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Gary Hoover

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Gary Hoover has founded several businesses, each with the core value of education. He founded BOOKSTOP, the first chain of book superstores, which was purchased by Barnes & Noble and became the nucleus for their chain. He co-founded the company that became Hoover’s, Inc. – one of the world’s largest sources of information about companies, now owned by Dun & Bradstreet. Gary Hoover has in recent years focused on writing (multiple books, blogs) and teaching. He served as the first Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. He has been collecting information on business history since the age of 12, when he started subscribing to Fortune Magazine. An estimated 40% of his 57,000-book personal library is focused on business, industrial, and economic history and reference. Gary Hoover has given over 1000 speeches around the globe, many about business history, and all with historical references.

Arthur G. Gaston: Entrepreneur Against All Odds

The grandson of slaves, Arthur George Gaston was born in 1892 in Demopolis, Alabama, to Rosie Gaston. There is no record of his father’s name, who died shortly afterward. A. G. Gaston started with nothing but the encouragement of his mother and grandparents. Over the next seventy years, he became the wealthiest black man in Birmingham, with a fortune of $30-40 million. Gaston’s path was never easy—his home was fire-bombed and at the age of eighty-three, he was kidnapped. He was at or near the center of the racial strife of the 1960s, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stirred great controversy during his life, but also provided employment and services to thousands of blacks in Alabama. This is the remarkable story of his 103-year-long life.

General Robert Wood: The Forgotten Man Who Changed Sears and the World

Before there was Amazon, there was Sears, Roebuck, using the mail-order catalog where the Internet is used today. Before Walmart was the world’s largest retailer (and company of any type), there was Sears, Roebuck, in its glory days by far the largest retailer on earth. Few know the real story behind the two visionaries who made Sears great—neither of whom was named Sears or Roebuck. This is the story of the greatest of them, General Robert Elkington Wood, who shaped so many things about America and the world.

Brand Man: The HJ Heinz Story

At thirty-one, Henry “HJ” Heinz is bedridden with depression. Struggling to pay the bills, he has borrowed every cent available. The “Panic” (depression) of 1873 has reached Pittsburgh. His home, furnishings, and his father’s longstanding brickyard are mortgaged to the hilt. Falsely accused of moving inventory out of the reach of creditors, Heinz is arrested, making news in the local papers. But by the spring of 1876, he is back in business. Here is the story of HJ Heinz, the brand man.

Jim Casey: The Unknown Entrepreneur Who Built the Great UPS

On August 28, 1907, nineteen-year-old James Emmett “Jim” Casey and his friend Claude Ryan borrowed $100 and founded the American Messenger Company in a six-foot by seven-foot basement office below a Seattle saloon. They hired six boys to deliver telegraph and other messages throughout Seattle and run errands for people. From those humble beginnings sprang United Parcel Service, known today as just “UPS,” the world’s largest and most valuable transportation company. Yet few know the name of Jim Casey, the shy but curious man who made the United Parcel Service what it is today. Advisory Board member Gary Hoover shares the remarkable story of his obsession and his legacy.

Conrad Hilton: The Dreamer Who Conquered an Industry

Conrad Hilton left his hometown of San Antonio, New Mexico at the age of 31 to buy a bank in Texas—oil country. But after Hilton found a bank to purchase in Cisco, the owner raised the price at the last minute. Refusing to buy the bank, Hilton headed to a local, run-down hotel to spend the night. After seeing all of the traffic at the hotel, Hilton inquired about buying it instead. That hotel, The Mobley, would be the first in an expansive business empire.

From One Woman’s Passion to Cosmetics Empire: The Estée Lauder Story

Today, the Estée Lauder Companies have become among the most important cosmetics companies in the world—against huge odds and well-established competitors. Estée Lauder was a very real...