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Lighting the Furnace

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“If every businessman or woman were like Hugh Sykes, private enterprise would be universally applauded, and our economy would grow wings. There is much to learn from him”.

The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, in response to Hugh Sykes’s new book in June 2017:


"This is at once the remarkable life story of a man who, from modest beginnings, became one of the UK’s most successful businessmen, but far more besides… it is the private portrait of a very public figure. It chronicles the reshaping of a city, in which he was instrumental. And it has been labelled by one media critic as “required reading for the would-be entrepreneur”.


Lighting the furnace is indeed the story of a burning ambition, an ambition which saw him doing multi-million deals on a daily basis. It tells how he took a small, unremarkable business located in a sleepy village in the Derbyshire Peak district and turned it into a world leader in its field.


But to many he is best-known for his key role in directing a massive programme of regeneration which forever changed the face of one of England’s major cities. It was a feat he achieved in the face of both political and internal opposition.


This is more than a mere business biography. It is a personal account of an extraordinary time. And for the student of business, it is a book, as the former Prime Minister remarked, from which there is much to learn." 


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