The Bill Cook Story

The Bill Cook Story

Ready, Fire, Aim!
Bob Hammel
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/26/2008
Format: Hardback 75 b&w photos, 25 color photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-35254-5
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Bill Cook epitomizes the American success story. His business ventures in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, genetics, real estate, retail management, and travel services have made him a billionaire. Yet, Cook continues to lead a modest life, involving himself in a variety of philanthropic activities that have included historic preservation and even a marching band. This riveting story is the first-ever biography of the entrepreneur who, working from the spare bedroom of his Bloomington, Indiana, apartment in 1963 with a $1,500 investment, began to construct the wire guides, needles, and catheters that would become the foundation of the global multi-billion-dollar Cook Group. Biographer Bob Hammel, with extraordinary access to Cook, his files, and his associates, has created a vivid portrait of this modern, multidimensional Horatio Alger—quirky humor, widely varied interests, and all. Informative and inspiring, this book celebrates an exceptional self-made individual.

Author Bio

Bob Hammel served as a sports editor and columnist on Indiana newspapers for 50 years. For 30 of those years he was sports editor and columnist for the Bloomington Herald-Times. The recipient of many honors and awards for sports writing, he is the author of eight books, including Beyond the Brink with Indiana (IUP, 1987) and A Banner Year (IUP, 1993). With Bob Knight, he co-authored Knight: My Story. Hammel lives in Bloomington, Indiana.


“The biography of a visionary Indiana billionaire saving lives and landmarks. "Thanks to Hammel, Cook as inventor, entrepreneur, preservationist, and philanthropist truly comes to life—and readers come to know a fascinating Hoosier and American." —Robert Schmuhl, author of In So Many Words”

“Bill Cook is a great American success story. . . . Not only is Cook's journey from garage tinkerer to extraordinary wealth a great yarn, it reveals interesting lessons in how success is achieved and how it is defined. . . . I learned a lot from him.”
 — Angelo Pizzo, writer and producer, Hoosiers

“Bill Cook's amazing life and career become both fascinating and inspirational in the hands of Bob Hammel. A must-read biography.”
 — Michael Koryta, novelist

“Thanks to Hammel, Cook as inventor, entrepreneur, preservationist, and philanthropist truly comes to life—and readers come to know a fascinating Hoosier and American.”
 — Robert Schmuhl, author of In So Many Words

“ . . . Given unlimited access to the subject and his wife, the author is able to paint a particularly intimate portrait. . . [Readers] will emerge with many insights into the mind of a generous, though probably atypical, American businessman.September 2008”
 — Beth Breeze, Publications Editor

“Hammel's engaging book is a tribute to a remarkable man.09-07-2008”
 — Bloomington Herald Times

“The Bill Cook Story is as exciting as any championship series. Told by a master storyteller, the narrative sweeps the reader through the personal and private lives of Bill and Gayle Cook.Vol. 106, no. 4, December 2010”
 — Indiana Magazine of History

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Table of Contents


A Day in a Life

The Life
1. Playing in Peoria
2. The Canton High Years
3. A Wide Gold Band
4. Road to Bloomington
5. Bedroom Beginning
Ain't but One Bill Cook
6. Moving Up
An Ow, a Bow-Wow, a Hoosegow
7. Team Taking Shape
Taking Flight
8. Foothold in Europe
9. Doctors
10. Stents and Suits
11. Health
12. The Guidant Fiasco
The Band Director
13. Philosophy
14. Religion
15. Politics
16. Cook Clinic
The Bill Cook Plan for America

The Day Revisited
Kidnapping Redux

17. The Future

18. Power and Opportunity
19. Restorations
20. A Good Time in Our Lives

Sources and Notes