Oprah Triumphs By Avoiding Traps

By Andrew Gauthier 

The New York Times

When you look at Oprah Winfrey‘s multidecade run through daytime talk–most of it at No. 1–it’s easy to be impressed by what she did to make it happen. But her longevity and success (Forbes estimated her net worth at over $2.3 billion) probably has more to do with what she did not do.

She never took her company public, which meant that she remained in control of both her operation and her destiny (see Martha Stewart).


She never christened her own book imprint even though she created best sellers with the flick of the wrist (see Miramax/Talk).

She never stuck her name, a very powerful brand, on any merchandise (see Martha again, along with a host of chefs and athletes).

She did not license her name to a magazine, she built one in her own image and tweaked it until it became a big publishing success (see Donald Trump, et al). More…