Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Report #1

"The fascinating untold tale of Samuel Zemurray, the self-made banana mogul who went from penniless roadside banana peddler to kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary"
I really enjoyed this book as it is part biography, part action/adventure, and part business. In addition, I had never heard of this guy before reading this book. Sam Zemurray was an immigrant from Russia that built up the largest banana business in the US. Along the way he fomented revolutions in Central America, defied the US government and corporate America, and was a great benefactor to Tulane University and helped in the formation of Israel. An example of the kind of boot strap guy that built the US into the country it used to be. A couple of quotes by Zemurray that illustrate the type of guy he was. The United Fruit Company, of which he was a large shareholder, was struggling and managers in the field were being micromanaged. He told the CEO, "Do you trust the men in the field? If yes, then let them manage. If no then fire them and get the right guys." When he ended up taking over United Fruit from the New England blue bloods who were running it into the ground he walked into the United Fruit boardroom in Boston and dumped all of the proxies voting him in as CEO on the boardroom table and said, "You guys have been fucking up this company long enough, I'm here to fix it." Great book and a great man.

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