The key was getting access to the ships, which Feeney excelled at. The other key was knowing where the ships would dock next official orders were often changed en route and one of the best sources were the hookers in the ports!
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He and his partner expanded into car sales delivered to the US which turned out to be a disaster, siphoning off money for years to wind down the business. It was the realization that the car business was operating almost like a ponzi scheme that led them to evaluate all their businesses and focus on duty free. They had won the right to sell duty free in the Honolulu airport in , just as more Japanese tourists began traveling to Hawaii.
Feeney hired Japanese-speaking salesgirls and gave kickbacks to tour operators - plus the relative cost of the items vs in Japan and the gift-giving culture were huge. Most importantly, they set up an offshore distribution intermediary that bought the Camus and resold to DFS, creating huge tax free profits. In perfume, they did a deal with Nina Ricci. The salespeople got extra commissions and huge quantities of both were sold and they became household names - at least in Japan.
His timing in deciding to sell his stake in DFS to LVMH was nearly perfect, and was also sad to see how the 4 main partners could not agree, leading to suits and counter-suits. Funny that the other 3 partners all own homes on the same hillside in Gstaad! Feeney became increasingly uncomfortable with his wealth and never dressed or travelled in an extravagant manner. The family did own several houses, including one on Cap Ferrat adding 2 more purchased from neighbors. He set up the Atlantic Foundation and put nearly all his current and future wealth into it in He also created General Atlantic Partners to manage the funds, and their investments in tech stocks further compounded his wealth.
He gave aggressively, and anonymously, to universities esp Cornell and hospitals, and was very involved in Ireland including the peace process in Northern Ireland , Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, and Estonia. The foundation set a goal to "run out of money" in it's lifetime, original goal was 20 years. Chuck Feeney is one of the founders of the Duty Free Stores you find in the airports and at border crossings. He quietly made a billion dollars, and then just as quietly gave it all away.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? Very Interesting. Amazing story of Chuck Fenney. The book should be a must read to all Billionaires!!!
Interesting for the personal side of the story but also for the account of how Dutty Free Shop become an amazing company. What an inspiring story! The most generous, unpretentious and kindest man on the planet. He altered the direction of Ireland through enormous third level education funding and helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
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Funded hospitals in Vietnam and Australia, South African Universities and medical research centers in America and throughout the world. All given anonymously in the spirit of helping people, selflessly.
Anyone who reads the Chuck Feeney story will be inspired to do more good in the world.