Ted Turner Autobiography Book Review

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise!” This is the motto that Robert Turner, also known as Ted Turner, has used to describe his billionaire status.

In his autobiography Call Me Ted, the former owner of World Championship Wrestling takes the reader on an incredible journey—from bouncing around private and military schools, to getting booted out of Brown University for having a girl in his room, Turner lived a wild life early on. He also went through hardships—dealing with his sister’s death from a mental disease and his father’s sudden suicide, Turner was suddenly pushed into his father’s billboard business.

Instead of selling it off, Turner took his father’s company and made it bigger than ever by expanding the business. Eventually Turner expanded his interests. Buying the last-place Major League Baseball team the Atlanta Braves, who eventually became multi-time World Series champions. Turner also got involved heavily in broadcasting—creating his SuperStation channel and creating the infamous CNN news station.

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The book is a long yet easy read—Turner along with Brian Burke kept the storytelling simple and honest throughout. The additional input given by friends, family and celebrities Turner has met over the years adds a little more depth to Turner. Ex-wife Jane Fonda\’s input is must read insight. Turner is open to what has happened in his life but it’s the ones he has interacted with that really helped give a true sense of who Time magazine’s 1991 Man of the Year really is.

Turner was not always successful—the AOL-Time Warner merger eventually got him booted out of his own company and a loss of several billion dollars. With family life he seemed to always struggle due to putting work ahead of everything and everyone. He admits that he should of done more for his first two wives and five kids, but given his ambitious lifestyle it’s not surprising there was a lot of sadness and frustration. Turner is the type of person when faced with a family problem tends to ignore it or just forgets that it even happened.

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The book is filled with determination and motivation. Turner came from a rich family, but had to work hard for everything he got in life. Bill Gates says it best in the book, “Ted is a major wizard in terms of having a whole new way of thinking and doing things.” Turner’s ability to get an elderly woman to sell her land to him when no one else could is one of many examples of how if Turner wanted something bad enough he eventually got it.

While some may see Turner as a conniving philanthropist, it’s hard to believe someone who created Captain Planet, the Goodwill Games, helped paid off the United States debt to the United Nations and contributed to many other charitable donations is only doing it for selfish alternative motives. The book was a way to show that he is not a power-hungry tycoon all the time. He admits he has made mistakes, but except for the book he doesn’t dwell on the past.

Professional wrestling is barely mentioned at all by Turner. Wrestling was a small part of Turner\’s life that was taken away from him thanks to the AOL-Time Warner merge.

Call Me Ted

by Turner and Bill Burke

Grand Central Publishing

448 pp.

Click here to order the book