“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 HBR 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 guide your family business across generations!

— Dr. Jodi Berg, 4th generation President & CEO, Vitamix


The HBR Family Business Handbook Toolkit

The toolkit will help you and your family to:

  • Map the complex roles within your family business
  • Find a healthy middle ground where difficult issues can be raised, addressed, and resolved without doing lasting damage to relationships or shared assets
  • Define clear objectives in your family business using an Owner Strategy Statement
  • Construct a deliberate communication strategy to sustain a business that endures over the years; establish a family employment policy; and much more


What You Will Learn in the Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook:

Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer draw on their years of experience helping family businesses through transitions to provide thoughtful and practical guidance in the Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook.

  • How to decode your family business by understanding the influence of key individuals, multidimensional relationships, and system dynamics
  • Why ownership brings with it the power to either destroy your business or position it to thrive across generations
  • How to identify your type of family business and determine if it needs to change for your business to prosper
  • How to build the governance structures and processes necessary for good decisions
  • How to develop an Owner Strategy that defines success for your business
  • How to create an approach to communication that helps you foster the trusted relationships your family business depends on to thrive
  • How to establish a transition plan for your business to set up the next generation for success rather than conflict
  • How to work effectively and succeed in your family business
  • How to manage your family’s wealth responsibly
  • How to get the level of conflict just right
  • How to build a family office
  • How to build a family business that endures across generations
  • How to minimize the risk of losing what you have built

“For business owners looking for guidance, this book offers sound advice.”


— Financial Times

What Readers Say About This Book

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

Family businesses are not for the faint of heart. Even in the best of situations, the complex relationships between family and business are hard to navigate. The authors of The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook bring the experience, insight, and wisdom to help families wrestle through hard decisions and land in better places. I highly recommend this book.

— Bill Haslam, Haslam Family Capital, former Governor of Tennessee and President of Pilot Flying J

Our family’s legacy has always been steeped in a foundation of core values and a heart of service. As described in The HBR 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 Generation Owners of HOLT CAT

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

Family Owned Businesses — the pride of generations of families and, for that matter, all Americans — are the backbone of so many communities. They create vast economic opportunity and value for their owners and employees. The HBR Family Business Handbook lays out in proven fashion the frameworks, tools, and advice that should be instrumental to families to propel their businesses over many multiples of generations. A must read and invaluable resource.

— Douglas R. Oberhelman, Retired Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc.

4.6 Stars on Amazon

What Readers are Saying


“Family business decisions can be supercharged with emotion — scenes in this book made me want to laugh, cry, and shout out ‘Exactly!’ — but the authors offer terrific tips for how to navigate these shoals. I can’t recommend this book enough.”

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