ONE SMART COOKIE by Debbi & Alan Furst Fields


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The 30-year-old founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies has a remarkable story to tell. But, unfortunately, she fails to do so in this brief, happy-talk account of how her specialty bake shops became, in less than a decade, a prospering multinational enterprise with upwards of 500 outlets. Not just another pretty face, the photogenic Fields (nÉe Debra Sivyer) has been hustling since her early teens, when she worked as a ball girl for the hometown Oakland A's. Married at 18 to a prominent economist ten years her senior, Fields soon resolved ""to become an independent, self-respecting individual able to stand on my own two feet."" Where she stood initially was behind the counter of a cookie store that she opened in Palo Alto, Calif. Against all odds, the fledgling venture proved the starting point for a still expanding business that went public last year in the UK. But on the evidence of the once-over-lightly text, Fields is not prepared to share either the secrets of her success or the particulars of proprietary recipes. Beyond gushy pronouncements on using top-quality ingredients, cosseting customers, and making the help feel like members of a team, she offers precious few insights on the exigencies of running a fast-growing company from a home office in Park City, Utah. To illustrate, there's virtually no detail on corporate structure, compensation practice, procurement policy, and related realities. Nor does Fields have much to say about how she copes with her responsibilities as both a CEO and the mother of three young daughters. A confection, then, rather like the author's cookies--sweet, gooey, tempting, and promotable but essentially unsubstantial fare. There are dozens of photographs, many of which seem to have been plucked from family albums.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster