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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We live with global brands all the time. They are all over our TVs, all over our shops, high streets, magazines, newspapers, outdoor advertising, all over everything. But how does a global brand come into being, and how does it stay successful? Well, as this book shows, there are as many answers to those questions as there are global brands.

The introduction to this book portentously claims that by reading it you will understand how a global brand can be constructed and how you too might start a company that could one day be right up there with Coca-Cola, DK, Nintendo and the rest. But as you read each story, you realise that it's really not that simple, there is no common thread that lead the founders of these great empires to success. Even fewer of the stories chart an uninterrupted rise and rise; many of these brands - or rather the companies that stand behind them - have faltered, changed hands and then revived themselves. To that extent, many global brands are not the linear entities they may appear to be.

So, to begin, let's leave aside any notion of the stories in this book being an Entrepreneur's recipe for success, discard the notion that there is a single identifiable ethic or dynamic at work here that leads to success. The only common threads are the obvious ones, a good basic product, determination, flair and luck - and you wouldn't have to read this book to realise that. So, why should you read the book (and yes, you should in case you were in any doubt!).

This book contains a lot of fascinating background and corrects misimpressions and urban myths that surround some of the global brands. Coca-Cola was not created by black plantation workers who included a tiny amount of cocaine to ease the pain in their aching joints. It was created by an Atlanta pharmacist called John Pemberton, working in his back yard one afternoon in 1888. You'll find quite a few corrections to such myths or misconceptions in the book.

Adidas (named after its German founder Adolf "Adi" Dassler) was at one time run by two brothers. They moved their hitherto local business venture onto a new plane by giving away their superior running shoes to competitors at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin attended by Hitler and most of the Nazi party, the word spread and sales rocketed. Some luck and some acumen. When the brothers had a fateful quarrel in the 1940s they parted company, and the departing brother started Puma - Adidas' competitor of many years. We learn that the brothers never spoke to each other again.

Sony was started in 1945 by two inventors fresh out of the Japanese military, appropriating a bombed out department store in Tokyo, making and selling little radios. In the 1970s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started making computers for themselves and their friends and ended up with Apple Computers, successful due to teaming up their youthful geekish know-how with an established businessman who was looking for something new into which to put his money and expertise. Pierre Omidyar started Ebay when he realised that selling low-priced junk to a nationwide audience might not be viable in the pre-internet world, but was a really good way to use the nascent Internet....

and so it goes on. Lots of great stories in the book: all worth reading. But ignore most of the stuff in the introduction. You may be inspired by the individual stories to go out and start your own business, but you won't find a single recipe here that tells you how to make it big.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
`How They Started: Global Brands' is a short book looking at the history, development and current status of 21 global brands. Some of the companies mentioned include Coca Cola, Google, Ebay, Sony, Ikea, Blackberry, Nintendo, Apple and more besides. As you can see, they are all major household names. Most of the information is very basic and you can find it out from the company websites or online in general, but never-the-less it is good to have it collated in one place for ease of reference. There are some black and white photos, as well as key quotes from the text interspersed throughout each chapter and the writing is mainly engaging and interesting. Depending on your own interests, you will find reading about some companies more fascinating than others, but they are all interesting to learn about regardless. This book is marketed towards entrepreneurs, as a kind of guide to what you can do with the right idea and motivation, but this book isn't like that at all really. It is more like a collection of interesting case studies of major global brands and whilst you may learn from reading about them, it is probably better to view this book as just a good read about some important international business`. This is informative, engaging and worth a read if you want to learn more about the brands that your see around you everyday.

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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2009
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book about 21 companies, how they got started, grew and how they became what they are now - great global businesses.

There are seven different company areas covered in the book with examples from Clothing and Consumer Brands, Food and Drink, Manufacturing, Media, Services and Retail, Technology and Websites. There are about 2 or 3 companies in each section except from Food and Drink and Technology which both have 5 companies. The companies chosen are all well known and there was only one I hadn't heard of. Some of the brands include Coca Cola, Apple, Ebay, Dyson, Adidas, Volvo and many more.

Each chapter is about 10-12 pages long and so is easy to read while still giving interesting insights. The way in which the book is laid out makes it a great book to dip in and out of and you don't need to read the chapters/brands in order if you don't want to. With pictures and highlighted text, this is much more user friendly than your usual business textbook.

I would think this book is aimed at those people who are interested in business and brands. It's too basic to be of much practical use to those looking to start up their own company and it doesn't really tell you how the companies got their big breaks. It's not a recipe for business success however it is a very inspirational read, gives fascinating insight and a book that I would definitely recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Really, you'd do better just getting the list of companies covered in this book and reading the wikipedia page on each. To be fair, it does exactly what it says on the tin - it tells you how each of the companies started. I would have liked to have seen though something in the way of a synthesis of the key features that led to the success - why did they succeed when others failed, what gaps in the market did they exploit, etc, etc. There is a little of that, but it's all very surface level.
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on 6 August 2009
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book gives a brief but fascinating overview of several well-known brands, concentrating on the early years of each business.

It is well-written and easy to read, and assumes no prior knowledge of business terminology and concepts.

The coverage of each business is necessarily fairly brief, with each only getting a few pages. But for someone like me, who knew nothing about the history of these companies beforehand, it makes for a very good read and brings together a lot of interesting facts in one convenient book; it will probably not suit someone who is already quite well-informed about such matters, or who is prepared to scour other sources (such as company websites) to find the information.

The book is quite inspirational in an incidental way, but does not provide much by way of concrete advice for budding entrepreneurs.

There are a couple of minor irks: a few numbers are clearly very wrong (by orders of magnitude); and every page has an irritating "key sentence" extracted from the main text are reproduced in large font (rather a waste of space if one is intending to read the whole chapter anyway!).

One minor bonus is that the cover includes edge flaps which can be used as convenient bookmarks.

Overall it is entertaining and convenient, but not revolutionary.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was really quite excited to order this book as the idea really appealed to me. How did brand names like Sony, Pizza Hut, Ebay and Coca Cola get to be the global players they are today?

The format of this book splits the different companies into individual sections. A summary page at the front of each brand states the name, age and time that the idea was born with some other stats eg. how much money was put up front etc. A more detailed history follows for each brand with black and white pictures of some of the personalities involved.

This all sounds great but the trouble is, I really don't think you could read more than one brand at a time.

This really is a toilet book or a coffee table book to dip in or flick through. To do more than that proved quite boring and I found it quite a job to stay attentive for more than a few minutes at a time and certainly no more than a maximum of one brand in one sitting.

The detail is not sufficient to give any real insight into the personalities involved or the struggle that some of these companies must have faced.

In summary, this would be a book to put on the toilet shelf next to the Schott's miscellany and the SAS survival handbook. I would not dream of spending the £12.99 on the cover.

A middling 3 out of 5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 August 2009
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The list of companies is good but the editorial is very basic and in nearly all cases lifted straight from the Autobiographies etc of the companies or their founders.

A lot of duplication in copy in some places and very much a collection of snippets - but intriguing enough for a quick glance and read but if interested in the brands most of the information could be read online.

A nice read, if a bit shallow, but only worthy of an average review I'm afraid.
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on 25 November 2010
I really enjoyed this book, to the extent that I bought the book having first read it c/o my local library.

I agree with a lot of the comments posted with reference to it being a bit pricey at £12.99, however in terms of content, my thoughts are that it was more an inspirational thought provoker versus a detailed 'how to' guide. If it was the latter it would need to be a very big book.

I really like the way that the book is laid out and the common theme running through it is that these people did not necessarily start their companies in order to make millions; it was about following their dreams and passions. I think that a lot of people expect a step-by-step, spoon feed guide as to how to become successful. Everyone and everybody is different - I certainly wasn't looking for a prescriptive formula - just a gentle 'prod' of inspiration and believe that this book delivers on this.

I loved the 'Google' story; particularly Sergey and Larry's motto of "don't be nasty".

I ordered the bundle of this book, 'How They Started - how 30 good ideas became great business' and 'How They Started in tough times'. Very readable!
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VINE VOICEon 24 September 2009
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was skeptical when the book arrived in the post, but it covered a few businesses I had bought from and was indeed curious about how they really worked and where they came from. The theme that runs throught the book is about the pioneering spirit of the individuals who founded these great names. This is not a tome about how a venture capital fund created a faceless empire but of the people behind the brands and their individual stories. With only half a dozen pages for each business, it's not easy to generate a full story, but certainly enough to produce a case study with some personality and meaning. My one criticism was a mention about the lack of female entrepreneurs that could have been used for the book, sorry Anita Roddick and Body Shop would have cleared that one up.
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VINE VOICEon 18 September 2009
Although on the face of it this book looks quite interesting it did leave me a little bit perplexed as to what it was trying to achieve.
Yes it is well written and well laid out and I am sure that if you have a particular interest in the history of any of the 21 companies included then it may represent an interesting lesson for you. However, other than the facts about how the companies were first developed and the people and processes involved in that, it doesn't give you much of an insight as to what exactly it was that made them successful compared to any other companies in their similar field. And that is a far more interesting subject. So this book, although readable and fairly interesting, was a disappointment for me personally.
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