In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and How Wal-Mart is Devouring the World Paperback – 16 Sep 1999
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In In Sam We Trust, investigative journalist Bob Ortega exposes the underside of Wal-Mart and defrocks Sam Walton, the founder of the retailing mammoth. Ortega chronicles Walton's rise from a backwater retailer in Arkansas to one of the richest men in the United States. While Walton carefully crafted a public image as a regular guy who drove a pickup and wore a name tag at his stores, Ortega paints a different picture of a two-faced and ruthless invader of small-town America. Walton was so stingy that his chain was last among major retailers in charity donations in terms of percentage of earnings. He hurt the city centres of many communities by building Wal-Marts on the outskirts and capturing up to 75 percent of his sales from the pre-existing stores. The late billionaire was obsessed with profits and cutting costs. He pioneered temporary help--a third of Wal-Mart's employees are part-time and the average worker only earns about $7.50 an hour. Even while making a big media splash with a "Buy American" programme in the 1980s, Walton quietly expanded his company's Hong Kong staff and continued to import apparel made by cheap child labour in the Third World.
But, as Ortega points out, Walton was also a retailing visionary. He saw opportunity long before others and was the first to go big with discount stores in smaller cities and towns. All the while, he stuck to his formula of offering the lowest possible prices and profiting from vast sales' volumes. He invested early in computers and satellite communications for his stores. And he raced past competitors such as Sears and Kmart with an incredibly lean and fast distribution system. Ortega, who took leave from the staff of the Wall Street Journal to write this book, pursued Walton's legacy across America to town squares such as Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which finally succumbed to Wal-Mart, and Greenfield, Massachusetts, where activists blocked the store. He interviewed 100s of people including many former and top Wal-Mart officials. Ortega even hunts down Wal-Mart's suppliers in Central America to document the exploitation of children in clothing factories. In Sam We Trust is an important work about a man who changed the face of retailing, for better and worse. --Dan Ring, Amazon.com
A well-wrought account of a complex empire builder and the amazing retail machine he fathered. Bob Ortega's lucid, gloves-off storytelling cuts into the dense veil of myth surrounding Walton... -- Donald Katz, author of The Big Store
His deft description of Walton's amazing rise to power and wealth is so delicious that it is hard to believe this is a business book. -- The Chicago Times
Is there a more perfect example of the American dream come true than the rise of Sam Walton and his Wal-Mart chain? -- The Wall Street Journal
One of the best business books of the year. -- Sales & Marketing Management
One of the most extraordinary success stories in US business history. -- Richard Tomkins, Financial Times
Top Customer Reviews
Also, for me, too many pages at the end focus on the liberally vogueish Multi-national bashing. He doesnt recognise that Walmart merely competes in an environment permitted by the government, and it doesnt take several chapters to belabour the same few pieces of evidence.
All in all if you want a thorough business view of Walmart then its worth reading, but I would prefer Sam Walton's own book if I just wanted to take the main business points.
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