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4.4 out of 5 stars
H. J. Heinz: A Biography
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
H.J. Heniz: A Biography is the true-life story of entrepreneur and tycoon H.J. Heinz, perhaps best known for founding Heinz Ketchup, one of the most recognized brands in the world. Heinz build an industrialized food processing empire well before Henry Ford rose to greatness; yet in an era notorious for its ruthless robber barons, Heinz had a surprisingly good reputation for treating his employees well. Over forty black-and-white photographs, some never before published, illustrate this thoughtful and detailed portrait of a remarkable business founder whose remarkable life has all but vanished from public awareness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I ordered this on the Kindle just before getting on an airplane and so happy I did. I figured it to be a short few page experience but it is full and comprehensive. Although you might learn one or two things about ketchup, you're going to learn a lot more about one of America's business giants and a few of his neighbors too. Anyone is a customer centric business should read this book.

Steven
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a well researched book on Heinz and accentuates his business failings and successes. For example, he misunderstood the cash-flow complexities of holding large inventories which he avoided later in his career. I enjoyed these descriptions and compared them to my own business planning. Heinz was very thoughtful of what is appropriate in a capitalistic society and how to avoid abusing employees.

Although there is a significant amount of editorial errors and repeated material, overall the book was really helpful toward my own business plans and enjoyable to read. I can recommend this book to others who are looking for great ideas and a history of American capitalism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Since I struggled with depression in the past, I found the piece about Heinz's struggle with it encouraging. Also, the general details of his life as outlined in this book are good at best. The book reads like your average essay written by a college student trying to embark on a great project. I feel that Heinz was a man of achievement, who understood the meaning of responsibility and contributing to the greater good. Thus, we need a better biographer to write this man's story in a way that would encourage the modern executive, to see h/her work as necessary for the good of society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Despite having grown up in Pittsburgh, I knew next to nothing about the life and times of H. J. Heinz. But thanks to Quentin R. Skrabec, Jr.'s informative book, H. J. Heinz: A Biography, I known a few interesting facts about this great man. For instance, he was a pioneer in assembly line techniques, he electrified his factories before all but George Westinghouse and he instituted vertical integration before Andrew Carnegie( both fellow Pittsburgh industrialists). H. J. Heinz was also instrumental in the passage of the Pure Food Law of 1906. Like Westinghouse, Heinz believed in a German concept called paternal capitalism as a kind of antidote to the rise of big business and the tendency toward greed within big business. As a side benefit, paternal capitalism thwarted union development in his factories. Heinz, not unlike Ireland's Arthur Guinness, treated his workers with dignity and respect, including such benefits as pensions, health care and social services. Lastly, Mr. Skrabec tells us of Heinz's strong religious beliefs( again not unlike Guinness) which included tithing in good times and bad and his lifelong involvement with the Sunday School Movement, which included teaching despite the busy life of a leading industrialist. I marked off one star because some material was repetitive. Very good biography.
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on March 2, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I had no idea how accomplished of an industrialist H.J. Heinz was before I read this book. He operated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He worked tirelessly to establish a reputation for high quality products, when others didn't bother to invest the effort. This is why he insisted that Heinz products be sold in more expensive, clear glass bottles when competing sauces were sold in cheaper, brown or green glass bottles. He established a brand that individuals could count on for quality when most foodstuffs were sold out of unmarked boxes and barrels. He embraced automation and new technologies when others hesitated to make investments in electrifying factories or automatic bottle-making equipment. He designed factories in clever ways that cut costs, such as using gravity-driven can packing machines. He innovated the packaged food business by embracing solderless canning on a massive scale--allowing products to be canned with greater speed and with less risk of contamination. I even enjoyed reading about the catchy things he did to raise brand awareness, such as driving around in a ketchup-red electric vehicle with the Heinz logo on it when few vehicles existed and erecting large, Heinz signs at prominent hot spots such as the Atlantic City shore.

Overall, this book is a very informative biography of an incredible person who is so rarely profiled. The author also has a background in operations management and manufacturing, so he went into a level of detail that I crave that most books often don't go into. But he kept it around 300 pages so the detail is never too overwhelming. And he repeats himself often. This helps when the level of detail was previously overwhelming, but sometimes it is a tad annoying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
One of the best books in terms of the author's literary pantheon of great American capitalists. It's a great read for those with an interest in food industry and it's history.
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on May 1, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is the second time I have read this book. The first time I read it I was taking a college course under the author. He makes things interesting throughout the book. A much better biography than most that I have read.

I like how he incorporated information on other up and coming businessmen from the same time to help show how Heinz leadership compared. I am not sure that there was anything that I didn't like about the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about the business that is Heinz and/or business.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've learned allot form this book, get insight to local history. I really liked this book and would recommend to all.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Assuming the Kindle edition is the same as the hard copy, this book is very poorly written and obviously not proofed before being offered to the public. In addition to many typos and just plain bad English, the author often repeats himself and appears to wander aimlessly. Although the subject matter is certainly interesting, I have to assume that there are other books on the subject that are more enjoyable to read. I was obviously disappointed and would not recommend the book for these reasons.
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