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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  715 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Twenty-five years ago, Herb Kelleher reinvented air travel when he founded Southwest Airlines, where the planes are painted like killer whales, a typical company maxim is "Hire people with a sense of humor," and in-flight meals are never served--just sixty million bags of peanuts a year. By sidestepping "reengineering," "total quality management," and other management phil ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 17th 1998 by Crown Business (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

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John G.
This book far exceeded all expectations I had. This is not a genre I usually read, basically a history and case study of a particular business, that being Southwest Airlines. This book validated a lot of my own personal experiences with working at horrible, dead-end jobs that crush your spirit and soul. Most corporations treat employees as disposable, at costs to be cut, and as human resources. Southwest doesn't follow conventional wisdom at all, the focus on love, service, humor, fun, trust, an ...more
The Southwest corporate story is like being upgraded to first class, but the writing in this book is like sitting in the middle seat on a delayed flight between two POS and later discovering your luggage was left on the tarmac and is soaking wet.
By far the most engaging book I've read to date on the principles of organizational psychology in the real world (2 day read). Thoughtfully written with a never ending array of humorous nuggets, this book does more than share the rich history of Southwest Airlines, or highlight key figures in its hierarchy (though Herb is beyond inspirational!). This book dives into the "why" behind the operations. It highlights a mindset that contradicts traditional philosophies. It inspires greatness at the i ...more
I had previously read "Guts!" by Jackie and Kevin Freiberg and loved it. "Guts!" provided briefer descriptions of more companies whereas "Nuts!" focused solely on Southwest Airlines.

The Southwest story is a good one. Their personnel policies are admirable and their dedication to their mission should be a model for any new business. The writing in the text was easy to read and accessible.

I could not connect to this book like I did "Guts!". I was truly inspired by "Guts!" and perhaps built this o
Great tips from an insider's perspective, and it really promotes Southwest in a fantastic light. But the chapters are long and got a little repetitive. The stories were the only bit that kept me trucking along, because the summary of what the stories represented came off as a little dry.

Overall great book, and a very educational read! Just set aside a week to finish it, because it's pretty dense.

Book is a little dated (1998) and finally just lost my interest. Did it look a little like a school book to anyone else?

I love the maverick attitude and got me thinking of some of the Southwest Airlines qualities in culture that I could incorporate into my work place and my life.

Lean, flexible and fast - these all go together. Southwest had all these in spades to survive competitors throwing below the belt punches and profiting in one of the most capital intensive industries.

Ownership - this is
Took4ever Hayes
What a grat book!
Herb Kelleher is my hero!
He has the fortitude and confidence to know what is needed and what should be tossed aside. This is what makes great CEO's worth what they get paid!
For the first time, it is made clear that to be a respected leader, you must first become a legend in the minds of your people. To do that, you ust know who you are and where you want to lead. Herb truly knows that.
He is a maverick and that is why Southwest is what it is today.
This book tells true stories tha
Patty A.
I was blessed with five years of working side-by-side with both Herb and Colleen -- I have a signed copy of this book -- loved it -- humor and humanity -- an entire culture that has been frequently imitated! Read it -- You will enjoy it!
David E
A wonderful look into Southwest Airlines through the eyes of its founder. A good read, but it could also been seen/ used as textbook. I thoroughly recommend this book to your bookshelf.
Jun 21, 2008 Jac rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in business
This is a great book about the history of Southwest Airlines, and a great case study on what made the company so successful when other airlines were failing.

I loved the anecdotes and the examples, but my one complaint is that the authors really heavily push their opinions on you. I feel like they insulted my intelligence a bit by attempting to extract all the "morals" of the stories, and I wish they'd left the conclusions to me.

That said, it's a very well researched and well-documented book on t
Ryan Meffert
There are so few leaders left in corporate America today. Herb Kelleher is an example that all CEO's, managers, and individuals in power should strive to mimic. Not only was Southwest Airlines profitable but the culture he established with his employees created remarkable results and loyalty. The fact is that employees want to be loyal and they want to do good work, however, current managers of corporations are simply consumed with themselves and their next bonus. This is one of my favorite lead ...more
Michael Austin
Awesome book. Southwest really does have unique culture, and has continued to stay profitable.
Yvonne Leutwyler
Southwest Airlines has been a very successful venture because they dared to be different. Indeed it is fascinating to read how they manage their "people" (not "employees") unlike most other companies. Sometimes the book is redundand, and sometimes the things Southwest gets praised for just sound exaggerated and maybe not occuring all the time, all across the company. But, basically the book is entertaining to read and does provide many incentives for approaching professional or personal life fro ...more
It was really an ok read.

Southwest may be a great airline but the authors chose to show only the rosy pictures and conveniently avoided any shortcomings. Never once they highlighted any problem with Southwest business model!

Since the author do consulting work for Southwest, it also makes you think if this book was written solely for the purpose of ass-licking. Some stories are great and the book overall is informative. I just wish the book was more realistic than what it is.
Shubham Srivastava
Finally completed my reading ... a complete learning experience..
I’m not normally a guy who reads “Business books” but this is a great read about the only airline that seems to be able to make money and have a little humor in doing it. Some of the business aspects were probalby written for MBA type crowd and would lead to long disuccsions among those people, but in the end it was worth the read for people who want to know about the companies you support when you choose to fly.
Karen Jett
This is a book that tells the history of Southwest Airlines and how it developed a very strong culture that will most likely outlast it's crazy CEO Herb Kelleher.

While it's focus is on the history, there are wonderful examples of exact incidents and things they have done that you can learn from in creating an enduring culture in your own business.
Nov 15, 2007 Alice rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: business
This was a fascinating look into a very sucessful yet most unorthodox business model. It encourages you to look at the way things are done where you work, think of ways to make it more fun (and effective), and makes you want to fly Southwest!

One warning - at some points the detail into procedures and history can make for a some slightly slow reading.
Charles McGonigal
Couldn't decide which was worth - the abysmal writing or the blind worship these authors have for Southwest. Fairy tales have more nuanced characters and less repetition. There probably is something to learn about Southwest Airlines that's good for businesses - you just won't get it from this book. Still a sour taste in my mouth a week later.
I wonder if Southwest is still, almost two decades later, as described in the book. The book comes across as a big advertisement for Southwest but I love the airline so that was okay. Southwest sounds like a great place to have worked in the 1990s. Some very interesting approaches to leadership and employee empowerment.
Southwest Airlines breaks the mold in the airline industry and this is a behind-the-scenes look at the company. Also featured as a case study in the book "Great by Choice" by Jim Collins, Southwest is a company that consistently sticks to its guns and typically comes out profitable in such a volatile industry. Good read.
I love the passion that Herb Kelleher shows in this book and how he celebrates the important lives of his employees. Customers come second. Photographs of their families celebrations covering the walls of their offices will surely make a difference to every businesses culture and employee retention.
I love any book by the Freiburgs. This book describes how Southwest Airlines keeps their customers and employees happy. Whether you are a leader, educator, or even an employee, you will find this book extremely uplifting and will have you think about how you can improve your day to day activities at work!
Feb 02, 2011 Sridhar rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who is working
Shelves: business
The principles are simple and wonderful and if we can translate them into our sphere of work, we would be great too! There are so many examples and call-outs of tools/skills, we should be ashamed if we cannot learn and practice at least a few of them.

One of the must-read books.
If I read this before 9/11, I'd probably have a better view of it. I couldn't really get into the story without feeling that a republishing with an addendum of their current bussiness would have been a much more interesting read.
I had to read this one for a grade! it wasnt as boring as i thought it would be. Its all about giving a public service that people will pay for. it was pretty interesting to find out how a company operates and makes bokoos of money!
I read this book while I was studying aviation management in college and was incredibly fascinated with Southwest Airlines. It gives a great account of what makes this fun and quirky airline such a success.
What an amazing story--I wish my employer operated like Southwest Airlines! I ate up the storyline and the lessons on leadership, all intertwined in this fascinating book. I highly recommend it.
Southwest is definitely a company to admire. I always choose to fly Southwest when I have the choice. I would like to see this book updated with changes made Post 9/11.
Jerry Mahn
I've been a big fan of Southwest Airlines for many years. This book gives a glimpse into what makes the company tick - how the company culture is built into everything they do.
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