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Business of Innovation by Russell Radford, Roger Bean

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CHAPTER NINE

LEVERAGING LOGIC

ARNAUD DE PONTAC WAS A member of the French merchant class, descended from artisans and on the rise socially. Titles would be forthcoming, but the lasting achievement of the Pontac family, and Arnaud in particular, had little to do with titles, French nobility, or French politics.

The Pontacs were lawyers and landowners. They had been upwardly mobile for over a hundred years prior to the period described here—1647. By any measure, they were not poor. But the stone-built family chateau, called Haut-Brion, was an hour from the city, situated on a mean patch of gravelly soil where little would grow. Arnaud’s country property would in fact grow little but vines, vines that had been producing wine here since the Roman ...

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