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Born to Rule is the unauthorised biography that unravels the many layers of the man who has just become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Au Born to Rule is the unauthorised biography that unravels the many layers of the man who has just become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Australia’s most celebrated overachievers, Turnbull's relentless energy and quest for achievement have taken him from exclusive Point Piper to Oxford University; from beating the Thatcher government in the Spycatcher trial to losing the referendum on the republic; from defending the late Kerry Packer - codenamed Goanna - in the Costigan Royal Commission to defending his own role in the failure of HIH, Australia's biggest corporate collapse. He was involved in the unravelling of the Tourang bid for Fairfax, struck it rich as co-founder of OzEmail, and fought his own hotly contested battle for Wentworth As Opposition leader he was duped by Godwin Grech's 'Utegate' fiasco; as the most tech-savvy communications minister he oversaw a nobbled NBN scheme. And now he has assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party for the second time after wrestling the prime ministership from first-term PM Tony Abbott. Will Turnbull crash and burn as he has before or has his entire tumultuous life been a rehearsal for this moment?


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Born to Rule is the unauthorised biography that unravels the many layers of the man who has just become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Au Born to Rule is the unauthorised biography that unravels the many layers of the man who has just become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Australia’s most celebrated overachievers, Turnbull's relentless energy and quest for achievement have taken him from exclusive Point Piper to Oxford University; from beating the Thatcher government in the Spycatcher trial to losing the referendum on the republic; from defending the late Kerry Packer - codenamed Goanna - in the Costigan Royal Commission to defending his own role in the failure of HIH, Australia's biggest corporate collapse. He was involved in the unravelling of the Tourang bid for Fairfax, struck it rich as co-founder of OzEmail, and fought his own hotly contested battle for Wentworth As Opposition leader he was duped by Godwin Grech's 'Utegate' fiasco; as the most tech-savvy communications minister he oversaw a nobbled NBN scheme. And now he has assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party for the second time after wrestling the prime ministership from first-term PM Tony Abbott. Will Turnbull crash and burn as he has before or has his entire tumultuous life been a rehearsal for this moment?

30 review for Born to Rule: The unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull

  1. 4 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ Since his childhood, it was said that Malcolm Turnbull would be Prime Minister one day. Bright, quick, funny, arrogant, confident, educated, talented – he had it all in spades, including the right connections. “Herald” political editor Peter Hartcher tells this story: “When Malcolm Turnbull took the leadership of the Liberal Party, Paul Keating decided he had some useful insights into the man. He decided to offer them to Kevin Rudd. The previous Labor prime minister told the incumbent Labor pri 5★ Since his childhood, it was said that Malcolm Turnbull would be Prime Minister one day. Bright, quick, funny, arrogant, confident, educated, talented – he had it all in spades, including the right connections. “Herald” political editor Peter Hartcher tells this story: “When Malcolm Turnbull took the leadership of the Liberal Party, Paul Keating decided he had some useful insights into the man. He decided to offer them to Kevin Rudd. The previous Labor prime minister told the incumbent Labor prime minister on the phone that . . . Rudd had to understand three key things about Turnbull. First, he should know that Turnbull was brilliant. Second, that Turnbull was utterly fearless. At this point Rudd, an irritated Rudd, demanded to know, ‘Is there any good news here?’ Keating replied with his third point: Turnbull has no judgement.” That was then. Manning has done a mighty job of pulling together information and opinions from many sources, public and private, and even managed to get some emailed answers directly from Turnbull, who will undoubtedly write his own autobiography. It’s a long, thorough study of a brilliant man with an electric personality. He has been both the bullied and a bully during his school years and his professional life, but after his ignominious political downfall in 2009, he and wife Lucy underwent a health makeover. They went to Chinese doctor, Shuquan Liu (http://www.tcmaustralia.com.au/team/) in Bondi Junction who put them on “a crash diet, fasting for two weeks, consuming nothing but smelly herbal potions” and losing 13 and 10 kg respectively. More important was the added energy and "more profound was Turnbull's psychological transformation. Lucy now described her husband as ‘zen’—a description that would never have fitted Turnbull before—and close friends and family agreed, he had calmed down a lot.” And he needed to calm down a lot. As Liberal Leader of the Opposition, he’d brought himself undone by heralding the claims of a disturbed Treasury official who was feeding the Liberal Party false information that accused Labor PM Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan of illegal grants activities. It is said that Turnbull could see himself dethroning a sitting PM and taking over the reins. When the fraud was proven, he was devastated and his own leadership spill ensued, putting Tony Abbott in the box seat for Australia's next PM. Since that time, when Turnbull considered leaving politics but then decided to continue in his federal seat of Wentworth (NetWorth, as some say), he seems to have maintained his ‘zen’, which has perhaps also improved his judgement. You'll have to ask Mr. Keating. Background: Malcolm Turnbull’s family has been in Australia longer than most non-indigenous Australians – arriving in 1802 with the first settlers on the Hawkesbury (scene of Kate Grenville's The Secret River). He is the product of very bright, ambitious parents. They didn’t start out with much, but mother Coral was a talented radio actress and script-writer of some renown, with connections in politics and entertainment. Her first radio script was accepted when she was 13, she finished school at 15, wrote more plays, worked for the ABC, went to Sydney Uni and became close friends with Neville Wran, later a popular NSW Labor Premier. Before she died at 61, she became Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of Graduate Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey in the U.S. Father Bruce started off as an electrician and switched to real estate, eventually becoming a successful hotel broker, buying and selling pubs. But their early years were modest, and Coral was having trouble reconciling the demands of a baby with the demands of her busy professional career. Dissatisfied, she had an affair with a professor, packed up the family furniture and the cat (but not her son), and took off with him for a new life in NZ and the U.S, leaving Bruce and Malcolm bereft. Nine-year old Malcolm was told only that mum had just left to do some studies and would be back. Abandonment as a kid coloured much of his life, and although Coral drifted back in later years and became close to him, it never eased the sting. When she left, he was already boarding at Sydney Grammar, bullied and not popular “. . . it was a bleak, bleak period for me. . . . words cannot describe how much I hated it.” But by 1972, he was head prefect and joint school captain. He’d figured out, in his own words “that the best way to change things is not through confronting the system head on—because in a confrontation it must win—but by working with and within the system to promote change.” He went on to become a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and was a debater who could perform at the drop of a hat. Give him a topic and a point to argue, and he was hard to beat, a talent which he used to great effect as a lawyer. Turnbull became a well-known journalist with “The Bulletin”, Australia’s premiere news magazine, and he’s still a skilled media performer. Knows a good story and how to promote it. There is also a thorough look at wife Lucy Hughes, who was equally well-connected--the daughter of highly-regarded QC Tom Hughes, and niece of world-famous art critic Robert Hughes. She became Lord Mayor of Sydney in her own right, and her talent and influence is such that she is compared to Hillary Clinton, not something she would welcome, but she’s certainly as imposing a figure. Between them, they know everybody and anybody. He earned his wealth in his banking career with Goldman Sachs, Nick Whitlam, Neville Wran . . . the list goes on. He said he intended a political career one day, so he wanted his investments to be clear and above-board so there would be no skeletons to haunt him. And it seems he's done that. He rose to prominence during the “Spycatcher” case (defending the right to publish the book in Australia that MI5 had banned in Great Britain) and later during Kerry Packer’s dealings with the royal commission during the Costigan inquiry. Packer chose to rely on the 29-year-old’s advice rather than that of “the older gents [who] took a more conservative point of view.” He also negotiated Packer’s successful sale (and later repurchase) of his TV empire to Alan Bond, both amazing business deals. There is a long discussion of the FAI HIH debacle and the royal commission investigating the collapse and Turnbull’s part in the transactions. But as usual, he managed the fallout well and finally tossed his hat into the political ring. It’s the background and history that interested me – the rest is current affairs and a lot is public knowledge. But Manning has great detail about the politics, the ballots, the spills, the disappointments and the final triumph of his position as this book is published in late 2015. I am hoping that he will maintain his ‘zen’ and his schoolboy position of “working with and within the system to promote change.” A wonderful resource, well foot-noted and indexed, and I thank NetGalley and the publisher and author for allowing me an advance review copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Daw

    Easy to read and a fascinating digest.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kym Jackson

    A fair and even handed, but ultimately scathing portrait of MT. I would have given it four stars if not for a couple of factors, 1. at the end of the book I still felt that, whilst I know what MT has done I don’t know who he is (in fairness to the author, it seems to be a central thesis of the biography that MT is a cipher who doesn’t really have any core principles But this isn’t spelled out—it needs some commentary and interpretation rather than just being a chronology of events) and, 2. In th A fair and even handed, but ultimately scathing portrait of MT. I would have given it four stars if not for a couple of factors, 1. at the end of the book I still felt that, whilst I know what MT has done I don’t know who he is (in fairness to the author, it seems to be a central thesis of the biography that MT is a cipher who doesn’t really have any core principles But this isn’t spelled out—it needs some commentary and interpretation rather than just being a chronology of events) and, 2. In the last chapter the author goes with a pro ALP narrative that is plainly wrong (in the sense that Labor did not give MT a bipartisanship on the NEG but instead held out until MT was destroyed and then, and only then, cynically adopted it as their policy, the author lets them off the hook in favour of simplistic Abbott bashing). There are couple of other things in the last chapter about MT’s downfall which have subsequently been proved wrong and should’ve been corrected when the book was updated. All in all, a worthwhile read however. Overall: recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Moy

    I found this book a big read with every page packed with information that required time to analyse and absorb. It was not a quick read. But the time spent was worth while. The book is well researched, well written and provides a very complete profile of Australia's current prime minister. I feel I am now a much better informed Australian voter having read it. I would definitely recommend this book to any fellow Australian.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Orthman

    Interesting insight into the life of Malcolm Turnbull before acquiring the highest office in Australia. An extremely intelligent, driven and successful man. Amazing how quickly he accrued wealth in investment banking and business, compounding an already sizeable inheritance.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter Fazackerley

    interesting

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Turnbull had been talked about as a future prime minister since before he could remember.’ On 15 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull MP was sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. But who is Malcolm Turnbull, and what does he stand for? Malcolm Bligh Turnbull (born 24 October 1954), has been a member of parliament since 2004, representing the NSW seat of Wentworth. He has had careers as a journalist, a lawyer and as a businessman before being elected to the Australian Parliament. In this book, ‘Turnbull had been talked about as a future prime minister since before he could remember.’ On 15 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull MP was sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. But who is Malcolm Turnbull, and what does he stand for? Malcolm Bligh Turnbull (born 24 October 1954), has been a member of parliament since 2004, representing the NSW seat of Wentworth. He has had careers as a journalist, a lawyer and as a businessman before being elected to the Australian Parliament. In this book, an unauthorised biography, Paddy Manning—a Sydney journalist—documents Malcolm Turnbull’s life and career. Mr Manning’s investigations have drawn on interviews with others and have involved detailed research. The biography was not authorised by Malcolm Turnbull, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. An advantage in that Mr Manning could report his impressions and conclusions independently, a disadvantage in that while the records tell what has happened, motivation can sometimes only be assumed. From looking back over Malcolm Turnbull’s career to date, it’s clear that he is energetic, intelligent and focussed. It is also clear that he defies any neat categorisation. His achievements include beating the Thatcher Government in the Spycatcher trial in the late 1980s, clearing the way for the publication of ‘Spycatcher’ by Peter Wright. He also defended Kerry Packer—codenamed Goanna— during the Costigan Royal Commission (officially titled the Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union) during the 1980s. He later had to defend his own role in the collapse of HIH in 2001—Australia’s largest corporate collapse. Malcolm Turnbull was also heavily involved in what became a failed attempt by referendum in 1999 to change Australia’s constitution to enable the establishment of a republic. Malcolm Turnbull’s successes in business included co-founding, with Sean Howard and Trevor Kennedy, OzEmail in the early 1990s. Malcolm Turnbull has a long list of achievements. In 2004, Malcolm Turnbull was elected to the Australian Parliament. In 2008, he was elected leader of the Liberal Party and of the opposition coalition. In 2009, his judgement was questioned after the ‘Utegate’ fiasco, and in December that year was replaced by Tony Abbott as leader. Who would have thought, then, that less than six years later Malcolm Turnbull would be Prime Minister? I found this book interesting. It provides a lot of detail about Malcolm Turnbull, and a comprehensive chronology of his life so far. While I remember many of the public events (especially the Spycatcher trial, the republic referendum and ‘Utegate’) I knew less about Mr Turnbull’s business involvements. Together Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy make a formidable team. Will all that energy and intelligence make Malcolm Turnbull an effective prime minister? I hope so. I guess that we’ll have to wait to see. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Melbourne University for an opportunity to read a copy of this biography. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  8. 5 out of 5

    A Reader's Heaven

    (I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.) The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Australia’s most celebrated overachievers. Turnbull's relentless energy and quest for achievement have taken him from exclusive Point Piper to Oxford University; from beating the Thatc (I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.) The highs and lows of Malcolm Turnbull's remarkable career are documented here in technicolour detail by journalist Paddy Manning. Based on countless interviews and painstaking research, it is a forensic investigation into one of Australia’s most celebrated overachievers. Turnbull's relentless energy and quest for achievement have taken him from exclusive Point Piper to Oxford University; from beating the Thatcher government in the Spycatcher trial to losing the referendum on the republic; from defending the late Kerry Packer—codenamed Goanna—in the Costigan Royal Commission to defending his own role in the failure of HIH, Australia's biggest corporate collapse. He was involved in the unravelling of the Tourang bid for Fairfax, struck it rich as co-founder of OzEmail, and fought his own hotly contested battle for Wentworth. As Opposition leader he was duped by Godwin Grech's 'Utegate' fiasco; as the most tech-savvy communications minister he oversaw a nobbled NBN scheme. And now he has assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party for the second time after wrestling the prime ministership from first-term PM Tony Abbott. Will Turnbull crash and burn as he has before or has his entire tumultuous life been a rehearsal for this moment? I am not always a big fan of political biographies. They can be a big yawn-fest (I'm talking about you, My Life!) The best part about this book, however is that this isn't really about the man's politics, it is about his life and how he came to be the politician he is. I have to say that while I have always thought Turnball to be a bit of a snooty, toffee-nosed elitist, it is when you read his background and understand where he has come from that you get an idea of the man he is. From his mother's leaving at an early age, to bullying at school, he went on to be a skilled debater and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and then a political journalist. He had a very successful career as a lawyer - at times defending Peter Wright (Spycatcher) and Kerry Packer - and then an even more successful career in the banking trade. His political life is covered up until now. It hasn't been a long path so far, but I am sure we will see far more of Malcolm Turnball in the years to come. Finally, one thing that really impressed me about this book was the inclusion of a lot of information about his wife, Lucy. Usually these biographies keep wives/husbands out of the picture except to mention they are married. This book, however, gave us a clear indication of the successful woman Lucy Turnball is in her own right - and why they make such a terrific team. Paul ARH

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul McCarthy

    If you want to know more about the remarkable life of Australia's 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull then this book is for you. Manning draws together an amazing amount of research into a coherent and well flowing book. Born to Rule is a great book and will no doubt stand the test of time. It is easy to read and very funny in parts. There's some amazing stories featuring many of Australia's best known business and political leaders of the past 50 years including Neville Wran, Kerry Packer, Gou If you want to know more about the remarkable life of Australia's 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull then this book is for you. Manning draws together an amazing amount of research into a coherent and well flowing book. Born to Rule is a great book and will no doubt stand the test of time. It is easy to read and very funny in parts. There's some amazing stories featuring many of Australia's best known business and political leaders of the past 50 years including Neville Wran, Kerry Packer, Gough Whitlam, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, John Howard and of course Tony Abbott. It's also a great personal story of triumph over adversity as we learn how a young Turnbull overcame early challenges in his school and home life to find extraordinary success at University, in the law and then later in business. As testimony to the books punch — one of the first feature-length newspaper reviews of this book by respected Sydney Morning Herald writer Paul Sheehan, who lives in Turnbull's electorate and voted against him in the last election, said that after reading Manning's biography he now intends to vote for Turnbull at the next one. Highly recommended if you are interested in Australian politics, law or business. Also recommended for those who enjoy a well-told story of an amazing and inspirational life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    This book is about the life and times of Australia’s current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. I found some parts of the book very interesting and some parts of the book very uninteresting. The book starts by introducing the reader to Turnbull’s ancestors and how and why they came to Australia. It details Malcolm’s school days and university days, then goes on to give an insight into his Rhodes Scholarship days and his working life with Kerry Packer. There was a chapter devoted to the 'Spycatche This book is about the life and times of Australia’s current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. I found some parts of the book very interesting and some parts of the book very uninteresting. The book starts by introducing the reader to Turnbull’s ancestors and how and why they came to Australia. It details Malcolm’s school days and university days, then goes on to give an insight into his Rhodes Scholarship days and his working life with Kerry Packer. There was a chapter devoted to the 'Spycatcher' book saga, when Malcolm defended the case in court. A long chapter of the book concerning Godwin Grech was padded out, seemingly with the intent of just putting words on a page without any relevance to anything. I was looking forward to reading in detail of the leadership spill and its machinations in September 2015. However there was only one paragraph on the subject. Given the long, somewhat rambling and uninteresting Grech chapter, I would have expected more than one paragraph on the election of Malcolm Turnbull to the leadership of the Liberal Party and therefore becoming the Prime Minister. A few appalling grammatical errors and typos didn’t help the flow of the book. However the book does give some insight into Malcolm Turnbull and the man he is today.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    So reading this was continuing a trend I started a while back of reading the biographies/autobiographies of current Prime Ministers to gain some insight into their motivations and drives. It became a trend because we have had so many new Prime Ministers in recent years! I have to admit that I didn't persevere with this one until the end. No disrespect to Paddy Manning and his meticulous research or his writing style. I found I became really disinterested when the book reached Malcolm's political So reading this was continuing a trend I started a while back of reading the biographies/autobiographies of current Prime Ministers to gain some insight into their motivations and drives. It became a trend because we have had so many new Prime Ministers in recent years! I have to admit that I didn't persevere with this one until the end. No disrespect to Paddy Manning and his meticulous research or his writing style. I found I became really disinterested when the book reached Malcolm's political years as they were so recent that I felt I'd lived them already via the media. I did however really enjoy reading about his child hood and early adult years. This was an unauthorised biography which is always tricky in terms of access to information and people but usually leaves the author more freedom to take an independent position unfettered by the subject's attempts at image management. I think Paddy Manning did a sterling job and would recommend his book to anyone who wants to try to understand the man behind the position.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ned Charles

    If half stars were possible I would make this a 4.5 star offering. A good, well written, unauthorized biography. The report commences with Turnbull's parents and continues on through what was not an enviable childhood, despite the obvious opportunities. It is easy to gain an opinion that Turnball was generously guided by senior people such as Packer, his father-in-law and Wran, obviously his efforts were admirable and they continued to see something that was worth pursuing. His tolerance of other If half stars were possible I would make this a 4.5 star offering. A good, well written, unauthorized biography. The report commences with Turnbull's parents and continues on through what was not an enviable childhood, despite the obvious opportunities. It is easy to gain an opinion that Turnball was generously guided by senior people such as Packer, his father-in-law and Wran, obviously his efforts were admirable and they continued to see something that was worth pursuing. His tolerance of other people has been a constant hindrance to achieving the full yield of many projects and life itself . Now, in early 2016 with an election looming, we are about to judge Turnbull as he stands on that very public stage, an Australian general election. Manning has done well in following the movements of Turnbull. But then, a very publicised subject.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Immaculately researched, this has just enough of the personal to make a fascinating account of the PM's many careers. To me, the only shame was that the end and most interesting part - Turnbull's political career - feels rushed and curtailed. If only Turnbull had given the author a few more months to finish up properly before staging his comeback.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jacinta Hanrahan

    This book is so well researched and written. Regardless of whether or not you like Malcolm Turnbull the book is very interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Allison Stanfield

    Very well written.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robard St johannes

  17. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edward Morgan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Glen Wright

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kisara

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Lyons

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steve Beauchier

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vishesh Dube

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Bolte

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liam Kiss

  26. 4 out of 5

    jhmainlandgmail.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Scobie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynton Bennett

  30. 4 out of 5

    William Rollo

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