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Tony Ryan: Ireland's Aviator

Tony Ryan: Ireland's Aviator


By (author) Richard Aldous

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  • Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 240mm x 29mm | 586g
  • Publication date: 30 August 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Dublin
  • ISBN 10: 0717157814
  • ISBN 13: 9780717157815
  • Sales rank: 100,495

Product description

In this authorised biography of one of the most remarkable Irishmen of the twentieth century, Richard Aldous is independent in his judgements and frank in his examination of his subject's shortcomings and eccentricities. But most of all, he writes with verve and pace. Tony Ryan was born in a railwayman's cottage and rose to enormous success, overseeing the spectacular making of two business fortunes and the dramatic losing of one. After an early spell in Aer Lingus, he set up an airline leasing company, Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA), which had its headquarters in Shannon and quickly became the largest such enterprise in the world. Ryan was a hard taskmaster and the company reflected his ferocious work ethic. Yet, despite a stellar board of directors, a botched and poorly timed Initial Public Offering in the 1990s saw GPA crash and burn. Ryan lost almost everything. What remained was a little airline that was chronically loss making. Ryan set about turning Ryanair around, putting in one of his assistants, Michael O'Leary, to help knock it into shape. The rest is history. Ryan remade his fortune, lived lavishly and elegantly, was a generous patron of the arts, and in every respect larger than life. His spirit is one that Ireland needs more than ever today. As the nation strives for its own recovery, it can find inspiration in the story of how one of its most famous sons rose and fell, and then rose again. Not one to stand still or lament mistakes, Tony Ryan's determination never to give up is the real lesson of this story. He was in so many ways Ireland's Aviator.

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Author information

Richard Aldous holds the Eugene Meyer Chair at Bard College, New York, having previously taught for fifteen years at UCD. He is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Great Irish Speeches, Reagan and Thatcher and The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli.

Review quote

It gives an irresistible insight into the machinations of the man who helped to create what is now Ireland's second biggest company - Ryanair. -- John Mulligan Sunday Independent Review Tony lived lavishly and elegantly and was a larger than life character who only knew how to play high risk. This often had disastrous consequences, but his tenacity and determination to succeed are the real lessons of this book and as the nation strives for recovery Tony Ryan's story is an inspirational one. The Nationalist Somehow he managed to leave them still loving him anyway. -- Patricia O'Neill Irish Independent 'Tony Ryan biographer Richard Aldous weaves a tapestry of tales about Ryanair's (and the entrepreneur's) fortunes (...). With Aldous having explored the late Tony Ryan's life in the capacity of an official biographer, it's fair to say that one approaches a work such as this with a strong degree of trepidation. Forebodings of a fawning eulogy abounded. But it does reveal the warts as well as the successes of the Tipperary native. -- John Mullingan Irish Independent "A former head of Aer Lingus, Michael Dargan has observed: 'The magnitude of Tony Ryan's success is baffling. The historian may record it, but he can hardly explain it.' Richard Aldous makes a good stab at it." -- Joe Carroll The Irish Catholic "Failure and redemption are themes peppered throughout this book as Mr Ryan's ambition, hard work, luck and stubbornness led him to grow a global aircraft owning and leasing entity followed by the world's most profitable low cost carrier." -- Joe Gill, Director of Corporate Broking at Goodbody, Finance Dublin