THE FORTUNATE FORTUNES; THE PROBLEM SOLVERS; THE R by Nathan Aaseng
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THE FORTUNATE FORTUNES; THE PROBLEM SOLVERS; THE R

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An author who has published dozens of useful books on sports initiates a series on business: brief sketches of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs associated with familiar products. The information here is exceptionally well organized to entertain and instruct beyond the immediate facts. Subtitles neatly summarize the theme of each volume: Business Successes That Began with a Lucky Break covers products ranging from Kellogg's cornflakes, resulting from a batch of dough that was left to stand too long, to Encyclopedia Britannica, which became an unexpected money-maker after being forced on the University of Chicago as a tax write-off for the donor. People Who Turned Problems into Products include a wealthy woman who invented the dishwasher to minimize breakage, a poor boy who grew up to introduce insurance to ameliorate childhoods like his own, and John Deere's plow. One of the People and Products that Outsmarted the Experts tells about the man who started Federal Express to answer a professor who had given him a low grade on a paper suggesting such a venture; Monopoly was initially rejected by Parker Brothers as "everything you don't want in a game"; it took Birdseye decades to win market acceptance for his frozen foods. And the Unheralded People Who Invented Famous Products range from the originators of Superman to the man who sold the Coca-Cola formula for $1750 and include the unsung men behind General Motors. The seven or eight topics in each book have plenty of variety, all skillfully employed to demonstrate the principles and practice of business as an activity and as social history. Aaseng tells his stories well; they are fascinating to read, as addictive as peanuts. Meanwhile, marginal definitions expand on the many concepts introduced (patent, profit, trademark, etc.), with context giving them extra interest. These are also accessible through boldface index entries. Good period photos and reproductions of ads enliven the format while contributing to the information presented. An excellent quartet. Bibliographies; indexes.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1989
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Lerner
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