Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton, John Huey

Humble beginnings. Sam Walton's Made in America is the epitome of that phrase. This was a great story about an all-American, hard working, considerate, and passionate man. It's proof that drive, perseverance, and the ability to learn from your mistake and adapt are keys to being successful. 

I learned so much about Walmart from reading this. And I don't think I'm alone in saying that my perception of Walmart was that of a budget type organization with low standards. But after reading this book, I have a new appreciation for the type of business the family runs. And my thoughts about the quality and standards of the company are certainly now different. I admit, it was ignorant of me to have thought anything negative of Walmart without knowing any better. And for that I apologize. 

What I learned is a principal business practice that makes so much sense. And the scale at which it is accomplished by Walmart is a feat that should be admired, and is evidently admired by the economy and the patrons of this Superstore - and now me as well. That practice is sacrificing the huge markups on retail goods to sell more quantity and of passing on the savings to your customer. It's so simple but so powerful. 

If Walmart can buy an item for a $1 and sell it for $1.25 and sell 100 units, then their gross receipts are $125 with a cost of $100 and profit of $25. If a competitor sells the same product with a markup of 30% instead of 25%, and can only sell 90 units - the gross revenue is $117 making profit only $17. But I bet the competitor who sells for just a 5% greater markup loses more than just 10 units to Walmart, making their profits significantly less than Walmart's. 

While the business appeals mostly to those looking to save money, that doesn't mean the quality of the products they sell or the relationships they have with their vendors and others is any different or less valuable / important than another chain's quality / relationships. In fact, they might even be better in some ways. 

I have plenty more respect for Walmart, the organization, the employees, and the consumers of their products than I did before - not that I was ever disrespectful, but I just looked at it differently. 

I think the most important lesson I learned from this is, again, that you can't judge a book by it's cover. You've got to read between the covers to unearth the truth, the realities, and the things you wouldn't have known otherwise. 

Check it out on GoodReads

Buy it on Amazon.

Monday, January 18, 2021

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

Why would a terrorist group target such a young girl? This autobiography reveals the reasons. For such a young person, Malala Yousafzai is extremely intelligent and diligent. Her thoughts and dreams are those of a typical concerned adolescent, but her actions are those of a thoughtful and powerful young activist. Malala's perspective on life and education are ever so simple, but the execution of the goals are daunting and full of challenges. It's clear how impactful she has been to the youth and girls specifically. Her story is interesting to say the least, and her legacy can only evolve as she grows, learns how to tackle current issues, and empowers others to take action. Education is important, there is no doubt. There should be more people in the world like her. 

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.