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For the first time ever, one of the "World's Most Admired" companies opens its doors for a fascinating, lively, and most of all instructive look at how it does business
We see them everywhere -- those brown trucks with the golden logo, the drivers delivering their share of 14 million parcels handled daily. To most of us, UPS is a reliable fact of life. But to well-informed businesspeople, Big Brown is a company to emulate. Quietly and steadfastly, UPS has earned a reputation as one of the leading companies in America, known as much for its innovative practices as its skill in creating satisfied customers and employees.
Just in time for the company's hundredth anniversary, UPS has allowed authors Mike Brewster and Fred Dalzell unprecedented access to their facilities, their workers, and their history -- including their mistakes. What emerges are clear-cut lessons from which any business can benefit. Driving Change is an enlightening, absorbing, and dynamic account of a company at the very fulcrum of global commerce.
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Mike Brewster is the author of two business books, Unaccountable: How the Accounting Profession Forfeited a Public Trust and King Capital (with Amey Stone). In 2003, Mike wrote the "Flashback" column for BusinessWeek Online, a monthly feature that provided historical context for business and public policy issues in the news. In 2004, Mike's byline appeared in BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Inc., Chief Executive, Brand Week, and Sales and Marketing.
Frederick Dalzell is an historian and consultant whose recent business books include Changing Fortunes and Rising Tide. In addition to teaching history at Harvard and Williams College, he spent several years as a research associate at Harvard Business School. He is currently a partner in The Winthrop Group, a firm specializing in historical research and archival services for businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Near the outset of this meticulous survey of UPS's history, business journalist Brewster sums up the message he wants businesspeople to take away: that UPS may be seen as at once humdrum and wonderful to behold. But he goes heavy on the humdrum in a book whose clear-cut lessons are too rudimentary for the corporate audience he's courting. It's only when the author focuses on little-known trivia and insider information—gleaned from what the jacket copy touts as his unprecedented access to the delivery giant—that his account approaches the wonderful. In recounting the evolution of the American behemoth from the Gold Rush days when 15-year-old Jim Casey transported everything from bail money to morphine, Brewster turns up some shiny nuggets: the trucks are brown so dirt won't show; in Zambia, UPS uses canoes to make deliveries; in New York City, the company would prefer to offer the city government an annual payment instead of tracking thousands of parking tickets. Like UPS lifer Greg Niemann, whose Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS (Jossey-Bass, Feb.), Brewster heaps praise on UPS, leaving skeptical readers to wonder what remains untold. But Brewster's emphasis on UPS business strategies won't be of much help to the management audience. It's better suited to UPS's beloved everyman Joe. (June)
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