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Exactly what the title says; no massive insights but still fun
on 3 August 2009
From Google to ebay, Sony to Coca Cola, all these massive global brands started humbly - obvious enough, everything starts somewhere! But, this book looks at the "inventor" behind each brand, how he/she got started and how they built their empire, and where the company sits today.
Potentially this is a very dry subject, but I think it`s pretty well presented. Roughly ten pages cover each company and the writing style, though not quite fawning, certainly is not very critical. My major complaint would be the lack of depth and analysis. Regarding Adidas (Adolf Dassler`s nickname was Adi), for example, we learn that in WWII Germany, the good burgers of his hometown were "keen to help out as much as possible". We don`t learn why, and why they weren`t helping the war effort?! With Green & Blacks sale to Cadburys, apparently the original owners said "If you had asked me on day one who I`d have liked to sell the company to, I would have said Cadburys". Well, you don`t say.
Other interesting stuff - that ebay started with the selling of a broken laser pointer is well-known, but that the founder is now worth £4.5bn is incredible. I always thought the fees and charges from PayPal (which ebay own) were too high! That Coca-Cola was originally claimed to be medicinal and contained cocaine, marketing itself as a cure for "morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headaches and impotence" is amusing, contrasting with the horrible modern Santa-ads every Christmas. Also that the famous script style on every bottle and can was written by the bookkeeper. I didn`t know that Apple`s famous logo has a bite taken out of it as otherwise it looked like a cherry tomato!
As you might have guessed, I found the quirky details rather more fun than the turnovers and business plans. But there`s enough for you, whichever approach you would like. This book might be for you if you are an entreprenuer with a great idea, but it`s pretty much just an overview of all aspects of these massive chains; but not less interesting for that.