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Direct From Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized an Industry Hardcover – February 17, 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The PC business is full of rags-to-riches stories. But perhaps none is as dramatic as the rise of Dell Computer. In Direct from Dell, founder and CEO Michael Dell tells how he started his company from a dorm room at the University of Texas with less than $1,000 and built it into an industry powerhouse with a market capitalization of well over $100 billion. What makes Dell Computer unique is not what it sells, but rather how it sells it. Dell was first in the PC industry to pioneer the direct-selling model, a method that competitors such as Compaq and Apple Computer are only now starting to embrace. By cutting out the intermediary and creating a direct link between manufacturer and customer, Dell was able to provide customers with computers that cost less and that were more apt to meet customer needs.

Direct from Dell is organized into two parts. The first recounts the history and the enormous growth of Dell Computer. The second part focuses on Dell's management approach, from developing customer focus to creating alliances with suppliers. The book manages to avoid most of the promotional and self-congratulatory air that seem to plague so many first-person CEO tomes. Anyone who has followed the PC industry or would like insight into Dell Computer's success should enjoy reading this book. Well written and easy to read. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

The results are impressive: a 19 year-old with $1000 starts a company, remains at the helm and on top of changes in the industry for 10 years, and watches the stock rise 36,000% over another decade as his company becomes the second largest maker of PCs in the world, and the largest in the U.S. The founder of the Dell Computer Corporation uses anecdotes from his entrepreneurial life and his company's history to illustrate the "direct model" he developed to do itAone that eliminates the middleman via a host of direct-marketing media and incorporates a full-blown philosophy of doing business. While most of that philosophy's components are familiar (internally, "Reward Success by Narrowing Responsibility"; externally, "Teach Innovative Thinking"; "Retail: First in, First out"; "Hyperlink to the Future"), seeing how Dell put these theories into practice will sustain a reader's interest. Rightly, the custom-built and directly shipped computers that are the company's signature product get the most airtime. While the book, like nearly all in its CEO-authored subgenre, is heavy on self-congratulatory propaganda ("The spirit of the company that remains today was beginning to take hold"), Dell makes an agreeable maverick.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition edition (February 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887309143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887309144
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Someone once said that the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing but expect a different result.
Prior to Mike Dell's assault on the PC Industry in the the early 80's, all of the top PC players were pla ying the game called "follow the follower" nothing new or exciting , same old, same old.
Then Mike Dell comes along with better products and a better strategy.
I see that Dell made a clean sweep in the new issue of PC World with Dell products coming in first place in all categories listed I am not surprised. Dell products are the best. I have used various pc's from the packard bells to the Compaqs, nothingelse even comes close to Dell.
Perfect example of Dell's selling Direct strategy in action; eliminate the middle man and use the difference to develop better products and pass the savings on to the consumer. Obviously it has worked incredibly well.
I have my own business and found Mr. Dell's book refreshing and packed with simple, but useful strategies.
It is no wonder that Dell has turned the PC Industry on it's ear.
Read it, you'll benefit. Great book.
This book deserves 10 stars, not 5
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Format: Hardcover
I can understand the criticism of this book that perhaps Mike Dell should have gone more in depth about the dynamics of his company and industry. However, this being his first book that I know of I can understand why he choose to keep it short and simple, and to his credit.
A great peak into the mind of a business man and leader who in my opinion deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Lee Iacocca et al.
One part in particular that caught my attention was Chapter 7 where on page 95&96 he talks about his "Know The Net" initiative in order to familiarize his employees with the Internet.
I personally liked when he stated that: "Some might argue that if you give employees access to the World Wide Web, they will spend all their time surfing the Net. But that's like saying, We don't want to teach our people how to read because they might spend all their time reading."
Fabulous insight into Michael Dell's view of the Internet's future as a conduit for Economic Efficiency in business, school, and life.
Great piece of literature especially for beginning Business& Economics students. Peace :-)
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Format: Paperback
This is a terrific book for anyone who aspires to run or lead a business. Dell writes entertainingly about his childhood adventures -- not many teenagers were enterprising enough to research how to find all newly married couples and all people who took out mortgages in order to sell newspaper subscriptions! He was making an annual salary higher than most of his teachers just from his summer activities. His parents should have known they were in for trouble. The first part of the book is devoted to how he founded his business with $1000 of start up money and then all the ups, downs, and mistakes they made along the way. It is encouraging to read that it's not the mistakes that matter, but how quickly you acknowledge and address them that count.
The second part of the book has tremendously practical advice for almost any company. Why make the same mistakes that you could avoid by following his model for success? I daresay there is enough solid information here for any informed person to put into practice what Dell did to make a successful business. After having read a series of books on leadership, I can say that this is one of the most practical and hands-on ones as well as one of the most interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
Just as Henry Ford pioneered the automobile industry, so has Michael Dell pioneered the computer industry.
This book is a easy read, but highly informative. I also bought the tapes which I play in my car.
I have reread this book 4 times and I always come up with a new idea that is profitable to my business.
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Format: Hardcover
For a kid who enjoyed taking apart computers, Michael Dell has come a long way. In DIRECT FROM DELL he enthusiastically describes the development of his phenomenally successful business, Dell Computer Company. The book is a fascinating read for people who enjoy learning about "hypergrowth companies" and the personal computer industry. It's also interesting simply as an account of a businessman who possesses the exceptional ability of dealing with the rapidfire changes in technology and being able to build an organization whose employees thrive on change.
Dell provides examples and advice for start-up business owners on ways to handle change and the importance of constant communication with employees, customers, and suppliers. He offers some innovative ideas for encouraging employees to think outside the box and for suppliers to work as partners with the company for everyone's benefit.
Congratulations, Michael Dell, on your company's amazing success and your willingness to listen to the customer's needs over everything else.
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Format: Hardcover
Back in the 70's I worked with a successful sales and management professional who espoused the KISS Principle (Keep it simple and short)In reading some of the negative reviews, I can see that some people were expecting something out of HarvardBusiness School.What made Dell the incredible success story that it has become is doing the unusual, the new, the different.Going against the norm.And keeping it simple and short.When I was in the bookstore, someone told me that Mike Dell puts too much emphasis on people. Who do you suppose buys those computers? It's people.I like the fact that Mike Dell puts the customer first.Interesting that the Direct Model that Dell innovated with PCs was initiataly criticized and is now copied by the people who were his strongest critics.Is any wonder that Mr Dell is one of the most in demand speakers.Read and apply Mr. Dell's strategies. They will make you more successful in business and in life.And remember the KISS PRINCIPLE.
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