Academic journal article Journal of Small Business Strategy

100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them

Academic journal article Journal of Small Business Strategy

100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them

Article excerpt

100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them By Emily Ross and Angus Holland Sourcebooks, Inc.: Naperville, IL: 2006

So you already know that Michael Dell and Bill Gates dropped out of their universities, and perhaps you know that Phil Knight sold tennis shoes out of the trunk of a Plymouth Valiant at athletic meets. But did you also know that Warren Buffet had five paper routes before school when he was thirteen and that he bought his first share of stock at age eleven? And did you know that Oprah Winfrey was raised on a pig farm in Missi-ssippi and that her parents wanted to name her Orpah after a character from the Bible but misspelled her name? Or how about that IKEA was started in a shed that had been used to store milk churns? And Clarence Birdseye got the idea for frozen vegetables while working as a naturalist in the Arctic Circle.

Such is the stuff from a wonderful book, 100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them by Emily Ross and Angus Holland. I'm not sure the book was intended as a trivia book; it more likely was supposed to be a business history book. It is great as both. The authors break the book into 22 chapters although I am not sure what their logic was. Never mind, because the chapters are then broken into the 100 vignettes about the beginnings and development of bus-inesses we all know. We find, for example, that in-line skates were invented back in the 1700s, long before Scott Olson perfected the idea and called them Rollerblades. Liquid Paper was once called Mistake Out. Play-Doh had been sold for years as Magic Wall-paper Cleaner before Joe McVicker put it in cans for use as modeling clay. …

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