Financial journalist and consultant Rosenbaum (Your Name Here Guide to Life, 2009, etc.) tells the cheering story of Bruce Halle, the force behind the Discount Tire Company.
Halle's tale is inspiring because he built a business empire out of treating both his workforce and his customers with good will. Starting in 1960, he sold tires from his little shop in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a welcoming smile on his face, fast and courteous service and clean restrooms. He worked like a dog, yet he never showed anything but respect and appreciation to his customers and employees. Rosenbaum presents the story in pleasingly unadorned fashion; you can almost sense Halle standing over his shoulder, feeding him the material. One moment the action will be centered on an aspect of Halle's business strategy, which in turn might spark some personal reminiscence. Though a considerable amount of the book chronicles Halle's life's progress, what sings from the pages are the heart-gladdening pillars of his business vision. It goes without saying that the customer gets class treatment—for, as a friend of Halle's noted, "Nobody gets up in the morning and says, 'What a beautiful day. I think I'll go buy four tires.' They get up and say, 'I have to buy new tires.' It's like going to the dentist”—but the workers also feel like they are getting class treatment from the workplace. Many of the workers who gravitate to Discount are "lost boys” without a sense of direction. The company provides a genial atmosphere, a good wage serious potential. Rosenbaum makes it all sound like business-for-dummies, with a bright helping of humor and head-slapping obviousness, repeating his subject’s mantra: "Be honest. Work hard. Have fun. Be grateful. Pay forward.”
Call them Halle's Golden Rules. They ought to be canned and fed to every schoolchild.