Writing

Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta to release first book in September – Chron

Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and star of the CNBC show “Billion Dollar Buyer,” will release his first book in September, expanding his self-made billionaire brand into the publishing world.

Over the course of some 180 pages, “Shut Up and Listen!” will share business insights gleaned from Fertitta’s three-decade career in the hospitality industry. The Galveston native turned one seafood restaurant in Katy into a multibillion-dollar empire spanning restaurants, hotels, amusement parks and casinos. Forbes puts Fertitta’s net worth at $4.5 billion.

“Everybody is born with gifts, and God made me a business guy,” said Fertitta, owner of Landry’s Inc., Fertitta Entertainment and Golden Nugget Casinos. “I just understand business. (The book) hits all my ‘Tilmanisms’ and explains them.”

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A few months after he bought the Houston Rockets in 2017 for a record $2.2 billion, Fertitta said he was approached by HarperCollins Leadership, a Nashville publisher of leadership books, to write a business how-to book for aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate executives.

Fertitta said he had been approached before to write a book, but never by a major publisher. HarperCollins, a subsidiary of New York-based News Corp., is the second-largest trade publisher in the U.S. and has been in business since 1817.

Fertitta, said he was paid an advance of around $500,000, and expects to make another $500,000 from book sales.

“I never thought someone would come to me and pay me seven digits to write a book,” he said in an interview Monday.

Fertitta spent the past six months — even postponing the latest season of “Billion Dollar Buyer” — to work on the book, which will feature the billionaire’s straightforward advice on business. Chapters will include “Take the Word ‘No’ Out of Your Damn Vocabulary,” “Seize the Opportunity — Eat the Weak” and “Keep Punching.” Each section ends with a summary of business strategies called “Tilman’s Targets.”

“You might think you know what you’re doing, but I’m going to show you what you don’t know,” Fertitta said. “The book isn’t just for entrepreneurs. It’s for anybody interested in business.”

Fertitta said he came up with the title during a meeting with HarperCollins editors in September. Everyone was talking over one another, and Fertitta interrupted, “Ya’ll shut up and listen!” The book will be sold in major bookstores and airports across the country starting in September. An audio-book, read by Fertitta, will also be offered.

Fertitta said he planned to go on a multicity tour to promote the book and would cross-promote it across his various businesses. He said he expects the book to be a popular seller in time for the holiday season.

Jim Milliot, editorial director of Publishers Weekly, a New York publishing trade publication, said a business book could stand out to become a bestseller, especially this year, when there aren’t that many hot sellers in the wake of several political blockbusters came out last year.

“It’s been kind of a slow start to 2019,” Milliot said. “Political is not as hot this year. You can strike it big on a business book.”

Unlike his TV show, “Shut Up and Listen!” afforded Fertitta the luxury of thinking through his business advice instead of offering it up on the spot, he said. Fertitta has enjoyed the publishing process so far, so much so he plans to write another book breaking down some of his biggest business deals.

“It will be easy to write another one,” Fertitta said. “I didn’t realize how much was in my brain.”

paul.takahashi@chron.com

twitter.com/paultakahashi

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