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Sam Walton: Made in America Audio CD – February 15, 2018
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- Publisher : Recorded Books, Inc. and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (February 15, 2018)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664468978
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664468979
- Item Weight : 8.2 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,414,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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And throughout the years this book kept being mentioned by some of the brightest and most successful people as one of their main inspirations, a must read business classic, with the latest one (that I read) referred to by Jeff Bezos. So after more than a decade wondering, I finally decide to read the book. And what could it possibly teach me, someone who isn’t in the retail industry? As it turns out, quite a lot.
This book was written at the last few moments of Sam Walton’s life when he became ill, with him reminiscing about his journey in building his ultimate baby, the merchant giant Wal-Mart. And there’s so much to learn from this humble billionaire. First and foremost, there are many lessons about the business: on supply chain, logistics, accounting stuff, how to size up your competitors, how to expand, all the way to their choice of locations and addressing some of the infamous stigmas, such as the one that claim Wal-Mart kills small mom and pop stores, and provide answers that make perfect sense.
The book also highlight the way he organises the structure of Wal-Mart that benefitted the family and the employees, about the fun company culture that he establishes, how they revamp every small town’s atmosphere, how they still focus on one store at a time even when they’ve become a huge corporation, and the one thing he asks to his grand children and great-grand children NOT to do, or else he will come back and haunt them: selling their Wal-Mart stocks to finance their extravagance, that would leave the family’s controlling stake vulnerable to hostile take over.
Then there are also lessons from their failures, the most expensive mistake he ever made, the tiny details of franchise and lease contracts that can safe you or screw you, how to nurture good business relationships (even with your competitors), what NOT to do through extracting lessons from failed competitors, and most importantly for Wal-Mart’s key to success (which become the core of this book): his many, many lessons on pricing, and controlling the so-called absentee ownership.
In fact, he is not shy to share most (if not all) of his formula to success, as he believed that competition makes everyone better. For example, in describing Wal-Mart’s early strategy on pricing, which became one of the key engines of growth for his stores: “The basic discounter’s idea was to attract customers into the store by pricing these items—toothpaste, mouthwash, headache remedies, soap, shampoo—right down at cost. Those were what the early discounters called your “image” items. That’s what you pushed in your newspaper advertising—like the twenty-seven-cent Crest at Springdale—and you stacked it high in the stores to call attention to what a great deal it was. Word would get around that you had really low prices. Everything else in the store was priced low too, but it had a 30 percent margin. Health and beauty aids were priced to give away.”
Furthermore, this autobiography is also lessons about hard work from early age, and lessons on frugality where despite of his riches he still drives an old pickup truk, buys his clothes at Wal-Mart, and refuses to fly first class even though he can afford to (but then again he also owns a private jet that he flew himself, but one that he purchased only after weighting the cost of travel that would be more efficient if he flew himself).
The book is also part testimonials by his family, friends, partners and associates, even his competitors, with nice little anecdotes along the way. One of my favourite stories is when he was caught taking notes in his competitor’s store, Price Club, and how he dealt with it with such grace and humor (and responded by Price Club’s owner with equal respect and warmth).
Indeed, Sam Walton has this folksy charm and wit that makes him instantly likable, as well as a wise grandfather vibe that is reflected in the way he writes the book. It is as if he is telling about his life’s stories to his grandchildren in one delightful seating, with lessons that are also applicable to any other areas in business and in life. And so, as it turns out, you don’t need to be in the retail industry to appreciate the abundance of knowledge coming out of this book.
2. Always think local
4. Give Back
5. Business is a team sport
6. Always listen to your team members.
Sam Walton details the Wal-Mart story in satisfactory detail. What you can’t miss noticing is the lengths he’d go to, driven by unrelenting passion.
His desire to share profits w/ all employees under their intriguing program is something that spoke to me.
I come away from this book w/ a keener desire to sell. And that’s the beauty of this read, if you’re a merchant.
Sam also lists his 10 principles that he feels led to his success:
Commit to your business
Share profits w/ associates
Communicate a lot
Appreciate your associates
Celebrate success & be objective in failure
Listen to everyone in your firm
Exceed customer expectations
Control expenses better than others
Sam's story of Wal-Mart tells of passion and purpose. What's possible if you believe in putting the customer first, showing love and care for your partners and your associates, and giving back to the community that enables free enterprise. One lesson most important of all is to persist. Also as Sam says, "To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time."
This book also illustrates the journey that faces all entrepreneurs of overcoming adversity and obstacles. It would give you inspiration to succeed in your venture.
This is a gem of a book. Thank you, Sam for sharing your remarkable story. Invest in this book, you will be glad you did. The book you don't read won't help.
What is most remarkable about this book is the sheer amount of proven business tips that it unveils. You are guaranteed to receive your share of practical wisdom from Sam Walton himself and some of his friends. When the most successful entrepreneur of the last century shares his thoughts you should listen.
I really liked this book, especially because I identify with most of Mr. Walton's life philosophies and approach to business. I became a fan of Mr. Walton after reading this book. It's the most inspirational figure I've read about (behind Jesus). This book has literally changed my life and given me clarity about many issues regarding myself and my entrepreneurial endeavors.
In short, I can't recommend this book enough. It's the MOST ESSENTIAL business book I've read (and I've read hundreds). If you're an entrepreneur or aspiring founder you have homework to do. READ IT NOW!
Top reviews from other countries
Loved the way he interspersed other people's views of him and his ways in between his own thoughts. Very well writte book with a tremendous amount of ideas flowing through. Some great business success rules to pick up as well - for any business not just retailing and discounting.
A great man because he put in 100% to what he saw as his mission in life and he rewarded all those around him so well.
After believing for so long that walmart was something of an evil corporation that ate the souls of people (south park). I became fascinated by how this company came to be.
What struck me as I started to read is that he was self made and came from humble beginnings. I have vastly more respect for those who didn't have everything given them on a plate, although he did have the luck of having a wife with a father with money. This does help.
The further I travelled through his life the more I realised that he was a self driven, honest man. I partly believe that his kids became a bit mad with the need to make profits over the need to be a profit to the world. (I could be wrong)
I recommend this for anyone building a business and desiring to scale it up quickly.
Full of excerpts from people who knew, loved and respected him. Advice on how to deal with people as you grow and much more
Definitely worth the read
drew me to this simple but exce
At times some of the balance is not quite right, it would have been nice to see more insight from lower level employees and an international perspective on Wal-mart's later growth. It does touch fairly indirectly upon some of the criticisms of Wal-mart, the impact on smaller traders, labour relations, and the impact of cheap food on consumers and suppliers, but clearly these are from the perspective of the founders and more independent criticism can be found elsewhere.