Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2005 (Revised April 2007)


by William W. George and Andrew N. McLean


Oprah Winfrey believed in sharing the experiences that shaped her development and enabled her to become the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry and first African American billionaire. Traces her childhood and entertainment career, drawing connections in Winfrey's own words between passages in her turbulent childhood, both beneficial and traumatic, that became keynote lessons for her talk-shop audience and later guided her business and philanthropic activities. Raises questions about the motivations behind a business career, the value of authenticity in leadership, and the origins of unique abilities.

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Wealth; Leadership; Personal Development and Career; Gender; Biography; Giving and Philanthropy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;


George, William W., and Andrew N. McLean. "Oprah!" Harvard Business School Case 405-087, March 2005. (Revised April 2007.)