Before you can write a book about business success, don't you first have to succeed at business? Apparently not.

According to, Bill Rancic, the winner of a $250,000/year job working for billionaire Donald Trump on NBC's The Apprentice, has been signed by HarperCollins to "write" a book about his path to business success. (We say "write," because we expect that, as with the books of Hillary Clinton, the REAL writing will be done by an uncredited ghostwriter.)

The 208-page book, entitled You're Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life from the Winner of The Apprentice, is scheduled to be published on September 14, 2004 -- just about the time that The Apprentice 2 will reach the airwaves. But what does Bill really have to talk about?

One of Bill's claims to fame on The Apprentice was that he was founder and CEO of the Web site Cigars Around the World, which he billed as a "multi-million dollar business." Indeed, the business apparently had gross revenues of $2-3 million, but it certainly didn't net very much moolah for Bill and his partner, who formed "The Ranley Group, Inc.," when they sold it.

Cigars Around the World was purchased by a public company named Synergy Brands, so we can find out exactly what The Ranley Group got for its stock:


On June 1, 2003, the Company acquired the common stock of Ranley Group, Inc. (d.b.a. Cigars Around the World ("CAW") of Chicago, Illinois). CAW is a leading supplier of premium hand-made cigars to some of some of the most prestigious hotels, restaurants, casinos and golf clubs in the United States. The purchase price for the common stock acquired was $425,000. Additional consideration of up to $450,000, to be paid through the issuance of Class B, Series A Preferred stock, cash or common stock is payable on various dates through May 2006, based upon the achievement of certain targeted operating results of CAW predominately based upon multiplying "Earnings before depreciation, amortization and taxes" (EBTDA) by six times. In December 2003, 25,000 shares of common stock have been issued valued at $100,000 for the purpose of satisfying the anticipated consideration due the seller by March 31, 2004, based upon the operating results of CAW through December 31, 2003. In the event that CAW experiences an EBTDA loss for the last quarter of the initial meeasurement period of 2004, an adjustment will be made to future consideration issued.

In other words, to date Ranley has received about $525,000 in return for its interests in CAW; the maximum consideration that Ranley could receive if everything went as well as could possibly be expected is $875,000 -- and Bill apparently has to split the cash with a partner (the "ley" in Ranley). Uh, a dot-com millionaire he isn't.

At the same time, the future of Trump's Chicago hotel, for which Bill is supposed to head construction, remains up in the air as The Donald has moved to buy out the interests of his original partners, Hollinger International, Inc. According to the Chicago Tribune, Trump will pay Hollinger about $77 million for the land, currently site of the Chicago Sun-Times building. Once the partnership is dissolved, The Donald says that up to eight firms are interested in being fleeced by The Donald financing the development.

So what secrets can Bill really share? To be honest, it seems that his expertise is limited to reality TV: his unsuccessful bid to star in ABC's The Bachelor 3 and his stint on The Apprentice. But perhaps becoming a reality TV star is enough to qualify as "business success" ... at least for the next 15 minutes, that is.