It is hard to tell what is more addictive a chocolate bar or the story of Milton Hershey. I would actually argue the latter. This book had all the is...moreIt is hard to tell what is more addictive a chocolate bar or the story of Milton Hershey. I would actually argue the latter. This book had all the is the perfect ingredients for an enthralling and enjoyable read, turn of the century innovation, a slightly ectrentic candy maker, a utopian town, and charity that rivals the great philanthropist of any time.
My desire to seek out this title came after a. Is it to the Hershey Museum in Hershey, PA. I came away with a single thought - I've got to find a biography about this man and his company.
The stories of Milton Hershey show an exceedingly generous man who unlike other contemporaries of the industrial time, got rich WITHOUT exploiting workers, destroying competition, pillaging the environment, manipulating stocks, or purchasing politicians.
He not only built a company but a ideal city of small town ideals to support the workers of his factory. Early on in the company's history he bequeathed the ownership in the Hershey Foods company to a School Trust for orphaned and low income children; both still exist today.
The trust still funds the school and still owns controlling interest in The Hershey Company. With over six billion dollars in assets, the is one of the wealthiest schools in the world. It's not perfect as so often happens, money can become the source of discontent. Critics might find fault with Hershey's methods but not his intentions.(less)
Concluding my survey of P. L. Traver’s Mary Poppins (begun with being a background extra in the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, followed up with reading the...moreConcluding my survey of P. L. Traver’s Mary Poppins (begun with being a background extra in the movie “Saving Mr. Banks”, followed up with reading the first “Mary Poppins” book, and seeing the Disney movie) with reading “Mary Poppins, She Wrote: the Life of P.L. Travers.
While I was curious in what had transpired in her adolescence life till adulthood, I was truly interested in the pairing of Disney of Travers. I was quite aware that the move, “Saving Mr. Banks” had taken liberties with story. After all, this was a movie to reminisce and recreate, not a documentary. This period of her life doesn’t really delve deeper or provide further understanding of the process. However, it does provide a beautiful statement that summaries the event perfectly. “There was one big difference between Walt Disney and Pamela. Disney’s purpose in life was to entertain people . . .bring pleasure, particular laughter, to others rather than being concerned with expressing himself or ‘obscure creative impressions.’ Pamela specialized in obscure creative impressions.” P. L. Traver’s Mary Poppins was not cheery, but tart, sharp, rude, plain, and vain.
How did Mary Poppins come to be? Well there is no well-defined answer. Like many things a life is a sum of its parts and Mary Poppins was the sum of the life of P. L. Travers. As the final paragraph in the book states, “She spend her life searching for Mr. Banks. She never found him. All the Mr. Bankses on the way, from Lawrence Campbell to Allan Wilkie to Frank Morton, to Yeats, Orage, AE, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, helped Helen Lyndon Goff grow into Pamela Travers. But in the end, she found her own identity, masked through it might be, through her own would be, the hero of a story – her own.
A couple of tidbits that caught my attention:
Helen Lydon Goff was born on August 9, 1899, but no one ever called her by name, preferring Lyndon, an Irish name that was shortened to Lindy or Ginty. A Gaelic name meaning water and stone. Her transformation to Pamela Lyndon Travers occurred in the 1920’s when she took this a stage name during her young acting career.
Somewhat of a surprise, though really should not be given the ever-changing demeanor, is that P.L. Travers in 1986 ACTUALLY considered allowing Disney to make a movie sequel of Mary Poppins. However, this time the Disney Company abandoned the project as it would have been too costly. She did push further development of a stage musical of “Mary Poppins” (which ironically had Emma Thompson rumored as a possible actress for the lead). (less)
Ironically, I read this book as I travel on the East wind myself, flying from the West coast to the Midwest. Although, I traveled by way of plane as m...moreIronically, I read this book as I travel on the East wind myself, flying from the West coast to the Midwest. Although, I traveled by way of plane as my mode of transportation as I my umbrella was not in my care.
With the release of "Saving Mr Banks", in which I am a background extra, I thought a larger survey and study of the story would be timely. The first book on this journey was "Mary Poppins" by P L Travers from 1934. I therefore am reviewing it from that perspective.
As The book is not a narrative story, but short episodes that comprise of Mary Poppins tenure at the Banks residence. One can clearly see the springboard for the for the movie development. Many of these episodes are translated or inspire the Disney's stern nanny that weaves extraordinary events into the Lives of the Banks family.
I loved Bill Carter's Late Shift book enormously. The story of the original battle for late night between Leno and Letterman. It was like a great Shak...moreI loved Bill Carter's Late Shift book enormously. The story of the original battle for late night between Leno and Letterman. It was like a great Shakespeare story that unfolded at 11:35pm.
It surprised me how much I enjoyed this book. The same premise, two stars, one show, but wouldn't NBC be wiser this time? This book unfolds as not really a continuation but a sequel and, for me, an engaging story that I couldn't put down and finished in a weekend.
It was recently announced the Jimmy Fallon would take o Ed the Tonight Show in 2015. I hope Bill Carter has his pen at the ready . . .(less)
What I liked about this book was that it was concise. While it covers details from the 1600's to the early 2000's it is only 154 pages. No that's not...moreWhat I liked about this book was that it was concise. While it covers details from the 1600's to the early 2000's it is only 154 pages. No that's not for lack of activity, it is because this is a broad overview. Perfect to touch the highlights without being bogged down by reading topics that go on and on or details for the sake of including everything.
- At one time Terre Haute had over 300 grocery stores - Learn more about the people behind the names that grace the buildings of Indiana State University
- I found it surprising in the early 19th the number of business that burnt down, including the manufacturer of hoop skirts
- In 1990 the Russian government considered the Vigo Ordnance Depot their foremost interest in inspecting likely biological warfare sites (It still contained obsolete fermenters from WWII that made penecillian)
Of course it contains information on the more well know historic facts too such as:
- Root Glass being the birthplace of the iconic Coca-Cola Bottle
- Larry Bird and the 1979 Indiana State University Team
- Anton "Tony" Hulman Jr and Hulman and Company that included holdings such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Clabber Girl Baking Powder
- Eugene V. Debs and the Socialist Party
It was enjoyable to read and learn more abut things that you may have heard about or might have been unfamiliar. I would recommend to anyone from or familiar of Terre Haute.(less)
I think the book’s byline summarizes the book the best; “part business story, part social history an part family saga”. As the Santa Fe expanded westw...more
I think the book’s byline summarizes the book the best; “part business story, part social history an part family saga”. As the Santa Fe expanded westward so did Fred Harvey with his namesake restaurants. But the book is not all about business, topics covered also include US western rail expansion, birth of American food service, tourism at the Grand Canyon, and the MGM film “The Harvey Girls”. Although some topics seemed to dwell on certain topics and gloss over others, this was an enjoyable read. But over all a well-researched and enjoyable read.
One of the most interesting additions is the appendix that includes recipes from the Fred Harvey restaurants.(less)
In a book review Buzz Bradshaw said that 'As a Man Thinketh' by James Allen, “is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read,” and "the influen...moreIn a book review Buzz Bradshaw said that 'As a Man Thinketh' by James Allen, “is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read,” and "the influence of that book helped to build our team—the most powerful sales organization you’ve ever witnessed.”
For some who lived a rich life to be 101 years old, I thought this might be a good book to check out, and it was well with the read. "As a Man Thinketh" is actually a short essay, which this book included, but also had related excerpts from other books of James Allen.
The book is an excellent blend of the power of positive thinking and self improvement. What is nice is that it is from a biblical Christian perspective to help reinforce its point. Because of this it it feels less like a self help book, but a self improvement book.
I look forward to implementing some of the techniques and perspectives in my work and personal life.(less)
Not as good (or enjoyable) as the previous version. Yes, some tongue in cheek moments like your survival rate in real hospital compared to a tv show h...moreNot as good (or enjoyable) as the previous version. Yes, some tongue in cheek moments like your survival rate in real hospital compared to a tv show hospital is off the charts. However, while I'm sure the economics of prostitution might be entertaining to some, I found myself wondering "I really want to spend my time reading this?". (less)
My interest in learning more about Henry Kaiser was due to the two of his business in Southern California that carry his name, the Kaiser-Permanente a...moreMy interest in learning more about Henry Kaiser was due to the two of his business in Southern California that carry his name, the Kaiser-Permanente and the Kaiser Steel Mills. However, as I learned, these were only two pieces of the entrepreneur's empire. His business ventures included:
- Getting his start in road construction, but notably for playing a part in the construction of Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam) - Creating a prepaid insurance plan first began for his construction workers - Creating a ship building empire that at its peak turned out a ship a day - Bringing steel production to the western US with Kaiser Steel Mills in Fontana, CA - Building the Kaiser-Frazer automobile company that was at its peak the 4th largest automobile company in US. - Folding the Jeep Corporation into his automobile company - Venturing to Hawaii to build hotels and resorts
As fascinating as this story was, the book itself was certainly a challenge. This began with just trying to locate a copy as its last printing was in 1988. But reading through the book it was by no means a fluid account. While it contained a lot of great information, and stories, it was challenging at times as it almost seemed like encyclopedic account of his life.
None the less a very interesting individual as the book states, “He was America’s boldest, most spectacular entrepreneur: a Western maverick with a Midas touch. With the guts of gunslinger, he plunged into a dizzying diversity of ventures that built a legendary industrial empire, established the nations most successful health care program, helped win WWII, and changed forever the face of Western America.” (less)
You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but some times it’s the cover that attracts your attention. A man sitting with there with no arms an...moreYou may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but some times it’s the cover that attracts your attention. A man sitting with there with no arms and legs just smiling lead me to read this book. Of course it touches on some of his struggles and set backs, but it is an inspiring story of perseverance and how to turn a perceived negative into a positive with what God gave him. He truly lives a life without limits, especially when you read that he’s been scuba diving and surfing!(less)
A third person point of view where God and good is portrayed as an antihero made this a very interesting read. I remember thinking that it must have b...moreA third person point of view where God and good is portrayed as an antihero made this a very interesting read. I remember thinking that it must have been difficult to write for C.S. Lewis and this was confirmed in some follow up notes.(less)
Interesting story, I got this book the week before the California election, but didn’t finish it till a week after the election. Did the fact that Meg...moreInteresting story, I got this book the week before the California election, but didn’t finish it till a week after the election. Did the fact that Meg was not elected Govern nor effect my enjoyment of this book? Certainly not. In fact, given Meg’s close relationship with Mitt Romney, as they were worked together at the same agency, I suspect that here support or involvement in the political arena is not over. However, I digress. As I’ve previously mentioned, I love reading books that pass along a wisdom from business and life. This book certainly met those criteria, and more.
The book itself was not really laid out in chronological order of Meg’s life. It generally focused on her strategies and what she had learned and then related them back to her life. After all, as noted in the title, this contained “Values for Success in Business and in Life” and was not a biography. Meg’s List of Values that became the core of eBay are: - We believe people are basically good - We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual - We believe everyone has something to contribute. - We encourage people to treat others the way the want to be treated - We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people
“When people care about anything . . . they are motivated and energized by feedback. If you think about it, few of us experience a lot of validation in our daily lives. . . In fact, before social networking sites existed, most people went through their days collecting mostly neutral to negative feedback or no feedback at all.” Meg notes that eBay with its communities and social networks are so popular because of the “staisfactiction and sense of validation that people get from sharing useful knowledge with one another and being recognized for doing so.”
Meg supports her belief in a “bias for action” or the cost of doing nothing can be greater than the cost of doing anything. “But although a bias for action is necessary, it is sufficient for success. It has to be paired with other analytical skills and management techniques. . It has to be rooted in such bedrock values and focus and listening and relentless fixation on delivering results. And before you take a big risk, you have to be sure to ask not only ‘what is the worst thing that can happen?’ but also ‘What is the best thing that can happen?’ By asking both questions, you make sure that the potential value of what you’re about to do corresponds to risk so that you’re not just making a change for change’s sake or taking a big risk for a modest payoff.”
It was quite interesting to learn of Meg’s job history. I had no idea that before eBay she had worked for a list of consumer products companies that include P&G, Hasbro, and Disney where she was the executive over the consumer products division. Right out of school with her MBA at P&G her first project was to figure out how big the hole in the bottle should be. “Like many newly minted hotshot before me, I thought, “You have got to be kidding me. I’m an MBA not a designer! What is the point of having me do this?”. Thus began the start of her real marketing education that resulted in her “first and arguably most important lesson in consumer marketing: you do not know what you do not know. Don’t forget to listen to the people who have a stake in what ever you are about to do.” And as for the size of the shampoo hole? She made it just the size that the consumers wanted.
“As brand managers at P&G, you were the center of the wheel . . . the challenge was, you had no authority over the spokes but you had to influence them to do what you need them to do. You had to go to them and say, ‘Here’s my objective for my brand’. I learned that you get people to do what you want not because you tell them to but rather because you listen and enlist them in your vision. You get their input so that your vision can be better, and when they see that you are listening you are incorporating their input, they feel validated”.
“When it comes to new product development or certain kinds of marketing where the parameters are fluid, I very deliberately do not ask people to be perfect. In fact, I’m more inclined to say that in these realms perfect is the enemy of good enough.. . If we wait to try to anticipate all the problems in advance, the cost of that delay will be too high. We will learn much faster from trying it out”.
A couple of tid bids I noted on leadership. “You do not have to be perfect to be an effective leader, but you can not be timid.” She went on to make a note from Frank Wells, the Disney executive in that that told her in “You are just as smart as these guys. Speak up. Take them on. Don’t let them intimidate you.”
“I do not believe that a CEO can craft a culture that is fundamentally different from his or her own authentic values. . . Over time, the accumulation of these habits and styles, passed down from one CEO to the next becomes deeply embedded in the DNA of the Company. You cannot simply order them out of existence of issue a memo to change them.”
On of the most interesting stories told of how as a young girl, she and her mother got to be part of a last minute trip to China with Shirley Maclaine for a movie. As soon as her mother signed them up she said “who is Shirly Mclaine?” A very funny and unexpected story that I wasn’t expecting to find.(less)
Very nice laid out travel book by specific drives. Trips range from short city drives to large road trips that traverse the state. Wouldn't expect any...moreVery nice laid out travel book by specific drives. Trips range from short city drives to large road trips that traverse the state. Wouldn't expect anything less from Frommers.(less)