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Sam Walton: Made In America Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 503 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The late Sam Walton was one of the shrewdest and richest merchants in America. Centered on the building of his Wal-Mart empire, his book, like fellow magnate Sandra Kurtzig's CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from Ground Up ( LJ 5/1/91), is light on biography. However, readers will enjoy the folksy narrative of the small-town millionaire who revolutionized retail distribution. Walton also addresses accusations against him, such as running the competition out of town. Coauthor Huey does a fine job of incorporating candid testimonials from family members and associates, who thought Walton's ideas were sometimes silly. Shortly after Walton's death, the book was given an overly sentimental postscript (a minor detraction) and rushed into print. Highly recommended for public and academic business collections.
- Rebecca A. Smith, Harvard Business Sch. Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"[A] wise and inspiring autobiography--Walton tells his quietly fantastic story with conviction and makes no bones about his mistakes."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

"It's a story about entrepreneurship, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there.  And it's a story about believing in your idea even when maybe some other folks don't, and about sticking to your guns."
-- Sam Walton

"Here is an extraordinary success story about a man whose empire was built not with smoke and mirrors, but with good old-fashioned elbow grease."
-- Detroit Free Press

"A sure-fire all-American success story."
-- The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553562835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553562835
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (503 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, this is a very strong story of a man and a business. Walton does a nice job of telling a clear, concise story about how he built the business of Wal Mart. It's very enlightening to hear him admit with pride that he invented very few of the ideas that made the store such a success, instead borrowing the best ideas from every store he visited (and he visited a lot).

Secondly, this book contains a valuable example of how capitalism forces the evolution - for better or worse - of industries. Walton takes the reader from the days of the small-town five and dime all the way through the mega Wal Marts of today. It's a valuable read for anyone interested in business.

Third, reading "Made in America" provides the reader with some important context for considering all of the attacks on Wal Mart in the popular press. You get to see that Wal Mart was built with really good intentions and that even though not everything born of Wal Mart's rise to dominance is an unmitigated good, it has done a lot of positive things for American consumers. That's really valuable because Wal Mart has become a bit of an unequivocal evil in the modern press and that simply isn't an even-handed treatment of the subject.

Highly recommended for those who would like to understand the motivations behind Wal Mart being what it is today and a great business story to boot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Walton's story is certainly worth reading. He built a business - now the biggest in the world - that can only be described as the work of a genius.

The great virtue of this book is the portrait of his mind: he was utterly obsessed with retailing and bent a truly formidable energy to think about it at almost every working hour of the day. It may sound corny, but he reminds me of Miles Davis, who lived, breathed and ate his music. Walton looked at things from every angle, learning as he worked and unafraid to walk into a competitor's office unannounced with a tennis racket to talk. He was a showman and true believer, but also focused maniacally on operations and implementation. (About this, he pontificates about his competitors enjoying the trappings of success to the detriment of their attention to business - surely this is true in some cases, but repeatedly hearing it gets a bit boring.)

The business model he created is simple: always offer the lowest price possible, depending on higher volume to generate higher profit. The second pillar was to relentlessly pursue logistical superiority, in both a distribution system and computer-aided controls, enabling Wal-Mart to continually enhance its efficiency and speed of delivery. As the company grew, it was able to use its power to force suppliers to sell at ever-lower prices. Its stores spread slowly, oozing out like molasses, always supported by the distribution system. The third pillar, which in my opinion is exaggerated to the point of self-delusion, is the "family" aspect of employees (or "associates"), both as members of a store and in relation to customers. Certainly there is something to that, but it is far more limited than he seems to be aware of.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Despite my hesitation at picking up an autobiography, I must say Made in America turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. In it, Sam intersperses story telling with quotes from his colleagues, family and the media. After reading the story, you get a very clear picture of Sam's humble beginnings as a local boy who delivered papers, a boyscout who saved a person's life, a variety store franchise owner who was driven out of town because his lease expired and he didn't know that it was part of the contract he signed. In it you also learn what the Walmart Way was about. It's about hard work, passion for the job and thoughtful spending.
He completed it just before he died of cancer. And a good thing he did because nobody can tell the story better than the person who's lived it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’ve recently finished a fascinating book on the history of Walmart, as told by its founder, Sam Walton. Written in the last year before he died in 1992. At that time Walmart was a $53billion turnover company, and for some context, if you had bought $100 shares at its initial IPO in the early 1970’s, they would be worth $3.8million today (the shares split so many times over the years).
This is a very easy read with no effort required, but offers a great insight into how he managed the growth of such a large corporate.

He had some wonderful ideas and asked a lot from his managers – namely keeping the customer in mind at all times. He wanted everyone (and I mean everyone) to be on the shop floor at least once a week and engaging with a shopper.
There are lots of “ah ha” moments in the book (history of Sams club), why Walmart has greeters (very surprising reason), and how he is proud to say he has the biggest fleet of millionaire trucker drivers in the country (everyone has stocks in Walmart).
Also beautiful tales of how he stole ideas from all the other retailers including Kroger, Target and JCPenny.

He held all his management meetings on a Saturday morning as he didn’t believe real retailers worked 9-to-5. He also wasn’t a believer in having the company pay for things – so when the corporate headquarters got a new gym and sports centre, he said that the $3M should come out of his pocket and not out of the shoppers pocket. To this day (1992), he is proud that their offices in Bentoville will never win any design awards.

This book was on the short list for Jeff Bezos as he was inspired by Sam’s attention to the customer that he “stole” that idea for Amazon.
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