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By David Bork, Dennis T. Jaffe, Sam H. Lane, Leslie Dashew, and Quentin G. Heisler

Josey Bass Publishers, 227 pages

Review by Michael Goldstein, CPA

An emerging business advisory services area is how to make family businesses remain successful beyond the first and second generations. Most of what has been written to date addresses families - two or more members - in business and what they should be doing to survive. This book addresses the special problems, or complex realities, of family business from the perspective of the advisor. It is a "how to" for advisors, accompanied by case histories, anecdotes, exercises, charts, and other conceptual tools to help identify where business and family relationships overlap. It appears to be a "given" that in family businesses, family and business just can't be separated; conflict must result and the business becomes hostage to the failure of the family to resolve differences. The authors have devised an integrated approach to the problems at hand, i.e., they demonstrate how an advisor can integrate his or her professional expertise with an understanding of the nature of families. They examine how to construct a framework to resolve business problems, manage conflict and individual differences, and identify the significant family groups. While the book starts off slowly, it picks up after the first chapter. Chapters five, six, and seven are particularly informative. They describe some of the tools and techniques that advisors can use to gain a broader perspective on family businesses and become more effective in resolving conflict.

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