Sam Walton: Builder or Destroyer?

Countries need to reinvent themselves to remain competitive in the great world development race. United States has done this many times from 1776 through the civil war through the great industrial revolution and finally, through the brilliance of Sam Walton who saw America as the great consumer engine and understood how to feed its need.

o5b06lozro26b562Little stores, even mini-boxes peppering the landscape in ma and pa outlets did nothing to bring down cost or create choice. They left great home spun memories but put a great concrete block on the head of economic growth.

Sam designed a way to bring the world to small towns in America. How did he do it? How did he use that as a great springboard to start changing the world. How did he move from Indiana to India? The book helps us understand the brilliance of his model that became almost infinitely flexible to adjust to different cultures.

Unhappily, in the process, small retailers and manufacturers in small town America were destroyed. While Walmart became the biggest employer in America, thousands of jobs were plowed under as communities adjusted to the new model. While his stores built small towns in America with its presence, they also ravaged the main street small store culture of America. So, was Sam Walton a builder or a destroyer of small town America? The book shows this that he was both at the beginning of creative cycles, inevitably, there is a destruction of that which is being replaced.

Sam Walton: Made in America
The Man who Built Walmart.

Walton650In his own small town style, Sam Walton wrote about his story, how he built his retail business to be the tops in the world. Sheer hard work and total focus made Sam Walton was the platform that Sam used to become the world’s greatest retailer. He started with a dime and ended up a multi-billionaire (23 billion at his death in 1992).

Sam was born on a small farm in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. The family shifted from one small town to another as his father realized he could not really get a living out of farming. Eventually, the family settled in Columbia, Missouri where Sam grew up in the midst of the Great Depression. He got a Bachelor’s in Economics degree in the University of Missouri and started his career with JCPenny and then moved up the retail ladder in a series of other chain stores. He was learning his trade.

He himself claims in the book that most of his success is because of the sheer passion he brought to his work. But it’s also clear that his success was built on observations and the capacity to learn.

The Walmart Effect:
Transformed the U.S. Economy?

Walmart has grown far beyond expectation as the book shows through its extensive interviews of former Walmart managers, employees and suppliers. But what has been the price paid for the cost cutting? Does Walmart’s massive profits justify the wasteland of small enterprise that lies under its foundations? Very simply, has it created more than it has destroyed?