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The Southwest Airlines Way

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Management lessons from the world's most profitable airline

"If you want to understand how one organization can change the competitive rules of the game for an entire industry, read this book."--James L. Heskett, Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School and Coauthor of "The Value-Profit Chain"

"Fortune "magazine calls Southwest Airlines "the most successful airlin
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 9th 2003 by McGraw-Hill (first published December 30th 1899)
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Joshua Steimle
Short, but not short on detail. The book effectively gives away the "secrets" of how Southwest has managed to grow every year, be profitable every year, and pretty much lead the entire industry for 30 years without much serious competition. In a nutshell, it's not certain things they do, it's everything they do. The funny part is that after all these years they still appear to be misunderstood by their competitors and others (i.e. they point out how a major union leader said their competitive ad ...more
Omar Halabieh
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "How did this remarkable transformation occur? How did Southwest grow from an idiosyncratic Texas airline to an organization that managers all over the world are seeking to emulate? Efficiency...Quality...Controlled Growth Demand for Reliable Low-Fare Travel...Competitive Threats...Success Factors—Leadership, Culture, Strategy, and Coordination."

2- "However, leadership is not confined to the CEO. Leadership is better un
Yi-hsin Lin
This book should have been edited down to about 1/3 its length. The author describes ten fundamental principles of Southwest Airlines and how that has allowed them to be very productive and profitable. However, the discussions of each are very similar. A lot of the phrasing was very repetitive.

Much of it seemed very obvious- for example, that if you want to get people to work together efficiently, they need to understand each others' roles and how they fit together- but since the other airlines
Brent Clifford
Very scientific book. I was looking for a book a little less scientific/study based, and looking for more of how Southwest chooses to operate. Good book though.
As an aviation management major in college, I ate this book up. Southwest is a company who really has their act together and it is always fascinating to read about their success. If you're an MBA candidate looking for uses of complex business models, you won't find any here as Southwest's claim to fame boils down to one simple fact: be good to your employees and they will be good to your customers. The difference between Southwest and other companies is that they actually put this theory into ac ...more
Chris Ross
I listened to the audio book. It reads like a textbook. The narrator is rather monotone and hard to listen to. There are some good business ideas that Southwest Airlines created, used, or implemented. I believe Herb Kelleher and Collen Barrett are exceptions to the "C" suite and other executives should take note of what Kelleher created. The book was somewhat boring. The message is that if you take care of relationships and people: customers, employees, suppliers, external parties, etc. business ...more
Devin Partlow
Err maybe this should just be included in the packet for Southwest's prospective hires
Oct 17, 2007 Raghie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Business people
Reading this book I felt like I was reading about a cult, everyone was happy. A great place to work, everyone gets along and if you don't it is suggested that you leave. Aside from that I thought the book had some great points about the ultimate goals of any business: to have a happy customers and the bottomline. While I thought some of there ideas were a bit much, I thought about the outcome and in that environment it works. Not a bad read but sometimes she droned on and was repetative ...more
Natalie Dipietro
This is one I like to re-read every couple of years as a reminder. If you touch the service industry at all (and who doesn't), it's a must read
Union section helpful

pg 181 182Union represtation can also provide an avenue fo employee voice in the the organization, potentilally creating a greater sense of shared goals with their emplouer, so long as employees are not forced to choose between loyatlyt to their union and loyalty to their employer.

also pg 168-176
I just finished this one on CD as well, it's a great book for understanding how successful businesses could be run. Good ideas for relationships in the workplace. I wouldn't mind working with South West Airlines one day. :)
Interesting. Provides a strong generalizable case for the competitive advantage of a vision and mission that is truly embedded within the company, as well as the power of employer-employee relationships and an engaged workforce.
The book was a tad repetitive. It had some good insights into what makes Southwest different, and successful. But once it hit those points, it just kept rehashing it from different directions.
Brian Cuban
There are about 3 unique principals in this book that are good across industries. The rest is airline specific stats and such and first year management theories.....
Interesting premise and well-researched but I found this book a pretty dry read.
Luan Lam
A MUST-READ for all individuals who are pursuing a career in HR.
good insight to a groundbreaking business model
Tony Canas
Very interesting view into Southwest!
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“However, leadership is not confined to the CEO. Leadership is better understood as a process that can take place at any level of an organization.16” 0 likes
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