The House of Gucci

The House of Gucci by Sara G. Forden

5/7 stars

This book tells the history of the fashion house Gucci, from its founding in 1921 to 2000. The subtitle of The House of Gucci is “A Sensational story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed”. I thought that would be an exaggeration. It was not. In fact, it might have understated how bonkers the situation was.

Gucci was a family owned business, with leadership passed down from father to sons. There were multiple sons who then also had multiple sons. The leadership became diluted and fragmented, with different men having different ideas about the future of the company. This led to fights. Literally. Also multiple law suits, inheritance disputes, fraud, near bankruptcy, hostile takeover attempts, and yes, a murder.

The House of Gucci was a fascinating study on how not to leave a legacy to your progeny. None of the sons seems to have been trained in running a company at all. They instead did so by charm and intuition. That cannot work for long, especially with a company as large as Gucci. Strong leadership and a unified voice are also needed to keep a company focused. The company only throve when all of these qualities were combined, either in one person or several.

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