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DAVID A. JONES Always Moving Forward

A memoir of friends, family, and building Humana

472 pages
Old Stone Press

The story of friends, family, hometown values – and an entrepreneur who changed American healthcare forever

In 1961, David Jones and another young lawyer borrowed $1,000 each to build a nursing home. That modest investment turned into Humana: first the largest nursing home company in the U.S., then the largest hospital corporation, and today one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, with 65,000 employees and a value of $65 billion.

“I've always believed there's nothing being done that can't be done better,” Jones writes in this engaging account of American entrepreneurship. He also advocates hiring ordinary people who learn fast and get things done, rather than relying on expert credentials.

But Always Moving Forward is about so much more:

  • The controversy over for-profit medicine: Jones explains why he was “proudly not non-profit.”
  • The artificial heart: The world watched as a Humana team implanted the Jarvik-7 into a man who lived 620 days.
  • A sixteen-year-long humanitarian mission: After the collapse of the Berlin wall and Eastern European economies, President George H. W. Bush asked Jones to help rebuild the Romanian healthcare system, which had been devastated by war and a corrupt dictator.
  • 9/11: Jones and 23 Humana executives were at Ground Zero when the planes hit. They tell the harrowing story.
  • Life lessons learned: For example, “Family first” and “You don't have a clear idea unless it fits on the back of a business card.”
  • Business failures as well as successes.

Jones also was a great philanthropist, although mostly anonymously. His final legacy is one of the largest metropolitan parks completed this century – a project led by him and one of his sons in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Author Bio
Editor and writer at New West, California, and Ms. magazines and at The Courier-Journal. Communications consultant at Humana.

DAVID A. JONES, Sr., a Golden Gloves boxer who grew up in a tough Louisville, Kentucky West End neighborhood, borrowed $1,000 to help found what became the nation’s largest nursing home chain, then transformed it into the world’s largest hospital company and finally a health insurance colossus worth about $65 billion.

Jones, who was CEO of Humana Inc. for 37 years and its board chairman for 44 before retiring in 2007, was once described by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell as the most influential person in Louisville. Mayor Jerry Abramson said, “There are very few communitywide success stories that don’t bear the stamp of David Jones.” And his protégé, banker and investor J. David Grissom, called him “the finest human being I have ever known. ”In addition to his impact at Humana, he inspired and made a significant difference in the lives of many others, in and outside the Louisville community, and around the world."

David A. Jones, Jr.'s current passions include improving end-of-life care for patients, their families, and community caregivers; preserving, and learning to play, American roots music; supporting student-focused improvement in public education; and rejuvenating local journalism. He co-founded Chrysalis Ventures in 1993 in Louisville, KY, in the belief that focused financing for entrepreneurs was lacking “between the coasts.” This belief arose early, as he watched his father found and lead Humana Inc. – whose board he joined in 1993 when the company exited its industry-leading hospital business and re-invented itself as an insurer. At Chrysalis David has partnered with wonderful young companies in healthcare, education, telecommunications, and location-based entertainment. He’s continued to serve on Humana’s board, chairing it through the founders’ transition and now leading its governance committeeAuthor and journalist Bob Hill wrote eight books and more than 4,000 columns and feature stories in a 33-year career for the Louisville Courier Journal and Times. His books included collections of his columns, several gardening books, a history of the Louisville Slugger bat, and "Double Jeopardy," a story about a Louisville man who got away with murder, the victim's body and evidence of the murder found after his acquittal. Hill won many Louisville, Kentucky, and national awards for his writing, and was honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists with the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award for his writing and helping with the creation of the organization. Hill and his wife, Janet, live on an eight-acre arboretum they created in Utica, Indiana. He helped David Jones with his memoir.