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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,581 ratings  ·  83 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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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Trung Nguyen Dang
Feb 13, 2017 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
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it came out in 2001. I used many of the principles discussed in my personal & professional life.
It also made me a loyal SWA passenger. I thought Herb Keller was a genius -how he lead & grew the airline. My copy had Herb on the cover. Sadly I think I gave it away or loaned it out? It was signed by him. #NUTS
Today I logged on the SWA app & realized Herb passed away on 1/3/19. RIP Mr. Keller you created a low cost airline I still am loyal to today. Just wish they still served
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I didn't love this. Read it for a specific reason and didn't really connect. The best part for me was the information about how Southwest Airlines started service - a true David and Goliath tale. Deregulation allowed Southwest to expand outside of Texas and has lead to them being (since 2003) the largest domestic air carrier in the world. Famous for the way they treat their employees and encourage humor (Work in play clothes) in the workplace, Southwest is the gold standard for an airline busine ...more
John G.
Dec 04, 2014 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
Garrick Infanger
Feb 09, 2011 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.
Jinal Shah (If I Were Marketing)
The entire book is about the culture at Southwest Airlines- the what, why and how of it. Reading about the importance given to fun, humor and "being your quirky self" at the airlines made me really sad because they are not present in India. If only!! I would have done whatever it took to work there. Because the culture and the people as described in the book are so me!!!

Consider this line "the really tuned in applicants have sent in applications filled out in crayon, delivered in cereal boxes,
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you want to go "Nuts", you have to make fun, celebrate life and love others.
Pretty simple and obvious ideas, although not so simple when implemented in the workplace. This book shows both how the Southwest Airlines do it and how it affects its workers and customers. It was very pleasant to read parts in which I can recognise firm I’m working at, leaders and colleagues. I miss them at this time of quarantine.
This reading is useful to CEO’s and workers, although I would highly suggest CEO’s to
Siddharth Sawjiani
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I've read about Southwest's legendary customer service and understanding what makes the company tick was one of the major motivations of picking up this book. And if there is ever a debate on role of culture in the success of a company I would recommend reading this book. The author highlights various examples that prove how hiring right and fostering the right characteristics go a long way in the success of Southwest Airlines. My only disappointment was the book is 24 years old and I would have ...more
Jeffrey Lambert
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book that had a lot of empowering moments to it. It really helped me identify weaknesses not only in my company but in myself as a leader. I feel really inspired after reading it and I am excited to imprive. My main criticism is that it was quite repetitive when it came to talking about purpose and vision. Even though it was empowering, I found myself saying...didn't I just read this in the last chapter? I would say it could have easily been cut down by 100 pages or so. ...more
Joy Jennings
Aug 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Couldn’t finish it. Too much chirpy, syrupy praise for the company and Kelleher. Some of it reads like a dramatic story by a skilled journalist. The rest sounds like it was written by an exec. I don’t think it was even written by a professional PR person, probably just a rah-rah leader. Kept saying why SWA was great without the stories, details or facts to illustrate why.
Jen Mayes
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Those this book is 20 years old, I really enjoyed learning about the philosophy of this company. I have always admired their amazing customer service and that they empower and treat their employees well. It took me a while to get through the book (and I read other books in between) and maybe could of been condensed some, but overall loved it.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is probably the only book-length treatment of what extroverts think of a company culture designed for them. Southwest has a really impressive record as a company, and a distinctive culture, but my main takeaway was that it's not for me. ...more
Wayne Tuttle
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating. It shows the story of Southwest success. I stirs the heart to pursue further levels of excellence. It makes me want to “fly about the country,” just to support and organization that gets it.
Dec 08, 2016 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.
Eden Saltzman
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is so fantastic to learn about the Southwest story, though the writing at times was a little corny.
This is an awesome read. Absolutely mandatory for anyone building a business for profit and the customers.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love Herb Kelleher- funny, insightful stories
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„Leaders are learners who teach“
Tristan Miller
I had to read it for one of my classes. It was an ok read
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
The customer is NOT ALWAYS right!
Pritesh Jain
Mar 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Lots of good example on great culture and customer experience. But the narrative is fairly repeated.
SJ Barakony
Feb 17, 2017 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
Jun 02, 2009 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
Took4ever Hayes
Jan 25, 2008 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 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
Sep 06, 2007 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
Ryan Meffert
Dec 09, 2013 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
Jul 20, 2015 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
Aug 04, 2015 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
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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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