An edifying account of entrepreneurial success.

MY FATHER'S BUSINESS

THE SMALL-TOWN VALUES THAT BUILT DOLLAR GENERAL INTO A BILLION-DOLLAR COMPANY

In this debut book, a retired executive examines the genesis and evolution of his family’s business, Dollar General.

Turner was born three months after his grandfather and father established a wholesale business in 1939, the entrepreneurial seed that would eventually blossom into the iconic Dollar General. During the lean Depression years, retailers everywhere were going under. The Turners made a business of buying leftover inventories and selling them to healthier merchandisers or moving them through their own general store in Scottsville, Kentucky, at bargain prices. But the author’s father had an incurable penchant for overbuying and was chronically saddled with too much stock, so he began to sell that inventory in his own stores at a single price—one dollar—inspired by single-day sales popular at the time. The first Dollar General opened in Springfield, Kentucky, in 1955; went public in 1962; and by the time the author retired after serving a quarter century as its president, the company boasted $6 billion in annual sales, with nearly 6,000 locations and 60,000 employees. Turner’s impressively candid chronicle—written lucidly and sometimes affectingly with Simbeck—covers not only the company’s triumphs, but its dark days as well, including its brutal disputes with the Teamsters, a risky overexpansion in the ’80s, and an embarrassing accounting scandal in the early 2000s. The fulcrum of the intriguing tale is the dual joy and anguish of a family-run business—as CEO of the company, Turner fired his younger brother, Steve, and oversaw the forced expulsion of his father from the board of directors. The author also thoughtfully reflects on his own life and the lessons he learned from his father’s and grandfather’s examples, not only about business, but responsibility, family, and spirituality as well. Turner once considered becoming a preacher, but ultimately the family business issued a clarion call: “It turned out I was called into true ministry—ministry that matters in the real world, the world of hurt and pain and error and sin, which to my mind was an even higher calling than the institutional ministry.”

An edifying account of entrepreneurial success. 

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4789-9298-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Center Street/Hachette

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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