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100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them Paperback – December 1, 2005

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Emily Ross and Angus Holland's 100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them was devised in Melbourne, Australia, where they both live and work.
Emily Ross is a senior writer with the country's leading national business magazine, BRW. She specializes in leadership, innovation, and entreprenuership. Angus Holland is a senior editor with The Age newspaper.
Between then they have lived in Abu Dhabi, Honk Kong, Kuwait, London, Lantau Island, Milan, Paris, Mauritius, Qatar, Singapore, and Tokyo. They live in Melbourne with their two children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402206313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402206313
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ron Padzensky on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're lookiing for valuable insight into how great businesses were conceived and executed this is not the book for you. Each business is given only a few pages of what essentially amounts to fluff. Most of the information is anecdotal in nature and rarely goes beyond the sort of superficial treatment one might get in People magazine. The articles reminded me of something a high school student might turn in as a short essay assignment. The roster of companies chosen is rather suspect. There is disproportionate representation by the cosmetics and fashion industries. I think that every company that sells makeup is covered here. Many of the other selections are some of the more glamorous and obvious success stories. C'mon, we ALL know the MicroSoft story by now. I was also puzzled by the lack of variety in the writing. Time and time again profit is referred to as "turnover", going public is referred to as "floating", a line of products is called a "range" -- was this book edited? I cannot recommend this book for business persons. It may be appropriate for a young person who has not been exposed to these canned legends before.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Austen on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was interesting. Some companies I'd never heard of and some I knew well. I don't think it was meant as a complete education on starting a business but what I do think it was meant for AND what it accomplished was no two businesses (or people) are created the same way. It's for people who need to know that just because Phil Knight started selling sneakers out of his car is not the only way to start a business. It was also interesting to read about some people who were tricked or gave up control of their companies. That even the most successful companies out there had "drama". I know as a business owner when or if it's time for me to sell or take on investors I will be more aware of what control I sell or give up.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wong Tony on September 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Never the original purpose of the authors, this book enables you to have dialogs with anyone you meet in any business gathering. It's 100 books on successful brands combined. I like it because typical books on single brands' success "stories" are mostly written by the non-founders. They all end up sitting somewhere on your bookshelf, unfinished, because of the unnecessary (and mostly dull) details plus the authors' second-guesses of the founders' original intents.

On the contrary, this book is written in a reporter's perspective, with no "MSG" added. Covering all the big brands and a few you don't (or I don't) know. Though each brand has only 3 to 4 pages of coverage, it has all you want to know plus some uncommon interesting details even for common brands. Perfect preachers for "Less is more".

Indeed, who on earth today is interested in 800-page details of one single brand while 777 of them are only author's views of the founder's?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Emily Ross and Angus Holland provide mini-profiles of 100 quite different companies, some of which were later sold before they became dominant in their respective industries, others that continue to thrive under the leadership of their founders or second-generation successors. What these remarkable companies share in common (other than their great success) is that each is based on an insight with regard to how to solve a problem. Here's an example of such an insight that resulted, not in one great company but in a product that transformed an entire industry. George de Mestral was irritated by the fact that burrs stuck to his clothes and to his dog's fur on their walks in the Alps. He examined the burrs and saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion. He devised a hook-and-loop fastener in 1945 and later patented the device, naming it "Velcro" after the French words velours and crochet meaning "velvet hook."

With all due respect to such insights, however, Ross and Holland repeatedly remind the reader that coming up with a "great idea" is only the first stage of what is almost always a very long and especially difficult journey. Few who embark on that journey eventually complete it. In this context, I am reminded of Thomas Edison's observation "Vision without execution is hallucination." Also of Darrell Royal's suggestion that "potential" means "you ain't done it yet."

Here are six mini-commentaries, each of which includes a brief excerpt or two from the narrative.

Baby Einstein: Dissatisfied with videos, books, and other baby products then on the market (in 1997), Julie Aigner-Clark began making a homemade video for her infant daughter Aspen.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Monty on July 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
In all my years of scouring the bookshops and newsagencies for books to assist my dream to think up the ideal business I have never seen a better book. I loved reading about totally different products and think that they all came from the minds of very ordinary people.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By O. Noteware on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book had lots of good stories. It didn't get very much into specifics though; it mostly dwelled on how each business became something no one though it would be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ZW on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I basically agree with the "Lacking Insight" reviewer. There is not much substance here. If each of these companies had a trading card, the information and backstory provided for each company would basically fit on said card.

From the other review: "The articles reminded me of something a high school student might turn in as a short essay assignment." Bingo.
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