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In the Blood Book Review

By:   •  Book/Movie Report  •  458 Words  •  November 16, 2009  •  993 Views

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Essay title: In the Blood Book Review

Family run businesses are the backbone of Canada, from corner shops to institutions such as Molson Inc. and Ellis-Don Construction Ltd. More than just money-making establishments, they are traditions handed down, ventures embarked on a century ago that have been handed off from father to son and mother to daughter. But from this seemingly heavenly custom springs frustration, anger, rebellion, jealousy and revenge as new generations of entrepreneurs-to-be decide they want nothing to do with the family business and it's all going on in the corporate boardrooms and living rooms of Canada's family-owned businesses - all the way from small convenience chains up to the level of the Bronfmans, McCains, Irvings and Eatons. An estimated six million Canadians work for them full- or part-time, whole communities depend on them, and their combined approximate sales volume is around 1.3 trillion dollars.

Transferring power is difficult, often painful. To see a family business pass successfully into a third or fourth generation is rare. What happens when the entrepreneurs who established these great companies try to pass the wand onto the next generation in their family? As Gordon Pitts reveals in In the Blood, the unfortunate result is often disruption, pain, and familial splits, that can leave not only the fate of the company, but sometimes even whole communities hanging in the balance.

Pitts has talked to numerous survivors for his profiles of twelve companies, sensibly drawn from all across the country. Some of the families are extremely well known - like the Molsons and the Batas - the others, such as the Mitchells of Saskatoon, the Prices of Alberta, the Bentalls of Vancouver, and the Cuddys of Ontario are no less captivating.

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