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Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America's Richest Man Hardcover – October 30, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well-written Horatio Alger-like tale of 72-year-old, Arkansas-born Walton is refreshingly upbeat, in contrast to the life stories of some other contemporary entrepreneurs. Walton is a publicity-shy, multibillionaire businessman who, despite an arrested case of leukemia--and, more recently, myeloma--still heads the Wal-Mart discount chain he founded in 1962. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Trimble, editor of the Kentucky Post , bases the biography on interviews with hundreds of "associates," as their boss calls his employees, all testifying to the hard work, integrity, business acumen and common-touch gift for human relations to which they attribute his success. Walton is also a passionate quail hunter and tennis player, drives an old pickup and pilots his own Cessna. As he plans new ventures, the author warns, K martstet lc and Sears had better watch out.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Readers curious about what makes billionaire Walton run may be disappointed by this folksy biography. The only "warts" Trimble describes about the founder of the Wal-Mart stores are Walton's frugality (the company's headquarters offices, housed in a warehouse building, have been described as "early bus station"), his antipathy to labor unions, and the destruction of small "mom and pop" retail businesses in many communities where Wal-Mart operates. While Walton (who was working on his still unfinished autobiography when Trimble began working on this book) and his family declined to cooperate with the author, they did not attempt to obstruct the work either. The result, from interviews with associates, friends, and some relatives, as well as published sources, is a readable, mostly objective, but bland biography. This is most appropriate for general and business collections in public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/90.
- Sue Kamm, Los Angeles P.L.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (October 30, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525249222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525249221
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,602,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vance H. Trimble was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1960 in recognition of his exposé of nepotism and payroll abuse in the U.S. Congress. For this work, Trimble also was awarded the other two top prizes for "distinguished Washington correspondence," the Raymond Clapper and the Sigma Delta Chi, honoring him as a rarity in American journalism-- "a Triple Crown winner."
Born in Arkansas in 1913, Vance Trimble grew up in Oklahoma where at age 14 he became a cub reporter: on The Okemah Daily Leader. He went on to reporting and desk work on daily newspapers in Wewoka, Seminole, Muskogee, Okmulgee, and Tulsa.
During the Depression, Trimble freelanced as a typewriter\adding machine repairman, traveling the South for a year in a rusty $35 1926 Chevy.
Fired from The Tulsa Tribune for joining a writers union, Trimble went to Texas, where he worked on newspapers in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Houston. In World War II, Trimble was a Signal Corps staff sergeant, and edited the Army newspaper at Camp Beale, California.
In 1955, Trimble was promoted from managing editor of The Houston Press to news editor of the Scripps-Howard national bureau in Washington, D.C.
"I grew a little restless by my desk job," says Trimble. "In Houston, I was under deadline pressure, working fast. My new job seemed to slow. So in my spare time, I began roaming Capitol Hill."
Soon his digging unearthed scandalous nepotism and payroll shenanigans in Congressional offices. The Scripps-Howard news wire planted his daily stories on page ones from New York to San Francisco. These exclusives continued for six months. TIME magazine admiringly profiled him as "The Digger on Capitol Hill." The cheating revelations outraged the public. Because of this grass roots outcry, the U. S. Senate, for the first time in 31 years, voted to relax its secrecy on office payrolls. In its page 1 headline, The Washington Daily News hailed this as "A Victory for the Taxpayers and Vance Trimble."
From the nation's capital, Vance Trimble became editor of daily newspapers in El Paso and Covington, Kentucky. He was editor of the Kentucky Post for 17 years.
Trimble is author of 13 hardcover books, the first being a history of the use of hyperbaric medicine. Others include biographies of Sam Walton, FedEx founder Fred Smith, publisher E.W. Scripps, baseball commissioner "Happy" Chandler, entrepreneur Chris Whittle, and chiefs of the Oklahoma Seminole and Choctaw Indian tribes. He has written 69 published true detective mysteries and many other magazine articles. "And a few million words of newspaper copy," Trimble says.
In 1974 Trimble was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. His papers are in the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma, and at Ohio University.
When his wife of 67 years, Elzene Miller Trimble, died in 1999, Trimble retired to Wewoka, Oklahoma, where she is buried beside her mother. Their only child, Carol Ann Nordeheimer, is a business consultant in Wilmington, Delaware.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As biographies go, I cannot highly recommend this one. It was an interesting book, I do feel it should be read, but it was quite gushy in places and the editorial job was one of the worse I have ever seen. This is one I would recommend you check out from the library and not spend good cash on. Walton was a remarkable man and his life certainly should be studied, but I got the impression this was more of a vanity biography, rather than hard core stuff. Read it and see what you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Paul A. HELDT on October 31, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vance Trimble's book "Sam Walton" is an easy-to-read biography of America's richest man upon to 1990. Trimble narrates Sam Walton's rise from the owner of a five-and-dime store in Bentonville [Arkansas] to the chairman of Wal-Mart, America's greatest chain of discount stores.

Walton [who died of cancer at age 74 (March 29,1918--April 5, 1992) two years after the publication of Trimble's biography] had three passions: a) building up Wal-Mart to become America's greatest chain of discount stores; b) flying solo [or in company of his executive vice-presidents] to visit each of the Wal-Mart stores, often unannounced and/or incognito; and c) quail hunting, either solo or with guests such as President-to-be Jimmy Carter.

His single lifetime objective was to become Number One in retail in America, out-spacing Sears and K-mart. Walton is remembered for a) his personal frugality and thriftiness, not necessarily stinginess as he gave away a lot of money for education and scholarships; he had knack for negotiating the lowest possible purchase price from his suppliers; b) for his passion for everyday low prices to satisfy customers' expectations; c) for treating his Wal-mart employees as "one-big-family," insisting on calling them "associates," and his staff and administrative assistants responded accordingly; and d) for seeing and grabbing new opportunities for expansion of his retail empire.

When I was teaching in China [2002-2009], I was surprised to see American-style Wal-Mart stores opening in relatively small Chinese cities (i.e., small by Chinese standards, i.e., cities with populations of 1-2 million people). Within a short time of the opening of one of the Wal-Mart stores, it became a well-known destiny for taxi drivers and foreigners alike.
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Format: Hardcover
Vance Trimble's book "Sam Walton" is an easy-to-read biography of America's richest man upon to 1990. Trimble narrates Sam Walton's rise from the owner of a five-and-dime store in Bentonville [Arkansas] to the chairman of Wal-Mart, America's greatest chain of discount stores.

Walton [who died of cancer at age 74 (March 29,1918--April 5, 1992) two years after the publication of Trimble's biography] had three passions: a) building up Wal-Mart to become America's greatest chain of discount stores; b) flying solo [or in company of his executive vice-presidents] to visit each of the Wal-Mart stores, often unannounced and/or incognito; and c) quail hunting, either solo or with guests such as President-to-be Jimmy Carter.

His single lifetime objective was to become Number One in retail in America, out-spacing Sears and K-mart. Walton is remembered for a) his personal frugality and thriftiness, not necessarily stinginess as he gave away a lot of money for education and scholarships; he had knack for negotiating the lowest possible purchase price from his suppliers; b) for his passion for everyday low prices to satisfy customers' expectations; c) for treating his Wal-mart employees as "one-big-family," insisting on calling them "associates," and his staff and administrative assistants responded accordingly; and d) for seeing and grabbing new opportunities for expansion of his retail empire.

When I was teaching in China [2002-2009], I was surprised to see American-style Wal-Mart stores opening in relatively small Chinese cities (i.e., small by Chinese standards, i.e., cities with populations of 1-2 million people). Within a short time of the opening of one of the Wal-Mart stores, it became a well-known destiny for taxi drivers and foreigners alike.
Read more ›
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
REVIEW Sam Walton's biography is compelling story about his road to success. It is about how a poor man who started out with nothing but determination ended up as the richest man in America. The extraordinarily researched book of of his life digs into what makes this man think and act the way he does. The book reveals other peoples views on him including some of his rivals. If your lookin for a Good Ol boy in a day were there hard to find than you found your book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An outsider provides insights into Sam Walton who believed in slogans like We Sell For Less and Satisfaction Guaranteed. The book contains some photographs which are now on display at the Walton's Wal-Mart Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
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