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Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time: 20 Inspiring Tales of Entrepreneurs Who Changed the Way We Live and Do Business [Hardcover]

Forbes Magazine Staff , Daniel Gross
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Oct 1996 Business
What do Bill Gates, Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, Mary Kay Ash, and Walt Disney all have in common? Uncompromising vision, a willingness to take risks, and exceptional business acumen. Not only did these individuals amass great fortunes, they revolutionized the business world and helped shape society as we know it. Theirs are just a few of the stories collected in this anthology of commercial ingenuity. Drawing on a wealth of sources, this priceless collection brings to life extraordinary achievements, many of them forgotten or little known: how Robert Morris, the preeminent merchant of the eighteenth century, financed the American Revolution with his personal credit; how Ray Kroc used a shrewd real estate strategy to turn a faltering hamburger franchise operation into the McDonald′s fast food empire; and how Mary Kay Ash built a billion–dollar direct sales cosmetics company by preaching a message of economic empowerment to women. Enlightening and fascinating, Forbes(r) Greatest Business Stories of All Time celebrates larger–than–life ambition, inspired leadership, wheeling and dealing, and hard work. Forbes is a registered trademark of Forbes Inc. Its use is pursuant to a license agreement with Forbes Inc.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 362 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (24 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471143146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471143147
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.4 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Inside Flap

What do Bill Gates, Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, Mary Kay Ash, and Wait Disney have in common? Uncompromising vision, a willingness to take risks, and exceptional business acumen. Not only did these individuals amass great fortunes, they revolutionized the business world and helped shape society as we know it. While most of us have a general knowledge of these and other legendary figures, few know the details of their exceptional careers. Daniel Gross and the Editors of Forbes magazine, one of the world′s foremost business publications, present twenty fascinating stories. You′ll meet the personalities behind some of the best–known name brands in history, including McDonald′s, Harley–Davidson, RCA, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Wal–Mart, and Standard Oil, among others. Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time draws on a wealth of sources to offer this priceless collection. The book brings to life extraordinary achievements, many of them forgotten or little known: how Robert Morris, the preeminent merchant of the eighteenth century, financed the American Revolution with his personal credit; how Ray Kroc used a shrewd real estate strategy to turn a faltering hamburger franchise operation into a fast–food Empire; and how Mary Kay Ash built a billion–dollar direct sales cosmetics company by preaching a message of economic empowerment to women. Covering industries ranging from oil to cosmetics, from the eighteenth century up to the present, Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time celebrates larger–than–life ambition, inspired leadership, wheeling and dealing, and hard work. These tales are as entertaining as they are informative–an essential tool for business enthusiasts and anyone interested in how our modern commercial culture was built. Forbes Magazine Founded in 1917, Forbes has brought the nation′s greatest business stories to readers for more than three quarters of a century. The magazine′s unique brand of hard–hitting reporting, challenging the conventional wisdom, has made Forbes must–reading for successful executives. Published biweekly, every issue contains more than 50 concise, original stories, written from a top manager′s perspective, about companies and the people who run them.

From the Back Cover

Robert Morris: America′s First Financier Cyrus McCormick′s Reaper and the Industrialization of Farming John D. Rockefeller and the Modern Corporation J. P. Morgan Saves the Country Henry Ford and the Model T Charles Merrill and the Democratization of Stock Ownership David Sarnoff, RCA, and the Rise of Broadcasting Walt Disney and his Family–Entertainment Empire John Johnson: Finding the Black Consumer David Ogilvy and the Creation of Modern Advertising Ray Kroc, McDonald′s, and the Fast–Food Industry Betting the Company: Joseph Wilson and the Xerox 914 American Express and the Charge Card Mary Kay Ash and her Corporate Culture for Women Intel′s Microprocessor and the Computer Revolution Sam Walton, Wal–Mart, and the Discounting of America William McGowan and MCI: A New World of Telecommunications The Turnaround at Harley–Davidson Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and the Leveraged Buyout William Gates and the Dominance of Microsoft A Byron Preiss Visual Publications book What do Bill Gates, Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, Mary Kay Ash, and Walt Disney have in common? Uncompromising vision, a willingness to take risks, and exceptional business acumen. Not only did these individuals amass great fortunes, they revolutionized the business world and helped shape society as we know it. While most of us have a general knowledge of these and other legendary figures, few know the details of their exceptional careers. Daniel Gross and the Editors of Forbes magazine, one of the world′s foremost business publications, present twenty fascinating stories. You′ll meet the personalities behind some of the best–known name brands in history, including McDonald′s, Harley–Davidson, RCA, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Wal–Mart, and Standard Oil, among others. Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time draws on a wealth of sources to offer this priceless collection. The book brings to life extraordinary achievements, many of them forgotten or little known: how Robert Morris, the preeminent merchant of the eighteenth century, financed the American Revolution with his personal credit; how Ray Kroc used a shrewd real estate strategy to turn a faltering hamburger franchise operation into a fast–food empire; and how Mary Kay Ash built a billion–dollar direct sales cosmetics company by preaching a message of economic empowerment to women. Covering industries ranging from oil to cosmetics, from the eighteenth century up to the present, Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time celebrates larger–than–life ambition, inspired leadership, wheeling and dealing, and hard work. These tales are as entertaining as they are informative–an essential tool for business enthusiasts and anyone interested in how our modern commercial culture was built.

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First Sentence
As the richest person in America during the Revolutionary War, Robert Morris was commonly known by the single name that encompassed his profession, his accomplishment, and his genius: he was referred to simply as "the Financier." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational tales of the Giants of Industry 8 July 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book gives a phenomenal review of the challenge that the industrial griants of our country have faced and how they have overcome them. It beautifully describes the triumph of will experienced from business leaders of all kinds from Ford to Gates. This is a book for anyone who plans on being the next billionare of the 21st century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding choice of stories 4 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
I'm surprised Forbes (or author Daniel Gross) have never tried to repeat this book, because it's an outstanding business read. It contains 20 chapters of great (US) business and companies, and takes a very interesting angle to the selection, and each chapter contains a unique story of how individuals built a great business.

The full list of chapters includes: Robert Morris, Cyrus McCormick, J D Rockefeller, Walt Disney, John H Johnson (the first African-American to make the Forbes 400), Joseph Wilson (Xerox), Intel, William McGowan (MCI), and Bill Gates and Microsoft.

But my favourites are these:
Charles Merrill: In the early 20th century, Merrill turned the investment world on its head with the notion of selling stocks and bonds to middle-class retail customers.
David Sarnoff (RCA): with a detailed business plan to sell radios, Sarnoff sought out something for people to listen to on them. Starting with a Jack Dempsey fight, RCA built a radio broadcast network.
David Ogilvy: Became fluent in the scientific testing and measuring of public opinion by working for the Gallup organisation - his innovation was to bring the dispassionate science of popular opinion to bear on advertising.
Ray Kroc (McDonalds): Kroc built one of the most compelling brands of all time. But his decision to use real estate as a financial lever (as opposed to squeezing franchisees) made McDonald's a financial powerhouse.
American Express: it's transformation from an express company through traveller's cheques and the charge card.
Mary Kay Ash: Mary Kay built a new corporate culture based on the education, participation, and empowerment of women.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, precise and engaging 6 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback
This book greatly achieves its aim of highlighting which business practices have lasted the test of time and are operating today. The book is also able to cover almost every major industry in doing so from agricultural to fast food, from the motor industry to banking. Each author allows us to understand the true origins of entrepreneurs who have influenced the way business was conducted, not only in their respected eras, but also for generations afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MOVERS & SHAKERS 10 Oct 2012
By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For those wanting a succinct but not overlong sketch of some of the great entrepreneurs of the past and present, then the 'Forbes Greatest Business Stories Of All Time' is for you. Very well researched and compiled the author Daniel Gross displays his obvious journalistic skills in sorting the wheat out from the chaff and giving the reader the important data about each individual entrepreneurs modus operandi, struggles and successes.

Steve Jobs once said "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" which held true with Henry Ford when he brilliantly conceived the mass produced affordable car. Mary Kay Ash proved that "if your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it" by overcoming the sex discrimination she encountered and striking out on her own to create her cosmetics empire. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears but not so Walt Disney who followed his dreams and provided dream-ways for everybody in building up his entertainment mega-business. These are but three of the talented, single-minded, industrious, and innovative people who are covered in this book.

An excellent book that may well whet the appetite to look for further more detailed reading on one or more of the subjects.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Interesting. 5 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some inspiring stories, varied and interesting. I would recommend it. It's not the kind of book you read in one go, but one which is better picked up occasionally, read one story at a time. It contains the success stories of many great people, some you will have heard of, some perhaps not; all of whom innovated, their sector of business in one way or another. From Henry Ford to J P Morgan, this is a book you are sure to enjoy, it may even inspire you with a few ideas which you can apply in your own pursuits.
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