Throughout my career I have counseled many family business owners and their spouses and children about the importance of succession planning. Sometimes they’ve listened but, more often it’s advice that goes in one ear and out the other. There are many reasons why business owners avoid this subject - family issues health issues; issues with other members of the management team; issues about valuations and often, just the desire to avoid thinking about the inevitable changes that life brings about.

I find this very disappointing because for many business owners – especially family business owners – their business is like one of their children, in some cases, even more so. Yet, they avoid planning their own legacy and wait for some inspiration, divine or otherwise, to help make the decisions easier. Often, however, a serious illness, or worse, an unexpected accident- in some cases affecting several members of senior management at the same time – will occur and the family or management team is left in the lurch, without a plan, without an agenda and without a leader. The consequences can be truly catastrophic.

I decided to write a book about the subject in the hopes that it would enable business owners to think more rationally and more sensibly about succession planning. I also hoped to dispel many of the myths and falsehoods about succession planning. That was the impetus for “Passing the Torch Without Getting Scorched.” And I’m pleased that so many people have found it helpful.

The book offers not only a comprehensive guide to the subject of succession planning, but also gives advice about various related topics such as understanding the differences between ownership succession and management succession; equity incentives for management; business valuations; and more.


Here’s what some other people have said about my book:

“Succession is the single most important decision any leader must ultimately make in preserving enterprise value and legacy…Larry has given me excellent advice through the years… Had this book been available to me earlier in my career, I could have avoided many years of missteps and heartache.” Justin McLain, a serial entrepreneur and successful builder of companies.

“Larry has written a very practical guide to owners of family-owned and privately managed businesses. His insights and guidance are based on many years of experience…Family business owners can learn much from this comprehensive approach to succession planning.” Wayne Shortridge, Director of Business Development, The Partners Group

“As an investor in dozens and dozens of private companies over the past 30 years, I would highly recommend this book to any business owner. In a very practical way, Gold does an outstanding job of removing the mystery from both ownership and management succession.” Larry Powell A business owner deeply involved with succession planning.