Many of the stories that you read about in the press are success stories and it is often hard to really get under the skin of the family business. We all know that not every day at work is a great day and some days we have all probably wished that we had stayed in bed and let the day pass us by. It is therefore quite refreshing when a publication like ‘My Life in the Family Business’ by Peter Thornton comes to press.
This is Peter’s frank and honest story of his life, growing up under the thumb of his father in wartime Sheffield and Derbyshire , learning the Thornton family business at his father’s knee and being thrust into it with hardly any preparation. The family business became a beacon as one of the best known family businesses in the UK but this came at a price, the price of a family destroyed in the process.
Nothing is held back, the good times, the bad times, the successes, the failures, the conflicts, the battles, the love affairs and the moments of high elation and deep depression.
Peter Thornton, Ex-Chairman of the family business tells this story with startling frankness: family betrayals, suicides and extra-marital affairs. The moral is that success and money can come at a horrible price – even to one of Britain’s best-known brands.
Obviously not all family businesses are the same as this but the one thing that does resonate with us all is the honesty and frankness with which the story is told, and as a lesson to the rest of us to ensure that money and success does not destroy the one thing that is held so dear by the family business community, the very people that the business is founded on, the family.