Beyond Tallulah ~ How Sam Wyly Became America’s Boldest Big-Time Entrepreneur

Beyond Tallulah Book

Photo Credit:  Debbie Harris

At the dawn of the Information Age in 1963, a computer salesman in Texas saw an opportunity where IBM, his former employer, saw only dusty oil camps.  This young entrepreneur, who had grown up dirt poor in rural Louisiana during the Great Depression, staked his young family’s livelihood on the notion that computers would help out local businesses—and, quite possibly, revolutionize the way America did business.

Six years later, Sam Wyly stood at the apex of a mercurial ascent in the new computer services industry. His global University Computing was the fifth most valuable company in Texas and the 155th most valuable in the USA.  Wyly then had another idea—one upon which he was willing to bet the farm.  He wanted to create a wireless telephone company for computers.  Twenty years before the World Wide Web, Wyly started to build a nationwide network of digital microwave towers.  Then came trouble…in the form of an implacable AT&T monopoly.

As portrayed in Beyond Tallulah, the rise, fall and rise of Sam Wyly is one of the great, unknown business stories of the last century.  While fellow Texan wheelers and dealers like good friend Ross Perot enjoyed their moments in the sun, Wyly remained quieter, mostly:  the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.  Beyond Tallulah, shows how Wyly followed his own contrarian path to build six different billion-dollar businesses while intersecting (in often unexpected and charming ways) with a fascinating roster of characters and events, from junk bond king Michael Milken to hedge fund guru Lee Ainslie; from banking software to budget steaks; from the Alaska pipeline to America’s first successful clean electricity company.

In biographer Dennis Hamilton’s hand, Wyly emerges as a true visionary, an ingenious company builder blessed with an almost uncanny feel for the ebbs and flows of the financial market.  For anyone interested in learning how imagination and a relentless, always-positive spirit can defy the odds over and over again, this dynamic, fully illustrated biography, featuring more than 200 color and black-and-white photos, is a must-read.

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