From Publishers Weekly
Sharp shares the story of his astonishing rise out of the Toronto ghettos to founder, chairman and CEO of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the largest group of five-star hotels in the world. Born to Polish-Jewish immigrants, Sharp began his career building apartment buildings and entered the hotel-building business in 1961. With his wife, Rosalie, the interior designer for the hotels, he decided to differentiate his brand by focusing on midsize and luxury hotels where employees are expected to deliver the best service. As the business grew, Sharp shifted his attention to charitable pursuits, including founding the Terry Fox marathon to benefit cancer research. While his story is impressive and inspiring—the company was named one of Fortune
's 100 Best Companies to Work for in America, and weathered 9/11 and the SARS outbreak with aplomb—it is bogged down with pedestrian details of the deals and process of opening many of the empire's 150 hotels in 40 countries. While rabid fans of the hotels and of a good rags-to-riches story may cheer, other readers might be left unsatisfied. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This memoir by the founder of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is the story of his life and work. The son of immigrants, Sharp grew up working for his father in construction, an experience that allowed him to absorb many business insights and values. In 1961, he built his first Four Seasons hotel with a four-pillar business model of quality, service, culture, and brand. With absolute commitment to developing and rewarding excellent employees, the author quotes an old Japanese proverb, “If they work for you, you work for them.” In 2006, the Four Seasons was privatized for $3.83 billion, with Sharp continuing to hold 5 percent as chairman and CEO. By the end of 2008, Four Seasons had 85 hotels in 36 countries and plans to double that number in 10 years. A compelling story of an entrepreneur and his success that also serves as important advertising for the company. --Mary Whaley