Editors Pick Family Business News

New Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook Out Now

Family businesses (FBs) are the unsung engine of our economy. Family businesses—companies in which two or more family members exercise control, concurrently or sequentially—represent an estimated 85% of the world’s companies. The United States alone has 5.5 million of these businesses, which employ 62% of the workforce. Understanding the secrets to their success and longevity is imperative for post-pandemic recovery and beyond.

But surprisingly few resources exist to help navigate the unique challenges FBs face when they share the executive suite, financial statements, and holidays. How can family businesses make the right decisions, critical to the long-term survival of any business, with the added challenge of having to do so within the context of a family?

The HBR Family Business Handbook brings sophisticated guidance and practical advice from family business experts Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer, cofounders and partners in BanyanGlobal, a leading Boston-based firm that advises family enterprises.

Drawing on their decades-long experience working closely with a wide range of FBs of all sizes around the world, the authors present proven methods and approaches for communicating effectively, managing conflict, building the right governance structures, and more.



In the HBR Family Business Handbook readers will find:

  • A new perspective on what makes FBs succeed and fail
  • A framework to help families make good decisions together
  • Step-by-step guidance on managing change within a business family
  • Key questions about wealth, unique to FBs, that owners can’t afford to ignore
  • Assessments to help FBs determine where they are—and where they want to go
  • Stories of real companies, from Marchesi Antinori to Radio Flyer

Family and business are two of the most powerful forces in the world, so it is unsurprising that FBs create an intense nexus of opportunity and challenge. They are endlessly fascinating—as evidenced by the popularity of television shows like Succession, Empire, Dynasty and Dallas, and the intense media scrutiny of media, sports, and business dynasties. But they are also some of the least understood organizations because they do not fit the model of traditional businesses. Plus, their decisions are complicated by family and owner dynamics that can’t be easily observed by outsiders.

This comprehensive guide is an essential resource to help families build, grow, and sustain their business for years, and generations, to come. It is also useful for non-family members, professional service firms, and investors who need to understand how family dynamics affect the complex decisions and critical relationships necessary to create and sustain a healthy family business.

HBR Handbooks provide ambitious professionals with the frameworks, advice, and tools they need to excel in their careers. With step-by-step guidance, time-honed best practices, and real-life stories, each comprehensive volume helps you to stand out from the pack—whatever your role.

Find out more and order your copy here

Early Praise for the Handbook

“Want your family business to endure, not just for years, but for generations? This is the book for you! Baron and Lachenauer fully understand the challenges and opportunities of family businesses and provide excellent and actionable guidance and advice. As a mother and daughter in a 5th generation family business, we know such guidance is invaluable. This Handbook is approachable and a great resource for every generation.”
Pamela Mars Wright and Charlotte Rossetter, 4th and 5th generation Mars family

” The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook is a must-read for family business owners, family members, advisors and employees. Easy (and dare I say fun!) to read, the authors mix great storytelling with actionable guidance and advice. Highly recommend!”
—Robert Pasin, CEO of 3rd generation family business Radio Flyer

“Our family’s legacy has always been steeped in a foundation of core values and a heart of service. As described in The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook, Banyan’s approach is genuine, thorough, balanced and wholistic, effectively ensuring our legacy is alive vs historical. The tools, tactics and strategies detailed in the Handbook meaningfully impacted our family’s successful generational transition to the 4th generation and aligned strongly with our philosophy of Values Based Leadership.”
Peter J. Holt and Corinna Holt Richter, 4th Gen Owners of HOLT CAT

“WOW!!! This is a must read. Running a 4th generation family business, I have read A LOT of books on the subject. Hands down The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook is the most succinct, applicable and useful of them all. I read it cover to cover. This will be a dog-eared book on my bookshelf and referenced often. Easy to read, but full of substance, the handbook covers everything you need to help guide your family business across generations!”
Dr. Jodi Berg, 4th generation President & CEO, Vitamix

“Purpose-driven, values-based, people-focused generational family businesses can and do change the world. They create and retain jobs, they enhance communities, and they provide all of their stakeholders with opportunities to pursue work that really matters. But all of this can only happen if they first run a great business. The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook shows you how!”
Steve Shifman, President & CEO of multi-generational family business Michelman

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