The Greatest Capitalist Who Ever Lived

Tom Watson Jr. and the Epic Story of How IBM Created the Digital Age

Coming Soon


By Ralph Watson McElvenny

By Marc Wortman

Read by Donald Corren

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  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $32.50 $41.00 CAD

A riveting, first-ever, sweeping biography of Thomas Watson, Jr. – more important to the history and development of the modern world than Vanderbilt, Morgan, Rockefeller, and Carnegie – who risked everything, personally and professionally, to reinvent IBM and launch the computer age that created the world we live in today

Thomas Watson Jr. drove IBM to undertake the biggest gamble in business history with a revolution no other company of the age could dare– the creation in the 1960s of the IBM System/360, the world's first fully integrated and compatible mainframe computer that laid the foundation for the information technology future.  Its success made IBM the most valuable company in America. Fortune magazine touted him as “the greatest capitalist who ever lived.” Time named him one of the “One Hundred People of the Century.”
Behind closed doors, Watson was a multifaceted, complicated man. As a young man, he was a failed student and playboy, an unlikely candidate for corporate titan. He pulled his life together as a courageous World War II pilot and took over IBM after his father’s death. He suffered from anxiety and depression so overwhelming that he spent days prostrate and locked in a bathroom at home while IBM faced crisis after crisis. And he carried out a family-shattering battle over the future of IBM with his brother Dick, who expected to follow him as CEO.
But despite his many demons, he laid the foundation for what eventually became the global information technology industry, which dominates today’s world. His story, and the industry he created, is equal to, if not more important than that of Rockefeller and Standard Oil, Vanderbilt and the railroads, and Morgan in finance.



On Sale
Oct 24, 2023
Hachette Audio

Ralph Watson McElvenny

About the Author

Ralph Watson McElvenny is the oldest grandson of Thomas J. Watson Jr. Prior to working on the The Greatest Capitalist Who Ever Lived he hosted an author book review podcast called “Intelligent Talk,” for which he interviewed many leading nonfiction writers.  Earlier, he worked at a large international real estate firm and as a private investor in multi-family houses and apartment buildings. He is a graduate of Brown University and St John’s University School of Law.

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Marc Wortman

About the Author

Marc Wortman, an independent historian and freelance journalist, has written for many publications, including Vanity FairSmithsonianTimeAir & Space, and The Daily Beast and has appeared on CNN, NPR, C-SPAN BookTV, History Channel. He is the author of four books on American military and social history, most recently Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power (Yale University Press, 2022). He has taught at Princeton and Quinnipiac Universities and a college program at a maximum security prison. He was the recipient of a New York Public Library Research Fellowship and was the 2014 Jalonick Memorial Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Texas Dallas. Following college at Brown University, he received a doctorate in comparative literature from Princeton University.

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