CEO savors biographies, optimistic life

Nelson Marchioli, who runs the nationwide Denny's restaurant chain, took a few journalism classes in college. So a recent read was a natural: “Edward R. Murrow and The Birth of Broadcast Journalism,” by Bob Edwards.

Other favorites have included biographies of Winston Churchill and presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.

“I like biographies, people that have made a difference in the world,” said Marchioli, who doesn't care for fiction. “It's what you can learn about what other people have done.”

He's also a fan of Reagan's signature phrase: “Trust but verify.”

Marchioli, 59, has two daughters, ages 30 and 23, who get their news online and from their cell phones. He watches cable TV news, but said “I still love to go out and get my newspaper.” The daily lineup includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and, when he's home in South Carolina, The Greenville News. He enjoys the paper with coffee and a bagel – unless he has time to stop at a Denny's.

“I love our breakfast most of all,” he said.

He has an iPod shuffle for music while he's working out, mostly oldies and country, but that's it for his iPod use. Workouts are daily, unless travel prevents it.

“I want to stay alive and have a quality life,” said Marchioli, whose office is at the company's Spartanburg headquarters.

He advocates an optimistic view of life.

“We have a tendency, as a society, to look at the negative side. I really don't believe people wake up in the morning and set out to do bad things. We should work harder to look at a positive view.”

Stella M. Hopkins