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My Father's Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The first-person account of the family that changed the American retail landscape that Dave Ramsey calls a must-read.

Longtime Dollar General CEO Cal Turner, Jr. shares his extraordinary life as heir to the company founded by his father, Cal Turner, Sr., and his grandfather, a dirt farmer turned Depression-era entrepreneur. Cal's narrative is at its heart a father-son story
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Center Street
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Charles Haywood
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
In 2002, the law firm for which I worked was involved in the Dollar General debacle, helping clean up the mess after the company restated financial statements due to massive accounting fraud. I didn’t know much about Dollar General at the time. But I do remember that a firm partner told me that one of the company’s directors had succinctly described their business model to him. “We sell shit, to poor people.” Cal Turner, Jr., has written this book to explain that business model and his part in i ...more
Michelle
#Hachettepartner

`My Father's Business` is a first-hand account of author Cal Turner, Jr., Cal Turner, Sr. and Luther Turner by former CEO of Dollar General, Cal Turner, Jr. It's about Cal's journey of self-discovery and by sharing what he has learned he can teach readers how to flourish and work together for the good of organizations, communities, and our world.

Cal's grandfather, Luther Turner, became a dedicated student of life with only a third-grade education. He valued other people's infor
...more
Cindy Brookshire
Sep 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get very far into this book - too preachy. But that's just me. A book I might not like, someone else would find inspirational. I knew a grocery store owner in Virginia who grew up in Central America, and was inspired by one of Robert Schuller's books. I bought this book in a Walmart Express store that failed and was taken over by Dollar General. I will pass it on to others to read. Much more interesting is to look up and read articles within the past four years about the adverse effec ...more
Dave Weiss
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got this book as a review copy from the publisher, in exchange for a review on my blog, AMOKArts.com. They are now requiring that I add the hashtag #ad to my reviews, and while I fundamentally disagree with this policy, because I don’t review these books to advertise them, I look for books that might be useful to my audience and share them as potential resources. That being said I will honor their policy.

I spent most of this book wondering how I would review it, because at times I really didn
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Koren
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business

First of all, I have to say, I love Dollar General. 2 years ago my tiny town of 1000 people were amazed that such a beautiful store would want to come to our town. We had been without anything but a gas station for several years. And so we learn that that is their business model- to go where they are needed and people dont have anywhere else to buy common, every day things. The founding fathers of Dollar General were small town, country people that believed in hard work, honesty and helping your
...more
Salo Ash
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book. Not for every reader, it's a bit repetitive but if you can identify yourself (as I did) having a similar story, working on your fathers business is a great book which calms you down your big concerns and gives you some tips to handle them!
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April Suter
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Dollar General with a Christian point of view of the Cal Turner, Jr.
Natesh
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A feel good story of a small town business. Describes the challenges/opportunities of running a family business in a gripping manner. Finally, this page "Turner" is a good read for anybody who wants to understand retailing. ...more
Joan
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Cal Turner, Jr. grew up in a retail family. His dad bought and resold close outs, remainders, and irregulars. His dad made the leap to the marketing idea in 1955 of selling everything for a dollar.

Cal, Jr. went to college, did a tour in the navy and then joined his dad's business. His first job was opening stores, then negotiating leases. The decision was made to take the company public. Dollar General expanded and over time became a Fortune 500 company.

When Cal, Sr. ran the business, it was at
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Henry
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
- Economic down term doesn't mean all is bad: the first store they opened failed during the (now forgotten) depression of 1920s. When they opened their second store during the great depression of 1929s, they aligned themselves perfectly to ride the wave - "where there's a failure, there's opportunity"

- Great Depression turned out to be more than good for Luther as he was able to use cash he saved and purchase sheriff sale inventories: always have cash, always avoid all forms of debt, especially
...more
J.K. George
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-books
A gift from my older son, and one with many interesting family and business aspects. As one who worked hard, albeit for "the man" at a large American firm for his career, and who made sacrifices for the career, I could follow the thread of this interesting story about the founding of what turned out to be Dollar General, and the transision from a totally intuitive way of doing business, wildly successful, into a professionally led huge American retailer.

Some of the facts in the book are jaw dro
...more
Jay
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
It is wonderful learning the story behind many of the businesses we now frequent and feel that somehow their success was a given. Yet, after reading My Father’s Business by Cal Turner, Jr., the son of one of the most well-known and national retail chains, Dollar General, it is encouraging to not just know, but understand how purpose, passion ,faith, hope, determination and a willingness to learn all aspects of business without shying away from hard work can create a legacy.

The author loving shar
...more
Mike Studdard
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave it five stars not because it captured my interest all the time. But this relatively honest portrayal of a family from humble beginnings capture some of the warts and trials of running a small town company that grows to become a nationally known brand. Mr. Turner Jr. could have hidden the warts and the story would not have been quite so interesting or realistic. I grew up in small towns in Tennessee and Alabama during the time Mr. Turner Jr. began running the business. He captured a good p ...more
Michael
Jun 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
The book’s description and glowing reviews from non-verified purchases vs. what I read were two different things. Rather than really imparting life lessons or explaining his management style, this is more of an autobiography of his childhood followed by what appears to be his own penance / apology tour for creating a huge rift with his family after he (a) fired his brother, and (b) had the board maneuver to fire his father in the same year his mother died. Clearly something that was hard to do w ...more
W. Whalin
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Fascinating Look Inside the Creation of Dollar General

I enjoyed reading MY FATHER’S BUSINESS cover to cover. Cal Turner learned the dollar store business from his father. His father was a natural entrepreneur and I found many of the details of this book insightful. For example, the stores were slow to move to computers and centralized information but when they finally took the plunge the data and information was very helpful so they could even grow the business to a higher level. Sometimes we
...more
Susan Shipe
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How many times have we walked into a Dollar General for one or two things and come out with three bags and a jug of laundry soap in our hands! I have often said to my husband, "We should own stock in DG!" It is now a store one sees in all the obscure, rural, out of the fray places! Just the other weekend, in search of an item I needed for an organizing project, we stopped at four different locations on our 90 minute drive to our daughter's!

So, how did this giant, billion dollar company, rural r
...more
Oak
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My Father’s Business is a first-person account by Cal Turner, Jr., in which he shares the life story of his father, the founder of Dollar General. I loved reading this heartfelt memoir and learning more about the Turner family, who displayed strong values and a strong work ethic. The book will be fascinating to entrepreneurs – since the story shows the rise of a company – but the book is also a great example of a Christian putting his values into his business. It is so much more than the story o ...more
Lance Lumley
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This business/leadership book is more geared for business readers. I wanted to read the book to see how the Turner family created the Dollar general brand from small town stores. It was an interesting read, but parts became a struggle when Turner discusses some of the retail terms and business bottom lines (I have worked in retail for many years, and I was confused on some of the words). Nonetheless the book is interesting to read, but if you are reading it as just a biography, there may be some ...more
Wally Bock
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Father’s Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into A Billion-Dollar Company is the story of a company founded in small-town Kentucky in 1939, the family that founded it, and the growth and development of the man who ran it for almost 40 years. It’s an honest book and a personal one. If you like honest, first-person accounts of what it’s like to be in business, this is a great book. If overt expressions of Christian faith or rustic language bother you, give this book a pas ...more
Dave Summers
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read many business books to prep for our podcast program, this one stands out as a rich, revealing, stirring document of the founding, early years, and phenomenal growth of the Dollar General corporation. Very personal and powerful observations from Mr. Cal. Looking so forward to this conversation!
Shirley Conley
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I have read this year. I believe that Cal Turner told a great story of his family and career. He did not cover up and told everything from his personal presentations. The story is exciting as business can be. I did not know the story of Dollar General and was surprised at the end. Good story telling all around.
Jingwei Shi
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: retail
When I first chose the book, I thought that it would be an in depth analysis of Dollar General. However, the book is more focused on the interpersonal relationships (especially the family aspect) of Dollar General and Cal Turner's life. Nonetheless, the book is an enjoyable read, just maybe not an insightful one. ...more
James Mitchell
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book, very well written interesting peak into a family and family business that became a huge cooperation. Love the time line layout as you travel through the lives of the Turner family. Kind of reminds me of a smaller version of Downton Abbey with all the historic nuances and individual stories.
Virgiliu Catalin
Short in business insights, long in father-son memories

Perhaps 60-70% of this book is about his father, their father-son relationship, what other people said or thought about his father, etc. The rest is about the business of Dollar General, but unfocused and lacking strong insights. Let’s say it’s descriptive but not informative.
Aneil
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership, business
Great set of leadership principles distilled from a truly compelling story if two leaders who made the successful leap in transforming a successful entrepreneurial endeavor into a thriving and sustainable corporate enterprise.
John
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as Cal, jr always does. He gives a lot of value @ a good price

I am a former employee of DG & many events described in this book are familiar to me. It brings back many good memories.
Rick Davis
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great story about Dollar General and the Turner family's journey with the business. I enjoyed the human aspect and transparency in the book. As someone starting a new business, I learned quite a bit in the last third of the book based on Turner's experience and lessons. ...more
Raul Bowers
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Told a story good, a few confirmation bias's. Read maths' really into numbers. Religion & a business man together is skeptic cultivating customs. Thank you Cal Turner, Jr. I shop curiously through Dollar General nice too have read the history. ...more
Emily Adams
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very inspiring story about the entrepreneurial spirit!
Mary Caravella
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, dnf
Didn’t finish, don’t really like memoirs unless they are well written and this one just started off too preachy for me...
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