Crazy Rich - Power, Scandal, and Tragedy - Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty by Jerry Openheimer

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Crazy Rich - Power, Scandal, and Tragedy - Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty by Jerry Openheimer

Post  WRB on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:23 am

A very secretive family who have always played by their own rules, the Johnson family is one of the richest and most powerful families in the world. Their fortune was intoxicating and toxic at the same time. They were also a very complicated family, but very stoic, rarely showing their emotions.

The Johnson dynasty began with three relatively uneducated, but ambitious brothers, Robert, James, and Edward Mead Johnson. They founded the world's largest health-care business in 1888. Before long it developed into more than 250 companies located in sixty countries. The red "Johnson & Johnson" script on the company's products became extremely well known and successful. In 1892 Johnson's Baby Powder was introduced, which was a mix of talc and medicated plaster that had a very distinctive aroma that reportedly has never changed.

The Johnson dynasty has been plagued by scandels, tragedies, and misfortune. Most of the horrors they've faced have been attributed to their vast fortune. It seemed money was both a blessing and a curse for the Johnson family. Drug addiction, alcoholish, adultery, homosexuality, child abuse in the form of molestation, suspected kidnapping, a murder plot, a shooting, tragic accidents, and suicide are all part of the ongoing drama in this book. The family had a closet full of embarrassing skeletons that have surfaced over several generations.

The following paragraph, taken from the book, pretty much sums it up.

"They're a mixed up, weird bunch, and always have been. You couldn't make them up in fiction. They are dysfunctional and just don't know how to live a normal life. The whole family is like a great big spiderweb that innocent people would drop into - normal people who get caught in the Johnson web of craziness. There were three brothers who started Johnson & Johnson, and they were smart. By the time they got down to Seward's generation this was a pretty pathetic bunch. It's almost the European royalty."

For the most part, this book is well written, although I felt there were some disjointed sections. I had trouble keeping track of all the family members. There was a list of characters in the front of the book, which helped somewhat. There was just too much information that became confusing and I found myself skimming over parts of chapters - not able to stay engaged with all of the details of the book. 3 Stars.

I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this book.

WRB

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