- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio; 1 edition (April 30, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591842441
- ISBN-13: 978-1591842446
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 70 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy Hardcover – April 30, 2009
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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
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This book tells the story, from the perspective of the founder, Issy Sharp.
Everyone who has started a business before will know that every big decision feels scary at the moment, even if it turns out successfully later. Sharp relays those emotions well - the huge bets the company had to make, with the ex ante risks clearly expressed.
What was most impressive to me was his unbridled optimism and his willingness to back that up with careful investments during severe downturns. It takes extreme courage, because the result of being wrong would be bankruptcy. His laser focus on customer experience, was also way ahead of its time, something that many other firms have followed successfully (especially with Amazon, another book I'm currently reading - The Everything Store). Listening to the customer, listening to each other - years of wisdom distilled into one beautiful sentence.
I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to enter the hospitality business or anyone in the investing world, wanting to understand this industry.
The Four Seasons is the real deal.
This inspiring book will tell you the back story and show you why this organization is so astoundingly successful. They didn't figure out a trick to amaze people or simply buy opulent goods to be "prettier" than the rest. They did it right. From the inside to the outside this is an organization to emulate.
I sincerely hope that this becomes one of the great business best sellers of all time. If it does then thousands more will learn the wisdom of Isadore Sharp's philosophy and strategies. Other organizations will become more like the Four Seasons.
I commend Mr. Sharp on this excellent book and I am awed at his excellence on all levels both organizational and personal.