Born Paul Hamburger in Berlin, he came to England as a child. He began his illustrious publishing career in 1950 by founding Hamlyn Publishing, specializing in mass-market illustrated books on topics such as cookery and gardening. The company was sold to IPC in 1964, and in 1971 he founded Octopus, publishing books similar to those from his earlier venture. Octopus became the Octopus Group in 1979. The 1980s were a decade of expansion, with the acquisitions of Brimax (1983), Websters (1984), Hamlyn (his original company, 1986), and Mitchell Beazley (1987). Octopus also merged with Heinemann in 1985, making it a major player in the education, children's, and international markets. In 1987, Paul Hamlyn sold Octopus to Reed International. After a management buyout in 1998—the year Hamlyn was granted a peerage—Octopus was purchased by Hachette in 2001.
From The Oxford Companion to the Book in Oxford Reference.