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1 Learning to Value a Dollar
2 Starting on a Dime
3 Bouncing Back
4 Swimming Upstream
5 Raising a Family
6 Recuiting the Team
7 Taking the Company Public
8 Rolling Out the Formula
9 Building the Partnership
10 Stepping Back
11 Creating a Culture
12 Making the Costumer Number One
13 Meeting the Competition
14 Expanding the Circles
15 Thinking Small
16 Giving Something Back
17 Running a Successful Company:Ten Rules That Worked for Me
18 Wanting to Leave a Legacy
* A Prostscript
* Co-Author's Note
Well those are the 18 chapters that Sam Walton himself and John Huey wrote. Its pretty much all about Sam Waltons life and his success behind it. Its a great book even if you don't like the guy or his stores. It also gives you good advice on making a business. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Wal-Mart and/or wants to know more about business.
Sam not only makes you dream big but inspires you to follow your dreams.
For someone not having 'lived' the 60s and 70s in small town America, it was an insight into the All American values of old.
My business and personal links with Wal-Mart testify to how Sam's basic values are still a driving force at Wal-Mart
It is a book that makes you dream and gives you 10 rules to achieve your dream.
I read only one - it was all I needed.
The rule was 'Swim Upstream - Break all the Rules'.
- Murtuza Vasowalla
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According to IN SAM WE TRUST, Sam Walton made Wal-Mart employees and customers feel as though he cared about them even when his business practices said otherwise. With at least false hope, those people continued working and shopping at Wal-Mart.
Sam Walton died in 1992, and, as IN SAM WE TRUST tells it, subsequent Wal-Mart leadership did not care nor pretend to care about people. The book's final chapters document just how cold Wal-Mart headquarters became.
Everyday low prices? Yes. Everyday people? Only on Sly Stone's greatest hits album. Read IN SAM WE TRUST.
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Ortega's book, IN SAM WE TRUST: The Untold Story Of Sam Walton And How Wal-Mart Is Devouring America (1998) was widely reviewed as hostile to Wal-Mart and those who support it, but one cannot help but notice an overall tone of admiration in Ortega's book at the success of Wal-Mart's well documented rapacity and avarice, and the fact that its bottom line big dollar success was only possible because it's enormous customer base have voted with their feet and their pocket books to keep it going and growing.
Author Bob Ortega is a Princeton grad later schooled at the Columbia U. Journalism School, well known along with the U. of Missouri Journalism School as the most prestigious in America. He's also a WALL STREET JOURNAL employee. For all of the pretentions IN SAM WE TRUST (1998) makes of being a true muck-raking tome, the author's WALL STREET JOURNAL mentality and morality shines through to any who examine his book closely.
When all is said and done, Ortega has written a book which admires Wal-Mart, and is likely to do that organization no harm whatever. His provided backgrounder information about the nasty and unpleasant side of Wal-Mart doesn't affect the bottom-line, to use a phrase near and dear to Wal-Mart management, and to Ortega's mentor newspaper, the WALL STREET JOURNAL.
The book reminds me of the extravagant PATTON (1969) movie which appeared in the middle of the War In Vietnam, and told the story of General George S. Patton, Jr. and his activities during World War II. The expensive movie (for which the main actor won an Academy Award) provided very critical material about Gen. Patton, and showed his failures and personal problems in some detail. But, all in all, it was a hagiography which was said to have been screened often in the Nixon White House, and which the pro-war people of the Vietnam War era loved. For all its criticism, the movie admired Patton, and was a PR piece for pushy generals, the U.S. Army, and war as a catagory of human activity.
It's doubtful that Wal-Mart bigshots at company HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas lost any sleep over this book. Wal-Mart profits were probably boosted as a result of the book. After all, it provided more publicity about Wal-Mart. As movie star Erol Flynn was supposed to have said often, "I don't care what the newspapers say about me...just make sure they spell my name right."
All this said, the book DOES reveal many interesting facts about Wal-Mart and by reflection, about America these days.
Wal-Mart's status as America's largest private employer is discussed. By 1997, Wal-Mart had long since passed General Motors Corp. to achieve this status. The kind of work offered by Wal-Mart and other "big-box" type discount and "catagory killer" chains... had REPLACED manufacturing to become the dominant new blue-collar job in the United States. This kind of job offered far lower wages, fewer benefits, and less job security than the old manufacturing type job it replaced.
Ortega says the WALL STREET JOURNAL compared GM jobs with Wal-Mart jobs in 1997 and noted that the average GM wage was $19. per hour; at Wal-Mart $7.50 per hour. With benefits included, GM compensation was worth $44. per hour; Wal-Mart's (for those who get benefits) was $10. per hour. Ortega rightfully concludes (but isn't necessarily unhappy about the fact that) Wal-Mart has become a mirror for the new American workplace where Federal employment figures showed that more than 30 percent of American workers hold only part-time or temporary jobs.
It's safe to conclude that when the new #1 employer in America offers less than 25% of income provided by the old #1 employer, Americans as a group are getting poorer.
IN SAM WE TRUST (1998) states that when a new Wal-Mart store arrives in a community, 75% of its profits are drawn from trade previously enjoyed by small, often "Ma and Pa" stores many of which cannot stand against Wal-Mart competition and soon close down. Author Orgega refers to this as "strip-mining" local commerce previously but no longer owned and operated locally, and uniquely responsive to local needs and pressures.
If Wal-Mart ever become history, and its services become unavailable in the 3000 plus locations where it now operates, the loss of the centrally controlled organization would impact the lives of many, many Americans. The re-establishment of the many small business Wal-Mart bull-dozed into oblivion is not likely to provide relief to these Americans.
All this is worth thinking about, and for that reason, Bob Ortega's book IN SAM WE TRUST: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and How Wal-Mart Is Devouring American (1998) is worth buying and re-reading often.
"IN SAM WE TRUST" explains, in living color and for the first time, exactly what being "Wal-Martized" means, both outside and inside the company. As I followed Walton's family and business history, I encountered virtually every major name in the past 150 years of American merchandising. Readers will also discover that Sam Walton did not invent the retailing innovations he is known for, which he deftly wove into the corporate fabric of his avaricious chain of "low price" stores, but which he borrowed (or bought) from others.
Although universally known for folksy visits to his own stores (arriving in his old pickup or perhaps his quail hunting "dog car"), "Mr. Sam" made a point of always knowing what his competitors were doing. He habitually scouted individual stores of competitive chains (even on family outings and vacations), striking up conversations with sales clerks, managers, cashiers ... in order to learn what worked and what didn't, but also to meet experienced, hard-working managers he could lure away to Wal-Mart. The genius of Sam Walton was to use anything and everything (and EVERYONE) so as to slash company costs to the bone. At Wal-Mart the Almighty Buck is king and the Bottom Line motivates every move.
In chronicling how Walton shopped the competition, Bob Ortega weaves a fascinating, authoritative view of the many corporate players and the top executives of the retailing sector of our economy; we get an in-depth look at successes and failures that mark the rise and fall of some of the biggest names in corporate America. In the early 1800s, "consumers" did not exist; today, they comprise the single, most important engine driving our economy. "IN SAM WE TRUST" proves, year by year and in situation after situation, how this transformation occurred,and early in the book the reader acquires a sort of "You Are There" feeling.
Above all else, Wal-Mart is a company motivated solely by a "bottom line mentality," built upon a foundation of PR grotesquely at odds with the facts. But most disturbing of all, in Ortega's view, is that the Wal's modus operandi is rapidly becoming today's paradigm for corporate culture and success in the future. For those who intend to hang around for that future, as businessperson, consumer, or plain vanilla resident of AnyTown, USA, this book is MUST reading. Most probably, "IN SAM WE TRUST" is destined to become a textbook in business schools throughout North America.
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The book says Wal-Mart adapted by beefing up its PR department. Anyone who has ever talked with the PR department at Wal-Mart knows that even at the top they are a bunch of underpaid, underqualified fools.
This lacks the meat it needs and does not deal with reality of good or bad with the company.
The main thrust of the book is Wal-Mart's culture, which is certainly strong. The author uses interviews with Wal-Mart senior executives as the primary vehicle to narrate "highlights" of the past ten years, rather than providing an analysis of how key decisions made by these executives have led the Company to the top of the Fortune 500. I can't believe that there is no mention of how Wal-Mart and Procter and Gamble worked to integrate their supply chain during the period, which was a key ingredient to their success in the past ten years!
For the history of Wal-Mart and Sam Walton, stick with "Made in America", Walton's memoir with John Huey. For better insight to the engine behind Wal-Mart's growth, search out articles from Harvard Business Review (e.g., on the Wal-Mart/P&G supply chain from 1994) and other management journals. These sources will certainly be less "rah rah Wal-Mart" and will provide more details on the what was actually done and spare you the executive reflections on "what Mr. Sam would think" of today's Wal-Mart.
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