Book Reviews

Book Review: The Hiltons


Conrad Hilton, the undisputed founder of American luxury hotel industry, was the offspring of an immigrant who believed in hard work to become successful in life.

C. Hilton started with a minuscule capital, but when he passed away, Hilton Corporation had more than 2000 hotels and inns all over the world. In 2007 the corporation had close to 3000 hotels in 77.

He was married three times. From his first marriage, he had three sons, from the second to Zsa Zsa Gabor, a daughter. The third marriage was probably the happiest of all, but unfortunately lasted for a few years.

J. Randy Taraborrelli details in this long but fascinating book his life, successes, difficulties, and beliefs that guided him until death.

C. Hilton was devout catholic, and prayed daily, but he never shied away from a good deal. He acquired hotels, he planned and built hotels, and he also exercised control over costs.

He was astute enough to hire skilled professionals to manage his properties and never forgot devoted employees who stuck with him during the Depression.

In this very detailed book about him and his offerings, the author devotes hundreds of pages to his business acumen, but also almost as many to his second wife Zsa Zsa and the divorce that created many “headaches”.

When Hilton become the premiere American luxury hotelier in the 1950’, he started to look to European and beyond. He realized quickly the potential of airline travel and how it would help “shrink” the world.
His Istanbul property opened in 1955 overlooking the Bosphorus was built on the ground of an old cemetery that the Turkish government certified as never have been one.

He was a visionary who could sendse how a new invention will spread and increase his business, i.e credit cards, a TV set in each room, merging the international division with the now defunct TWA. The last failed to work out, regardless of its tremendous potential.

C. Hilton was a man of convictions, smart and business like.

Of this three sons, Barron managed the corporation after he retired, but he still retained control of his C. Hilton Foundation.

In his will, he bequeathed modest amounts to all family members. The largest amount went to charity and to beloved church.

The author devotes several pages to Paris Hilton, a fourth generation Hilton, who is presently the most famous of all Hiltons alive.

This is a book that anyone should read to learn about the industry, how to conduct business successfully, and acquire real estate that promises potential profits.

Highly recommended.

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