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MY FATHER'S BUSINESS

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

An edifying account of entrepreneurial success.

Awards & Accolades

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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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NIGHT

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

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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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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