Cover image for Rebel with a cause : the entrepreneur who created the University of Phoenix and the for-profit revolution in higher education
Rebel with a cause : the entrepreneur who created the University of Phoenix and the for-profit revolution in higher education
Sperling, John G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, [2000]

Physical Description:
vi, 265 pages ; 24 cm
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LD4561.P46 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"A great life and a great read . . ."-George Soros

"A remarkably cogent story of a most remarkable man. Sperling's openness about problems and failures inspires and informs the entrepreneurial spirit. Sperling describes the extraordinary power and potential of focused human intensity. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in starting or building a business."-Peter Lewis, Chairman and CEO, The Progressive Corporation

"The University of Phoenix is the largest private university in the United States. It is fully accredited and traded on NASDAQ. Mere mention of its name produces anger, fear, and envy on the nation's college campuses. In the private sector, it has inspired scores of companies to enter the education market. This is the story of the entrepreneur who launched a revolution in higher education."-Arthur Levine, President, Teacher's College, Columbia University

"Education will be one of the key growth sectors of our knowledge-based economy over the next ten years. John Sperling, founder and Chairman of Apollo Group, has been one of the visionary driving forces behind this growth. By developing a unique customer-focused model of higher education, Dr. Sperling has helped to build the largest private university in the United States that continues to be one of the best growth opportunities in education today."-Thomas Weisel, President & CEO, Thomas Weisel Partners, LLC

Author Notes

JOHN SPERLING is Chairman and CEO of Apollo Group, Inc., the parent company of the University of Phoenix. He and his companies are widely covered in the financial and educational press, and have been the subject of feature articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Business Week, and the New Yorker.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Sperling admits to a misspent youth and a lackluster academic career. He served in the merchant marine, became a college professor, and worked as a union organizer. While at San Jose State University, he designed a program to attract working adults to the school, but it was dismissed by "a small-minded bureaucracy." So Sperling started his own school. In 1976 he opened the University of Phoenix with eight students. It now operates in 35 states, has an enrollment of more than 120,000 students, and has made Sperling millions of dollars. With Robert Tucker, Sperling has already laid out his case for market-based education in For Profit Higher Education: Developing a World-Class Workforce (1997). Now, approaching 80 and ever the maverick, he wants to tell his life's story. Sperling's memoir examines his coming of age, explains how he became an "unintentional entrepreneur," and details his belief in "giving back" what he has amassed. His causes include "demilitarizing" the war on drugs, saltwater "agriculture," and longevity research. --David Rouse

Library Journal Review

This thought-provoking memoir tells the story of Sperling's struggle to create the University of Phoenix--the world's most successful for-profit education company. (It currently posts revenues over $500 million, has a market capitalization of approximately $3 billion, operates in more than 35 states with a global distance education network, and has enrolled more than 120,000.) Here he traces the company's history--its ascent from a beleaguered institution to modern university. Sperling candidly describes his embattled quest, and along the way, shares his controversial views on how the United States must change its education policies to remain competitive in the new global economy. His controversial approach has already drawn fire, including from the library community. Recommended for academic and public libraries.--Samuel T. Huang, Northern Illinois Univ. Libs., DeKalb (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Lessonsp. 1
2 The Education of John Sperling: Part I--1939 to 1954--A Sea Changep. 19
3 The Education of John Sperling: Part II--1954 to 1960--Voyage to Europep. 35
4 San Jose State and the Transmogrification of John Sperling: Reentering Academep. 47
5 The Unintentional Entrepreneur: Summing Upp. 67
6 Exodus from California and Flight to the Valley of the Sun: Seeking a Strategy for Survivalp. 91
7 The War in Arizona: Setting the Scenep. 105
8 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: Part I--1979 to 1981--The FBI Arrives--RICOp. 123
9 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: Part II--1981 to 1986p. 143
10 Toward an IPO and Beyond: Preparation for and Launch of the IPO--1986 to 2000p. 163
11 Giving Back: Part Ip. 189
12 Giving Back: Part II--The War against the War on Drugsp. 201
13 Giving Back: Part III--The Second Battle for Proposition 200p. 227
14 Epiloguep. 245
Endnotesp. 257
Indexp. 259