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3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  951 Ratings  ·  64 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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Garrick Infanger
Feb 09, 2011 Garrick Infanger rated it it was ok
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.
Trung Nguyen Dang
Feb 13, 2017 Trung Nguyen Dang rated it really liked it
I picked up this book from the recommendation of Mohnish Pahrai. Berkshire Hathway had also invested in a few American airlines including Southwest. From my 6 years as an analyst in ST Asset Management, I learned that Southwest was the best airline in the US. It's the only one that not only has not gone into any bankruptcy but also had a fantastic profitability and stock return. It's also among the few (three) investment grade airlines (rated by Moody's). However, I did not know or appreciate it ...more
SJ Barakony
Feb 17, 2017 SJ Barakony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f-fun

The only reason it took this long for me to finish it was due to having an 'off' year in 2016 with my reading program.
The time had nothing to do with it being complex, not interesting/boring, or any other non positive reason.

Southwest is one of a small, tiny handful of corporations which really 'gets it' - for instance, they do NOT have an "HR" Dept - it's called the "People Department" !!

I truly loved reading this book. Bottom line, it should be in your li
Sumedh Sapre
Jan 22, 2017 Sumedh Sapre rated it liked it
A book that provides some rich insights into what makes Southwest airlines one of the most successful and consistent airlines in the industry. The book is filled with anecdotes and first hand experiences of employees and customers that demonstrates the lengths to which Southwest goes in ensuring legendary service to its customers and employees alike. However, the lower rating is because the book is 100 pages too long. It gets repetitive towards the end, and could've given a better perspective of ...more
Carl Pate Jr
Dec 08, 2016 Carl Pate Jr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fantastic history of the making of Southwest Airlines, but an even better story of how to sincerely take care of customers and how they will then take care of you and your business.
Nick Diaco
Jan 12, 2017 Nick Diaco rated it did not like it
Southwest's story is incredible, but this book is anything but. Detached, bland, and twice as long as it should be.
Dec 29, 2016 Anirudh rated it liked it
The ideas in the book are certainly interesting. The low-ish rating is due to both the book being unnecessarily long (could have been 100 pages lesser and still covered the same ideas) and the writing style didnt really gel with me.
Jun 02, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it
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
John G.
Dec 04, 2014 John G. rated it it was amazing
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
Took4ever Hayes
Jan 25, 2008 Took4ever Hayes rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 22, 2008 Wellington rated it it was ok

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
I frequently fly Southwest Airlines. I have stood in line both in the front and the back (in the old days it was both more fun at times and more stressful because you had to stand in a crowded line). But essentially in a business surrounded by more frequently tales of poor service, more leadership, poor customer service, Southwest has grown from 3 planes to a fleet of hundreds. All the while they have maintained a smile on their faces and love in their hearts. This book is a must read for leader ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Meffert
Dec 09, 2013 Ryan Meffert rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 06, 2007 Jac rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
This is an older book - so some of the material was pretty dated, but it was still worth the read. It is actually two books in one. The first half chronicles the rise of Southwest Airlines and all of the battles it had to survive its early days. The second half is a more traditional "business" book in that the authors explore what makes the culture and leadership at Southwest special. As even the authors admit, it is impossible to "impose" a corporate culture on a company, even a positive one - ...more
Yvonne Leutwyler
Apr 28, 2009 Yvonne Leutwyler rated it liked it
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
Mar 12, 2010 Brugge rated it liked it
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.
Mar 08, 2014 Becki rated it really liked it
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.
Ashish Srivastava
Dec 30, 2012 Ashish Srivastava rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 13, 2013 Dalen rated it liked it
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.
Jun 13, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 31, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
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.
Charles McGonigal
Aug 30, 2009 Charles McGonigal rated it did not like it
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.
Jul 24, 2013 Brady rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 15, 2007 Alice rated it really liked it
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.
Karen Jett
Mar 02, 2012 Karen Jett rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 22, 2010 Sridhar rated it it was amazing
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.
Patty A.
Feb 27, 2014 Patty A. rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 12, 2009 Chavela rated it liked it
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!
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Jackie and Kevin Freiberg are bestselling authors and founders of the San Diego Consulting Group Inc. The Freibergs are dedicated to helping leaders create Best Places where the Best People can do their Best Work to make the world Better. Both have Ph.D.'s and teach part-time at the University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

Their most recent book, "CAUSE! A Business Stra
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