In the unauthorized Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, business writer and columnist Christopher Byron traces Martha’s journey from the troubled world of a working class family in New Jersey to the pinnacle of fame and power as the head of the billion dollar business bearing her name. In Martha Inc., Byron shows that the great irony in Martha’s triumph is that she has grown to global fame by celebrating a domestic life she never actually knew. Out of an imagined bliss, Martha created a media and merchandising empire devoted to the celebration of home, food, and family.
Martha Stewart's story is part Horatio Alger success story and part Citizen Kane drama, reaching from the modest homes of Nutley, New Jersey, to the palatial estates of Long Island, from the suburban kitchens of Connecticut to the boardrooms of Wall Street. At each step of the way, Byron gets inside Martha’s world, from her troubled working class upbringing to her years of peddling speculative stocks on Wall Street in the go-go 60s. Thereafter, Byron follows Martha through the ordeal of her failing marriage to the launch of her magazine. Finally, we accompany Martha in her triumphant and climactic return to Wall Street at century’s end to sell stock in her company in an IPO that would make her a billionaire. Byron attends, through fly-on-the-wall sources, executive meetings with some of the most powerful individuals in American business to watch as they try to deal with a woman who emerged from nowhere to overpower them all. He eavesdrops as they bad-mouth her as she leaves the room, often with a fabulous deal in her hand. He watches as they discover, only too late, this former housewife outsmarts them at their own game. Martha Inc. gets up-close-and-personal with the personality of Martha, one of the most complex and driven people in the history of business.
All this and more unfolds in the pages of Martha Inc.--a compelling three-dimensional view of the woman, her business, and her unique hold on domestic culture. Set against the backdrop of the vast changes that reshaped the role of women in post-WWII American life--the stages of which became rungs on a ladder Martha climbed to success--this is Martha's story, a saga filled with power, drama, conflict, and tragedy.