Gerald Ratner - The Rise and Fall... and RiseAgain
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In 1991, Gerald Ratner made a landmark speech to the Institute of Directors

After over 25 years in the jewellery trade, Gerald Ratner was one of the most well-known and successful retailers of his generation. He had built up a highly profitable, multi-million pound international business, including household names like Ratners, H Samuel, Ernest Jones, Watches of Switzerland, as well as over one thousand stores in the US. Being asked to give the keynote address at the Institute of Directors' annual conference at The Royal Albert Hall was a great honour and should have been the crowning glory on two decades of empire building.

Gerald's speech was seized upon by the media after he included jokes about the quality of some of the shops' products. But the far-reaching impact that these jokes would have no one could have predicted.

"Even though I had once had my name above hundreds of shops up and down the country, it had become more famous as a byword for crap. It took several years to realise just what an impact the speech had had on every aspect of my life."

Press coverage of hardback version:

"... a rollicking good read"
Michael Skapinker, The FT

"Most business autobiographies are so overlaid with ghost-writerly blandness that the character of the subject is lost. Mr Ratner had help with this one, but fortunately he is still there: obsessive, funny and a bit of a scoundrel - the last mitigated by how well he knows it."
The FT

"self-effacing, revealing and human"
Luke Johnson, FT Business Life

"A few ill-chosen words to a well-heeled audience 16 years ago reduced Britain's biggest jeweller to poverty. Now he reveals how he bounced back"
Jewish Chronicle

"...contains lessons for us all"
Management Today

"...worth its weight in gold"
The Independent

Amazon reviews

"Everyone knows the story of Gerald's rise and fall - what an amazing story and well worth reading.... I couldn't put it down, totally gripping and inspiring stuff, you really couldn't see this coming from such an energetic, passionate man"

"I have read many bio's from business leaders and most are boring 'how to get rich' or 'let me tell you a long list of not very interesting stories with all the good bits missed out'. Gerald's book is very different it is a great read, I could not put it down"

"Sobering and enlightening at the same time. A great read and a morality tale of our time."


Gerald Ratner joined the family business in 1966, and built up an extremely successful chain of jewellers during the '80s, of which he was chief exec.  In 1991 he made an infamous speech to a private audience at the IoD which was instantly seized upon by the media.  He was sacked 18 months later, and in 1994 the Ratner name was expunged from the company, renamed The Signet Group.
He went home, cycled to get his head together, then for four years he worked as a general business consultant, before setting up a health club in Henley. He sold it for £3.9m in 2001, when one of the club's members, Goldsmiths the Jewellers head, Jurek Piasecki, encouraged him to go back into the jewellery trade. Subsequently Ratner set up a new, much smaller on-line jewellery business called GeraldOnline.  In August 2006, press speculation has noted that Ratner is interested in acquiring the UK business of Signet Group plc — the re-named Ratner's group. He is a married father of four and a fitness fanatic, cycling around 20 miles per day.



Act I: The Rise.

Chapter 1. Family Life.

Chapter 2. Growing Up.

Chapter 3. Toughening Up.

Chapter 4. The Family Business.

Chapter 5. Growing the Business.

Chapter 6. Going Public.

Chapter 7. The Home Front.

Chapter 8. Downturn.

Chapter 9. Taking Over.

Chapter 10. Turnaround.

Chapter 11. The Big Time.

Chapter 12. Trauma.

Chapter 13. Thatcher's Decade.

Chapter 14. The Incredible Eighties.

Chapter 15. Going Global.

Chapter 16. Riding the Acquisitions Express.

Act II: The Fall.

Chapter 17. Welcome to the Nineties.

Chapter 18. An Invitation.

Chapter 19. That Speech.

Chapter 20. As Bad as it Gets.

Chapter 21. The End.

Chapter 22. The Wilderness.

Chapter 23. Out of the Frying Pan.

Act III: The Rise Again.

Chapter 24. Starting All Over Again.

Chapter 25. The Launch.

Chapter 26. Dotcom Millionaire.

Chapter 27. Thinking Big.

Chapter 28. What Goes Around.

The Speech.