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Free, Perfect, and Now: Connecting to the Three Insatiable Customer Demands: A CEO's True Story Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Printing edition (March 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068486312X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684863122
  • ASIN: 0684850222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Free, Perfect and Now tells how one CEO nearly quadrupled his company's market value through the power of the Internet and some daring management. Written by Bob Rodin, president of electrical distributor Marshall Industries, Inc., the book is about the struggle to give customers what they want: reduced prices, higher quality, and speedy service. "Who in the world is figuring out how to serve customers at a lower cost? Closer to perfect for your customers' changing values? Faster?" Rodin writes. "We ask ourselves those questions every day at Marshall." Rodin is renowned in the trade for overseeing the creation of an award-winning business-to-business Web site--launched in 1994, far ahead of the competition. A disciple of management guru W. Edwards Deming, Rodin describes his company's astonishing rise over six years. He changed the culture by ridding the company of contests and bonuses and freeing managers from meeting quarterly objectives. One of his most revolutionary moves: abolishing commissions for his 600-strong sales staff. As far as Rodin can determine, Marshall boasts the only major sales team in the U.S. that gets paid strictly by salary and profit-sharing. That means sales pros can move customers to the Internet without worrying about losing commissions. But Rodin cautions that the Internet also means relentless competition. Even as this book was released, Marshall lost a major customer and its stock price was cut in half--Rodin may need to work some magic again. This book is for senior executives, middle managers, and businesspeople open to some radical methods for expansion. --Dan Ring

Review

Alan Webber Founding Editor, Fast Company magazine Read this book for what it takes to be a fast company.

George Gendron Editor, Inc. magazine Free, Perfect, and Now is the perfect business book for our times, one of the few authentic accounts I've read about how companies really manage to transform themselves.

Warren Bennis author of On Becoming a Leader For anyone who wants understand the 'on the ground' narrative of how entrepreneurs work, how innovation leverages intellectual capital, and how ideas -- business ideas -- can improve the quality of life, this is the book for you. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The book captures a spirit of suspense (rare in business writing).
Rolf Dobelli
Part case study, part instruction guideline, this book provides the tools necessary to examine the culture and corporate organization of any company.
Phil Rapp
The Marshalls of the world are the companies that will succeed because they are constantly re-inventing themselves.
lisa.a.reisman@us.arthurandersen.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Merrifield on May 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone struggling with how to adapt to too much cumulative change within their industry will benefit from reading this book for several good reasons. If for starters you believe, as I do, that the internet will have revolutionary effects on all traditional industry and education models, then this book offers an unusually open and thorough explanation of how Marshall Industries created and has continuously improved a great B2B web site capability. Marshall is easily the best within all distribution channels, and Advertising Age has rated Marshall's web site as the #1 B2B capability for all industries.
But, the internet case study is actually a downstream result of a tough and on-going transformational change process that Marshall has been going through since 1992. Back then, Marshall's business environment was changing faster than their top-down by the numbers and incentive plan culture could handle. So, instead of trying harder in out-dated ways the company decided to try to become a learning organization that would transform itself - an enormously tough and risky under-taking. Because so many other companies are currently in the same learn, die or sell-out situation, they need prescriptive help, and this book has an effective delivery style for the medicine.
The book is written in a first person, narrative style, which makes it an enjoyable, read, but more importantly Rodin has distilled good management theories down to a basic, comprehensible level grounded in a real story. Readers will, as a result, find particular problems described in ways that will strongly connect to their own similar problems. They will go on to borrow many of Rodin's analogies for getting the same messages across to their employees.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phil Rapp on December 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Robert Rodin presents in this book both a corporate survival guide and a tight specification for engineering the re-invention of conventional business. Based upon his own experiences, Rodin rolls out a blueprint of controversial methods and bold innovative means to transform a company that "works", into one which thrives in the globalized electronic marketspace of today. Nothing is safe. Everything from Mission Statements to corporate structure itself is examined, questioned, torn down to basics and rebuilt without the un-necessary un-functioning parts. Centered around the customer, and inspired by the Total Quality Management doctrine of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Rodin identifies and attacks the conventional "system" as the greatest challenge and foe to product quality, customer satisfaction, and ultimately corporate success. Part case study, part instruction guideline, this book provides the tools necessary to examine the culture and corporate organization of any company. More importantly perhaps, the book motivates the reader to go out and "operate" like any good surgeon would after a thorough patient examination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on August 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Marshall Industries was in trouble, facing the pressures of modernization and internal discord. Today, it is an effective Internet-adapted company. CEO Rob Rodin (with writer Curtis Hartman) explains how he transformed his firm. He tells his personal story, including how he recognized the need for dramatic change, and planned and implemented a strategy. This excellent book tracks his saga and discusses general principles and how-to tips leaders can apply to create effective change. This isn't just another leadership book. Rodin involves you in his personal story. He candidly outlines the difficulties he faced in his company when he tried to get everyone involved in his transformation mission. The book captures a spirit of suspense (rare in business writing). You want to know what will happen next because it is well crafted and dramatic. We [...] recommend this engaging read to those involved in leadership, change, and strategy issues, or anyone who enjoys a page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone in the business world, whether they work with the Internet now or will in the future. If you want to find out about how a company completely transformed their business and became the model for an industry, it's all here. I recommend this book to all my colleagues and they all have the same response, "Wow."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Free, Perfect and Now is an outstanding book and provides a real tool for the development of internet strategy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book provided me with a perspective I had not thought about. As a senior manager I now see myself as an architect with a design opportunity. The ideas in this book empowered and inspired me to change my company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Free, Perfect and Now provided a real insight into how to initiate change in an organization. We have used the format as a guideline to our transformation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Rob Rodin was an internet visionary years before it was the flavor of the month. Anyone in a traditional business structure would do well to read this fascinating book on transforming your company to compete in todays ever changing business environment.
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