Posts Tagged ‘CEOs’

Book Review: Rework

Monday, August 29th, 2011

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Fried, Jason and David Hansson. Rework. Crown Business, 2010.

Two founders of the successful software company 37signals, Jason Fried and David Hansson, draw on their experience to teach entrepreneurs how to run a company without meetings, budgets, advertising or a board of directors.  They prove that a company can be successful by remaining small, lean and fast; by selling to smaller firms instead of the Fortune 500;  and by staying competitive by making the product unique.

Fried and Hansson encourage readers to focus on core principles, such a reliability, affordability and practicality. They discourage long-term contracts, permanent decisions and thick processes, which hamper the ability to change.   Using their early experiences at 37signals as examples, they recommend doing product launches “on the cheap” and they question whether small companies need an accountant when they can use Quicken, or whether they need an IT department when they can outsource.

This book is organized into 87 chapters, each two pages in length.  This straightforward book is an easy read for anyone interested in starting a business.   Available in both print and audio CD at the Ford Library.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Onward – How Starbucks Fought …

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

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Schultz, Howard. Onward : how Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul. Rodale, 2011.

More than just a cup of high end espresso, Starbucks is about the great coffee experience — combining the aroma, the flavor, and the human connection to invite every customer to become part of the Starbucks community.

In Onward, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz tells the story of how from 2007-2010, he takes the company back to the guiding principles that he established as a young man from a blue collar neighborhood, balancing profit with social conscience, treating everyone from coffee farmers, to baristas, to customers with fairness, respect and dignity.

When the book begins, entrepreneur and chairman Schultz is dissatisfied with the high growth strategy of CEO Jim Donald, sensing that the quality of the store experience has fallen. Schultz uses backroom politics to force out Donald, and takes over the job as CEO. Writing with passion and sincerity, Schultz describes his company’s problems as sales and profits sag. He engineers a turnaround by retraining staff, closing stores, cutting costs and providing more information to store managers.

More a memoir than a company history, this book is emotional and biased. Yet the personal and authentic style makes an engrossing read for those interested in becoming an entrepreneur or CEO.

© Reviewer : Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Delivering Happiness –

Monday, November 29th, 2010

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Hsieh, Tony. Delivering happiness : a path to profits, passion, and purpose. Business Plus, 2010.

Monday evening, a new pair of Dansko clogs appeared at my door. I had ordered them two days earlier from Any customer will tell you that Zappos has great selection, free shipping and problem-free returns. But the reason that customers keep coming back is their service.

Entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, CEO of, has written a new book, part autobiography, part company history, part business advisory. He tells how he built a dot com business, LinkExchange, which he sold in Microsoft for $265 million, when he was only 24 years old. Then he used the money to fund a start-up, Most of the book is the tale about Zappos, how the company survived on the brink of bankruptcy for years, barely making payroll, then became an overnight success.

Author Hsieh explains that he cultivated his business by combining profits, passion and purpose. He says his company was successful because they invested their time and money into three areas: into customer service to build the brand; into corporate culture and development of core values; and into employee training and development. Hsieh feels that those three areas are’s only competitive advantages in the long run.

The book closes in 2009, the year that Fortune rated Zappos as one of the best companies to work for. That same year, acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion. Hsieh explains how he made that happen in this entertaining and easy read.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.