Business wisdom from a seasoned professional who built a billion-dollar company from the ground up.
As co-founder of Amway, a leading global health and home-care product retailer, DeVos (Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People, 2008) discusses his life, his business and the overarching faith that makes his model of compassionate capitalism possible. Raised by Dutch parents during the Great Depression, the author became fascinated and eventually motivated by his grandfather’s “gift for the art of selling,” and he sold organic fruits and vegetables door to door throughout southeast Michigan. Spending his after-class hours washing cars and delivering newspapers, DeVos discovered he wasn’t the only one with an entrepreneurial spirit. He struck up a friendship with classmate Jay Van Andel, a boy who offered to drive him to school for 25 cents per week. Their friendship and business partnership would last a lifetime (Andel died in 2004), through a two-year enlistment in the Air Force during World War II and onward toward a partnership in numerous ventures like a drive-in hamburger stand. Yet nothing was as lucrative as peddling the dietary panacea Nutrilite, an idea that would expand itself into the American Way Association, whose meager beginnings consisted of a basement warehouse and the hopeful appeal of an organic cleansing product. Growth, expansion, a smart reinvestment strategy and lessons like taking “rejection and any negativity in stride” developed Amway into a household name and a well-respected family business. The author further shares his experiences of the purchase of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and a wide array of philanthropic ventures. DeVos isn’t too modest to sell future entrepreneurs on the benefits of his winning—if old-school—combination of conservative values, Christian faith, positivity and hard work.
Amway’s legion of employees will reap the most benefits from this prideful, well-intentioned memoir.