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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed biography of a company and its co-founder
I sometimes make an impulse buy on a trip to Iceland; this book was the most unusual one. I was aware of a recent TV series about Iceland but I hadn't seen it, so I came to this book without preconceptions, except those of a customer.

Overall I was enthusiastic about this book and of the character of Malcolm Walker. However, I started to get bored reading...
Published 11 months ago by Mac McAleer

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I enjoyed the tv programs about Iceland, so decided to buy the book to find out more,from the book it appears that Malcolm has spend most of his life in meetings with his lawyers and accountants and stockbrokers, just comes over has never having enough and always wanting more and more, considering you only really need one car, a roof over your head and food to eat why...
Published 11 months ago by andrew muirhead


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed biography of a company and its co-founder, 29 Nov 2013
By 
Mac McAleer (London UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Best Served Cold: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker - CEO of Iceland Foods (Hardcover)
I sometimes make an impulse buy on a trip to Iceland; this book was the most unusual one. I was aware of a recent TV series about Iceland but I hadn't seen it, so I came to this book without preconceptions, except those of a customer.

Overall I was enthusiastic about this book and of the character of Malcolm Walker. However, I started to get bored reading about the early development of Iceland until I realised that I was reading with the wrong attitude. This was meant to be a chronicle of actual events and the frozen food business is not the most glamorous of subjects. He has produced a detailed history of himself and of the company which he co-founded.

From the beginning they had tight financial controls, producing a weekly financial reconciliation and full quarterly accounts and stock takes. After their flotation they found that their business was not always understood by the City financial analysts, who were not natural Iceland shoppers. As well as being a fascinating read this is a useful book for anyone with ambitions in the retail trade.

WOOLWORTH'S: He started as a trainee at Woolworth's, with high hopes of advancement, and advancement did come, but slowly, and was balanced by eventual disillusionment. Along with another Woolworth's employee he opened a small loose frozen food shop, quickly followed by a second and a third.

ICELAND (PRIVATE): The company expanded rapidly and became a major force in the north of England. Whilst other companies in the same business came and went Iceland continued to grow.

ICELAND (PUBLIC): Suddenly the story changes as Iceland is floated on the stock market. Growth continued and they acquired their larger, southern-based competitor, Bejam. From humble beginnings he was now involved in talking with investment bankers, watching the Iceland share price and dealing with investor relations and financial analysts. He seems to have taken this in his stride. After a lifetime of graft he started looking to the future and an exit strategy for himself so that he could retire and to plan a succession strategy for the company. A new CEO was recruited but he turned out not to be fully committed, leaving for another company. The search for a replacement started again. According to Malcolm Walker the next CEO turned out to be a disaster, but by that time Malcolm Walker had left the company.

COOLTRADER: Far from retiring, he started a new frozen food business from scratch.

ICELAND REDUX: With the involvement of Icelandic (the country) investors, he was able to return to Iceland (the company), taking it private.

THE BOOK'S chapters are short and numerous with 29 chapters spread over 332 pages. The writing style is straightforward and informative. I had assumed that Malcolm Walker had used a ghost writer but on page 288 I got the impression that this is mostly his own work. As he says: "I have always preferred my own words and style." If so, he is to be congratulated. Some of the comments about people are also straightforward, so I assume that at least a lawyer was involved in the final version. The book has five sections of black and white and colour photographs and a short index.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Served Cold - A Great Read, 24 Nov 2013
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A great read, written by Malcolm Walker as if he was sitting next to you narrating it. I remember in 1994 in what I thought I was interviewing Malcolm for my Degree Dissertation, he afford me the time, without any restriction and told me the history of Iceland and where he saw it going with the rollout of Iceland at Littlewoods (this was taking place at the time).

Knowing some Iceland Managers at the time everything they said about him is true, he is a great leader, sticks to his guns, believes in his peeople and his company. This comes across in his book, without any of the Great I Am Leadership styles of others.

A simple story of two people (Malcom Walker and Peter Hinchcliffe) creating a business and despite what happened during the inbetween periods without Malcolm at the helm, returning the business to its simple premise of good stores, well run, great staff, great product is what the Iceland story is all about.

Reading the book took me back to 1994 sitting in Malcolm's office and it was a pleasure to read the Iceland and Malcolm Walker story with it brought up to date from all those years ago when I was afforded the time to hear it first hand.

Not a fancy management text book, a good simple story of how to do it right first time and keep it right all the time. It makes you think about your own style and where you then realise you have been suckered into the management speak, management experts style of doing things. Wipe your mind and read this book and you can adopt many of the ways of Malcolm and Iceland in how you do things, I certaintly am, it is like a breath of fresh air (Malcolm went to Everest for his, just read the book instead!)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best serve cold, 13 Nov 2013
A great insight into a retail genius and fantastic boss.Grimsey and Hoskins almost took Iceland off the high street Malcolm returned and so did Iceland as a force on the high street great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very uplifting read, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Best Served Cold: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker - CEO of Iceland Foods (Hardcover)
Malcolm Walker is appears to be a good person to work for. The book was a fascinating incite to how to run a business (or not in some cases). Good on him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life of a real entrepreneur, 14 Dec 2013
By 
D. N. Pinder "legatus" (mirfield, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Best Served Cold: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker - CEO of Iceland Foods (Hardcover)
There are honest, straightforward, hard-working millionaire businessmen. This is the inspiring (and undeniably forthright) story of someone who left school with virtually no educational qualifications and built a business empire through hard work and astute business acumen; only to have it snatched away from him by bankers, consultants and 'city suits'. Like Napoleon he came back but unlike Napoleon, he won his Waterloo.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 22 Nov 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Best Served Cold: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker - CEO of Iceland Foods (Hardcover)
There I was doing some shopping in Iceland when I came across copies of this book being sold in store, obviously wanting to satisfy my curiosity I decided to purchase a copy. Personally I have been shopping in Iceland in the last few years as you can get things quite cheaply and it has also to be admitted it is the friendliest high street chain store to go into, as the staff are very friendly and helpful.

As a business though Iceland does pose some questions; it isn't a supermarket as such as it only carries part of your shopping, and with other smaller businesses going under due to the big supermarkets and people doing a one stop shop it is surprising that it does so well. Obviously there is a niche in the market, which it fills quite exceptionally.

This book is well written, and you can feel the despair of Malcolm Walker at times with regards to certain situations, as well as some good humour. This book shows how he and his friend and business partner first went into creating Iceland, and other money making ideas that they had. We follow here the beginnings of Iceland into a major success, and then what happened in the 'Wilderness Years', or as it is called here 'The Dark Ages'.

This book makes and interesting read and unlike some others that fall into this category, it isn't dry. This could prove inspirational to our next generation of entrepreneurs, as alas today perhaps things have become a bit too complicated. Malcolm Walker wasn't the brainiest child at school, he didn't go onto further education, instead he joined Woolworths, but he had as well as some business acumen, that most important of things, common sense, alas that no college course can teach you. One thing in today's world seems to be the over-riding desire to make large profits and cash in, but that isn't the way to run a successful business. Walker here shows that the proper way is to make a profit, yes, after all you don't want to go bankrupt, but to have a long range view so that your business can expand and keep on going. I have worked for various companies over the years, and those that have been the most pleasurable to work for have followed this more ethical approach, unlike some, especially if you have worked in the public sector, which end up leaking money due to not enough Indians, and too many Chiefs.

Anyone interested in business studies and related subjects should really enjoy this book, also possibly if you are an Iceland shopper. From making a great company and then watching it fall to pieces when leaving it you can see how Walker, coming out of 'retirement' turned the company around once again. This is really an inspirational read which could hopefully inspire others.

Proceeds from this book will go to Alzheimer's Research UK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For budding businessmen, 30 Dec 2013
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a really entertaining read for all those involved in the recovery and for those entrepreneurs who need to know what it takes to be successful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you have a small business I highly recommend this book, 10 Aug 2014
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This is an outstanding book about business in the UK and how two young lads started with one shop and grow it into a household name. It also goes into detail about how big business works from some banks being greedy and the issues Malcolm Walker had with two people he wanted the run Iceland as he wanted to retire. The book goes into a detailed history of Iceland, the ups and downs of retail business. If you have a small business I highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 July 2014
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Great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read told from the heart, 28 Jun 2014
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Amazing story about life. Very interesting from a business point of view but equally interesting from a human point of view. A business built on hard graft,honesty and integrity. A great example to all.
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