Dave Longaberger was one of the most remarkable entrepreneurs of his generation. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and employing a unique management philosophy, he created and grew his company into the largest maker of handcrafted baskets in the United States, employing thousands of people, revitalizing his community, and inspiring everyone with a commitment to quality and craftsmanship.
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Although many businesspeople may not yet be familiar with Dave Longaberger and the hugely successful basket company that bears his name, they probably should be. The story of the man and his enterprise, as told in Longaberger: An American Success Story, is as informative and inspiring as any likely to pass their way. In fact, this plainspoken memoir--prepared with business writer Robert Shook shortly before Longaberger's death from cancer in 1999--ought to be required for all entrepreneurs who think they really know what makes the business world go round.
In its pages, Longaberger candidly relates how he first learned to share and do his part as one of 12 children in a small house in tiny Dresden, Ohio--and how seemingly major drawbacks like epilepsy, stuttering, learning disabilities, and lack of a college education never deterred him. He tells how he kicked off his entrepreneurial career with a restaurant and grocery-drugstore before opening the basket company in 1973 as a part-time family affair, and how its workforce ultimately grew to 8,000 while revenues hit $1 billion. Longaberger fully explains overcoming his difficulties and learning the real secrets of business by shoveling snow and toiling in a grocery store as a youngster, and then selling baked goods and working in a factory as a young man. He also shows how this knowledge, and his penchant for the unconventional, became invaluable when he went into business for himself. The story includes Longaberger's rationale for the moves he parlayed into success, and offers his specific management principles along with advice on how and why to implement them. At its heart, though, Longaberger's message is deceptively simple. "If you remember nothing else about this book," he writes, "I hope you realize that if a small-town boy like me can make it, anyone in America who's willing to work hard should be able to earn a darn good living." --Howard RothmanAbout the Author:
Dave Longaberger was able to complete this book prior to his passing as a final gift to all who share the simple dream of making people's lives better.
Robert L. Shook has authored 48 books, including such best-selling books as The IBM Way, Hardball Selling, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Longaberger. He lives in Ohio.
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