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Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations by Edward L. Bernays

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chapter 53

A. P. GIANNINI: AMERICA’S NUMBER-ONE BANKER

Late one night in December 1938 I picked up my ringing telephone and heard a voice yelling, “This is A. P. I want to talk to Mr. Bernays.”

“Who is A. P.?” I asked.

The voice repeated noisily, “A. P., A. P., A. P.”

I asked, “Are you the Associated Press or the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company?”

“No,” the voice answered curtly, “I am A. P. Giannini. I’m in San Francisco. Please take the next plane and see me at the bank.”

This was my introduction to the chairman of the board of the Bank of America. I continued, “Is this a professional call?”

His voice answered, “Yes, it is. Please take the next plane to San Francisco. We want to retain you.”

“I don’t fly.”

“Very well,” he said, “take the next ...

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