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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review Sam Walton Made in America My Story

Book Review

Sam Walton: Made In America

Sam Walton and John Huey

Very rarely do we get a book written by the founder of a company that gives some of the details of how he, his family, and employees built the world’s largest retailer.  This book might not exactly be a “how to” book, but it comes really close.

After Mr. Sam, as many of his employees and customers referred to him, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he began to complete a project that he had been avoiding for years.  He, along with his family and many of his associates as well as a cowriter, compiled a book full of the history of Wal~Mart and how Sam learned the business.

It is very interesting that many of the very tenets of a good business listed by Walton in the book, the things that made Wal~Mart great, are the very things that the new Walmart has forgotten.

"I read in some trade publication not long ago that of the top 100 discounters who were in business in 1976, 76 of them have disappeared. Many of these started with more capital and visibility than we did, in larger cities with much greater opportunities.  They were bright stars for a moment, and then they faded. I started thinking about what really brought them down, and why we kept going.  It all boils down to not taking care of their customers, not minding their stores, not having folks in their stores with good attitudes, and that was because they never really even tried to take care of their own people. If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores. That’s the most important single ingredient of Wal~Mart’s success."
In my opinion, anyone contemplating going into any type of business, especially retail, should read Sam Walton: Made In America My Story by Sam Walton and John Huey.

I read so often about how Walmart is trying desperately to improve sales per store.  One visit to any Walmart store will reveal to even the dimmest bulb in the string why Walmart is not reaching its full potential. And yet, Walmart does not have a clue.

Let’s start with the door greeters.  They were never meant to be security guards; in fact, Sam tells us just the opposite.  He felt that a smiling face would let would-be shoplifters know that someone was watching, without posting a security guard.

The real key to what made Wal~Mart great and is bringing Walmart down can be found in Chapter 9.  It’s all in how you treat the people.  Give them fair pay, reasonable hours, respect, and a piece of the profits, and they can move mountains.

Sam gives the key to how to improve problem stores, how to reduce shrinkage, how to improve sales, and how to motivate employees.  All of that seems to be lost at Walmart.
This book is a great read and should be read, or re-read, by every Walmart executive from the CEO down to the store manager.


FTC Required notice:  I checked this book out from the Wharton County Library in Wharton, Texas.  I am not an employee or a stockholder of Walmart, but I have many friends who work at Walmart.  

The opinions or advice listed in this blog or website should be used as a place to start only. It is not a substitute for the use of a professional.
Please be sure to consult your attorney and/or accountant with any specific questions.
There is no one right answer to any business question that will cover all circumstances.

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