Friday, 17 April 2015

"E.P. Taylor was no stranger to the soy bean."

I'm making good progress in E.P. Taylor: The Biography of Edward Punket Taylor… at least I think I am. I hesitate only because I'm never quite sure where I am. Page numbers help and encourage, but the text itself often seems stagnant and overly familiar. He buys companies, oversees mergers and, on occasion, builds a new plant to produce an old product. Closures are more common.

Doesn't Taylor already own that brewery? I guess not.

This is the biography of a businessman. The last I read from cover to cover is Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. It's fantastic. Read it.

Off the top of my head, late on a Friday afternoon, I see two significant factors that set Steve Jobs apart from E.P. Taylor. The first is that Jobs was a creator. Taylor was an acquisitor. The second is that Jobs' life was more exciting.


I can't say with certainty because Rohmer tells us next to nothing of Taylor outside the meeting room, the boardroom and the banker's office. First child Judith appears only as a footnote. Second child Louise fairs only slightly better, appearing on pages 57 (passing mention of her birth) and 285 (she decorated her parents' Bahaman home). Son Charles, one of the most important Canadian journalists of  the twentieth century, gets a footnote and a sentence about the calming effect he had on his father when came time to bid on a horse.

The foal produced by Fairy Imp and Bunty Lawless is given more space.


  1. I've barely started EP Taylor and it's heart-droppingly professional so far. Dang it.

    1. I will say that the opening chapter is just about the best thing Richard Rohmer has ever written. The stuff on Taylor's early life maintains interest, in part because it doesn't read like a financial report.

      No pun intended.

  2. It's sort of interesting the way Team Rohmer has to keep working around the fact that 90% of the sources for their E.P. Taylor biography are E.P. Taylor. Makes you wonder if it would have been simpler to make it an autobiography "as told to." Also, can I just flat out admit that can't believe how little this lump deserves a book? Funny thing, vanity.