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. J P Morgan: Morgan demonstrated again and again that he could impose order on chaotic situations and change entire industries through sheer strength of character. Henry Ford: Ford invented neither the automobile nor the assembly line, but recast each to transform the USA's way of life, democratising the automobile through producing the Model T ever more inexpensively. Sam Walton: built a gigantic business by insisting on perfection, driving down costs and passing the savings on to customers. Harley Davidson: This is specifically a story of the turnaround of Harley in the 80s - regaining its pre-eminence, cornering 59 percent of the market for heavy-weight motorcycles, outracing second-place Honda, which held 15 percent. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts: KKR's partners became near-billionaires by applying their initial insight: that debt enforces a unique kind of discipline on managers and owners. The KKR philosophy of using high-level debt to enhance value has since been adopted by the managers of hundreds of publicly held firms.
No Kindle version, but a great book you can dip in and out of.
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.
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.
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.
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.