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By Kevin E. Gersick, John A. Davis, Marion McCollom Hampton, and Ivan Lansberg

Published by Harvard Business School Press

302 pages $29.95
Reviewed by Alexander A. H. Bohtling, CPA, retired from Deloitte & Touche LLP

While, as this book points out, family businesses generate half of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and employ half of the workforce, comparatively little has been written on the subject of transition of ownership from one generation to another. This book covers the subject in substantial detail. It includes ownership by the present and future generations and the complexities that go along with it. Included are different viewpoints, approaches, abilities, and rivalries.

The book consists of a preface, an introductory chapter, three parts­the three dimensional development model, four classic family business types, and managing the developing family business. This is followed by an addendum--lessons from the lifecycles. Numerous existing in family-owned or controlled firms are illustrated, the problems that arise and the ways to overcome them. Participation by different
generations in a family-owned or controlled business is well described. The practice of bringing in outside advisors, such as accountants, attorneys, and other types of consultants is also covered.

All four authors have strong academic backgrounds and are active in advisory and consulting capacities to family-owned or controlled firms.

In your reviewer's opinion, this book provides very useful guidance and advice to accountants furnishing professional services to family-owned or controlled firms.

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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