Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Well-Read Commuter reviews Call Me Ted

Call Me Ted

By Ted Turner with Bill Burke

I have to admit that I was feeling lukewarm about delving into another autobiography when I picked up Call Me Ted. I had not had very good luck in this department lately. I had trudged through some pretty self-serving, back-patting, yawners lately that seemed to just lay there like Donald Trump’s hair. However, as I listened to the Call Me Ted audio book read by Ted Turner himself I was hooked immediately. I knew very little about Ted other than he was married to Jane Fonda and I enjoyed his cable creations: CNN, TCM and TBS. What followed as the book unfolded was Mr. Turner, or Ted as he asked to be called, narrating a wild ride through a World Series win with his Atlanta Braves, winning the 1978 America’s Cup on the yacht Courageous, and you’re on the edge of your seat as this self-made man negotiates multi-million and eventually multi-billion dollar deals making and breaking companies in the 80's and 90's. His passion for his business and seeing his visions fulfilled blurs the line occasionally between sheer genius and insanity as you are fully enveloped in his world.

This is a stand-out autobiography by someone who clearly has a lot of living left to do. Far from the dreary, water downed mid-career biographies that have been paraded through lately this is the bonafide real deal. To make sure that it is over the top, Ted has peppered throughout the book “Ted Stories.” These are stories submitted by those that worked with him, his family and in Jane Fonda’s case, his ex-wife. Who, I thought, is gutsy enough to allow their ex-spouse to contribute a brutally honest account of their marriage with them to their own autobiography? Ted Turner, that is who. He attacked this autobiography with the same insanely high energy and straightforwardness that he has seemed to live his entire life with. A great read. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book or the length of the 14 hour audio book, you will be left wanting more. Not since Anthony Swafford’s Jarhead have I been this sad to come to the end of a book.

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