Robert Lenzner, the National Editor of Forbes who is one of the sharpest and most experienced business journalists working today, wrote a review of Creative Capital in his May 15 column on Forbes.com, The Croesus Chronicles. He gave it five stars and called it a “fine portrait of his character.”
Lenzner describes Doriot as one of the true blue gents of finance, a throwback character who “stood above all for principle in business and was not a money grubber.” In the column, he also compares and contrasts Doriot to another gent, Ronald Cohen, the founder of Apax Partners.
Writes Lenzner: “For 40 years, Doriot used this “study of new products, new ideas, new developments and new questions of research” as the key to improving American business practices. Had he been a larger than life character like Peter Drucker, the more retiring and ascetic Doriot might have become as famous in his time.”
Doriot WAS larger than life and his ideas were just as radical and important as Drucker’s but Doriot was not a self-promoter. While writing the book, I often wondered why Doriot was not as famous as Drucker. There is a certain formula of fame, I concluded.
One major reason is that Doriot, unlike Drucker, never poured his ideas and visions into a book that could outlive him. Drucker, by contrast, was a prolific author who wrote many influential books that live on forever. Doriot also had no children to help carry on his legacy. And third, as I relate in the book, and as Lenzner notes, Doriot made a mistake by selling his VC firm American Research & Development into the conglomerate Textron in 1972. As Lenzner writes, the sales “hampered ARD’s chance to become the dynamic leader in venture capital just as that art form was coming into its own.”
Obviously, I wrote this book partly to help revive and restore Doriot’s reputation. So it feels good to see that readers are giving Doriot his due with reviews like this one and others.