Kirk Kerkorian the Smiling Cobra

The world needs a new biography about this consummate deal-maker. Kirk is 95 years old as a I write this and gradually slowing down. The man is a rare example of a bona fide rags-to-riches story. His one and only biography was published in 1974. That’s 39 years ago.


Kirk-Kerkorian the Smiling Cobra.

Yesterday I contacted the well-known author of several tycoon biographies and pitched the idea to him. He responded with a non-committal “I’ll ponder it.” I’m not holding my breath.

So if there are any other biographers out there looking for a subject to write about, please consider Mr. Kerkorian.

He’s worth studying for a number of reasons which include the manner in which he constructed his deals. Specifically, he was notorious for the “revolving door deal” wherein he would sell a company to buyer with such onerous covenants that the buyer would eventually have to return the company to him. In The Tycoon Playbook we dissect one such deal and analyze it in detail.

These deals led to his nickname the “Smiling Cobra.”

It’s important to understand that he used this strategy in deals with huge players and not the little guy.

Sadly, they don’t make tycoons like Kirk Kerkorian anymore.



2 Responses to Kirk Kerkorian Biography

  • Sounds like a cool guy worth reading about. TBH, I have never heard of him till now. That old bio is rather pricey.

    • Peter,

      I was totally excited to get the email update via LinkedIn about the Kirk Kerkorian blog post.

      To be honest before I checked the blog, I started to check the news outlets becuase I thought you were telling us he had passed. Thank god he didn’t!

      Kerkorian is one of my all time favorite Tycoons. It’s great that you’ve covered the old school Tycoon on the blog. Maybe it’s because I was born in the mid 70’s but the guys out of the industrial age era of business Tycoons are my favorite.

      Sure, I like Jeff Bezos, etc… but the tech Tycoons just don’t light my fire the way the Industrial age Tycoons do.

      If you watch CNBC or Bloomberg, they would have you think the only industry worth looking into is tech.

      There are lots of opportunities available to quietly build wealth with industrial companies.

      I had a rough day today but this really cheered me up. :0)

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