Thor Bjorgolfsson is a self-styled adventure capitalist with an addiction to debt and an insatiable appetite for business deals who became Iceland's first billionaire. After 10 years establishing his financial empire with alco-pops and beer in the lawless 'Wild East' of newly-capitalist Russia in the 1990s, he moved on to merging, floating, spinning off and privatising businesses from Finland to Sweden, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and the Czech Republic. On his 40th birthday, and worth $3.5 billion, he was sitting on top of the world; only 250 people in it were richer than him. His most spectacular triumph was the takeover of Iceland's second-largest bank, Landsbanki - he had expected his investment's value to double or treble in four years, and instead it rose ten-fold.
But when financial meltdown hit Iceland in October 2008, Landsbanki crashed and burned, taking Bjorgolfsson with it. Within 12 months he had lost 3.3 billion euros - 98.5% of his wealth - and was treated as a scapegoat in his native country for supposedly bringing about the disaster. Faced with appalling debts, Bjorgolfsson has made good on his promises to repay his creditors, and at the age of 47 is now a billionaire once again.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 558 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 27 mm
Though the global financial crisis has spawned shoals of instant histories, mostly by small-fry journalists, there are precious few first-hand accounts of what it was like to be one of the big fish swimming in the treacherous economic seas of the past two decades. Now comes Icelandic entrepreneur Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson with a gripping autobiography that describes not only his part in his homeland's banking blow-up but also his earlier career as a brewer in the "Wild East" that was post-Soviet Russia. Anyone who wants to understand the animal spirits that propelled the world economy all the way underwater in 2008 - and then slowly raised it back to the surface again - will relish Billions to Bust and Back -- Niall Ferguson
A self-confessed deal junkie afloat on the turbulent seas of global capitalism, this latter day Thor's life story of triumph, disaster and, it seems, redemption is in the finest tradition of Viking sagas. He provides a gripping insider's perspective on the causes of the financial crisis and its aftermath that you won't read anywhere else. -- Matthew Bishop
Thor Bjorgolfsson made $4billion by the time he was 40 and lost most of it by the time he was 41. His story has much to tell about entrepreneurship. dogged ambition and the brutal might of global markets. A classic tale of how a young man from a small island reached for the sky, achieved riches beyond his dreams and then saw the sky come crashing in on him. -- Brent Hoberman
Thor has lived a classic story of boom to bust; of youthful ambition and exuberance; of sheer passion and determination. Now he has emerged to tell the tale. Inspiring! -- Ashish Thakkar
A must-read for anyone with entrepreneurial spirit. -- Nick Leeson * Management Today *