Black Business History Month: Reginald F. Lewis “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?”​


“Keep Going No Matter What”

“Do The Work”

These are amongst my favorite quotes by Reginald F. Lewis. Reggie did the work and kept going no matter what to become the first black billionaire in the United States.

If you were to stop and ask many people (black and white) to ask them; “who is the first black billionaire?” – the vast majority would probably say Oprah Winfrey or Bob Johnson with white people being mostly skewed towards Oprah. Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Johnson deserve all the respect and accolades that come with achieving billionaire status. However, I find it a terrible shame that black youth won’t be studying the TLC Beatrice International Deal concurrent to studying the underground railroad this month because it was nothing short of Masterful.

When I discovered that Reginald F. Lewis had used $15 million of his own money to purchase a $985 million company, while selling parts of the company simultaneous with the takeover, it made me believe in magic – again. When I discovered that he got paid significantly more than the $15 million he had invested up front when the deal closed, I started to believe in sorcery.

I study the anatomy of the deal in his book; “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion Dollar Business Empire” in much the same way a pre-med student studies science. This deal in all it’s parts, and in all it’s finite details is a beautiful synthesis of art, math, strategy, timing, aggression, and patience. The deal was Masterful in and of itself, but the fact that a black man had gotten it done in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds made it all that much sweeter for me to study.

Reginald F. Lewis has personally inspired me to “think outside the box” in my business dealings, and to “do the work” and to “keep going no matter what.” For me these things are a matter of necessity and not a matter of choice… After all, why should white guys have all the fun?

Be great!

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