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The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World's Largest Company

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Since Sam Walton's death in 1992, Wal-Mart has gone from being the largest retailer in the world to holding the top spot on the Fortune 500 list as the largest company in the world. Don Soderquist, who was senior vice chairman during that time, played a crucial role in that success. Sam Walton said, "I tried for almost twenty years to hire Don Soderquist . . . But when we Since Sam Walton's death in 1992, Wal-Mart has gone from being the largest retailer in the world to holding the top spot on the Fortune 500 list as the largest company in the world. Don Soderquist, who was senior vice chairman during that time, played a crucial role in that success. Sam Walton said, "I tried for almost twenty years to hire Don Soderquist . . . But when we really needed him later on, he finally joined up and made a great chief operating officer." Responsible for overseeing many of Wal-Mart's key support divisions, including real estate, human resources, information systems, logistics, legal, corporate affairs, and loss prevention, Soderquist stayed true to his Christian values as well as Wal-Mart's distinct management style. "Probably no other Wal-Mart executive since the legendary Sam Walton has come to embody the principles of the company's culture-or to represent them within the industry-as has Don Soderquist," Discount Store News once reported.  In The Wal-Mart Way, Soderquist shares his story of helping lead a global company from being a $43 billion company to one that would eventually exceed $200 billion. Several books have been written about Wal-Mart's success, but none by the ones who were the actual players. It was more than "Everyday Low Prices" and distribution that catapulted the company to the top. The core values based on Judeo-Christian principles-and maintained by leaders such as Soderquist-are the real reason for Wal-Mart's success.


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Since Sam Walton's death in 1992, Wal-Mart has gone from being the largest retailer in the world to holding the top spot on the Fortune 500 list as the largest company in the world. Don Soderquist, who was senior vice chairman during that time, played a crucial role in that success. Sam Walton said, "I tried for almost twenty years to hire Don Soderquist . . . But when we Since Sam Walton's death in 1992, Wal-Mart has gone from being the largest retailer in the world to holding the top spot on the Fortune 500 list as the largest company in the world. Don Soderquist, who was senior vice chairman during that time, played a crucial role in that success. Sam Walton said, "I tried for almost twenty years to hire Don Soderquist . . . But when we really needed him later on, he finally joined up and made a great chief operating officer." Responsible for overseeing many of Wal-Mart's key support divisions, including real estate, human resources, information systems, logistics, legal, corporate affairs, and loss prevention, Soderquist stayed true to his Christian values as well as Wal-Mart's distinct management style. "Probably no other Wal-Mart executive since the legendary Sam Walton has come to embody the principles of the company's culture-or to represent them within the industry-as has Don Soderquist," Discount Store News once reported.  In The Wal-Mart Way, Soderquist shares his story of helping lead a global company from being a $43 billion company to one that would eventually exceed $200 billion. Several books have been written about Wal-Mart's success, but none by the ones who were the actual players. It was more than "Everyday Low Prices" and distribution that catapulted the company to the top. The core values based on Judeo-Christian principles-and maintained by leaders such as Soderquist-are the real reason for Wal-Mart's success.

30 review for The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World's Largest Company

  1. 5 out of 5

    Grace Best-Page

    I wrote to Soderquist with concerns and he replied (very personably, very openly). And then I spoke to him on the phone - again, he was very friendly and open and did his best to answer my questions. At one point he sent me his book to help me understand things (I can't remember if it was before or after the phone call), and that was very nice of him. I'm still not satisfied with every aspect of Wal-Mart, but this book was very interesting and illuminating. No, no one and nothing is perfect, and I wrote to Soderquist with concerns and he replied (very personably, very openly). And then I spoke to him on the phone - again, he was very friendly and open and did his best to answer my questions. At one point he sent me his book to help me understand things (I can't remember if it was before or after the phone call), and that was very nice of him. I'm still not satisfied with every aspect of Wal-Mart, but this book was very interesting and illuminating. No, no one and nothing is perfect, and the larger the entity, the more room for failure/controversy/mistakes/etc., and yes, I shop there.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ron Thibeault

    Don Soderquist, retired CEO of Walmart does a magnificent job presenting how one of the most successful businesses continues to maintain their growth. Outlining the 12 Principles that are central to each department of each store is there any wonder that Walmart is such a great place to shop and an even better place to work.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pavitra Sampath Kumar

    I have reviewed the book in my blog . I found the book very interesting and informative. Please read my post and give your comments . Thanks https://pavitrasampath.blogspot.nl/20... I have reviewed the book in my blog . I found the book very interesting and informative. Please read my post and give your comments . Thanks https://pavitrasampath.blogspot.nl/20...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danny Bennett

    The book focused on the retail world, but some ideas were relevant across multiple industries and organizations. Walmart has definitely had a dominate impact on the world. I live 45 minutes from Bentonville and everybody knows somebody who works for Walmart.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John O'Malley

    Better than I thought it would be. Nothing ground breaking. But a good book over all. Tells the story of Walmart well while sprinkling in great business principles.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wellington

    From a capitalist standpoint, Wal-Mart is one of the greatest stories ever told. With a ruthless penchant for efficiency and low prices, Wal-Mart arguably has made the biggest impact for the average person. Is it a good or a bad impact? This is a story told by the retired Vice Chairman and Operating Officer, Don Soderquist. He began with Sam Walton in 1980 and watched the growth of Wal-Mart rise to be the largest retailer in the world. In the light of all the recent bad publicity of Wal-Mart, it From a capitalist standpoint, Wal-Mart is one of the greatest stories ever told. With a ruthless penchant for efficiency and low prices, Wal-Mart arguably has made the biggest impact for the average person. Is it a good or a bad impact? This is a story told by the retired Vice Chairman and Operating Officer, Don Soderquist. He began with Sam Walton in 1980 and watched the growth of Wal-Mart rise to be the largest retailer in the world. In the light of all the recent bad publicity of Wal-Mart, it was difficult to accept everything Don said. I do know it’s difficult to please everybody. How do you please a company of 1.6 million associates? When you have a company that size, is it really possible to pause to look at each person as a person? With a company that size, how can you have knowledge of what’s happening on the front lines? Wal-Mart’s technological prowess is legendary but even it can’t find an answer to stop the anti Wal-Mart detractors. I think that a lot of the problems are rooted in the fact that Wal-Mart is the biggest dog in the retail world. When the first punches are thrown at the (perceived?) bully, all the other beta dogs gang up, bark and bite as well. Some of the biggest complaints that I want to address here. Wal-Mart offers slave labor wages to its associates. There is a rumor that Wal-Mart is educating their associates on how to use welfare to supplement their income. I don’t know if there’s a way to verify this. Wal-Mart however does post their information about wages and health insurance. On their website, Wal-Mart gives an average of hourly wages of associates. What is the average wage scale of other retailers? Wal-Mart posts that 59% of their associates are insured and people complain that Wal-Mart isn’t doing enough. However, in all the detractors, I have never heard of the percentage of associates that other companies and more importantly retailers insure. Wal-Mart destroys small businesses when they enter the market. If Wal-Mart is doing their job well, they are taking a larger piece of the retailer pie and would take a lion’s share when they join a market. Yes, many small businesses owners will struggle or under – incidentally, maybe have to join Wal-Mart and get a pay cut. This is the nature of capitalism and I would have a bigger problem with government subsidy to keep an inferior business afloat. The bottom line is that there are a lot of people who hate Wal-Mart, but obviously there are many more people who love to shop Wal-Mart. People do have choices on where to shop. If you don’t like Wal-Mart, shop somewhere else. What does Wal-Mart mean to you? I have the strange paradox of being a shareholder of the company but I rarely set my foot into Wal-Mart. From an investor standpoint, I think it’s a great story and an amazing story. However, from a consumer standpoint, I would like to have more of a community store. It would be nice to go to a store where everyone knows your name and the money you spend is helping directly helping little Billy save up for his first car. Wal-Mart feels so impersonal to me but it’s what people obviously want.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Glad

    Aside from relationships with major suppliers like Procter & Gamble, it is hard to believe anyone else really benefits that much. Don seems like a nice folksy guy who has good intentions, but something says this is not the "Made in America" Sam Walton company that it once was. May serve basic job search needs for some. Quick web search for Wal-Mart employee turnover rate suggests it is something like 37% in recent times, which may not be as bad as McDonald's, but still sounds like people are exer Aside from relationships with major suppliers like Procter & Gamble, it is hard to believe anyone else really benefits that much. Don seems like a nice folksy guy who has good intentions, but something says this is not the "Made in America" Sam Walton company that it once was. May serve basic job search needs for some. Quick web search for Wal-Mart employee turnover rate suggests it is something like 37% in recent times, which may not be as bad as McDonald's, but still sounds like people are exercising their option to leave even in these times. So kind of a wry moment when you hear Don talking of how Wal-Mart wishes to do better if only it knew how, yet something tells me the terms of employment could be better. Wal-Mart just seems like a very low brow culture.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    At the Walmart Saturday Morning Meeting once, there was a man shown briefly during a video montage. For those brief few seconds, I was surprised by the ovation he received. I realized that was Don Soderquist. Later I heard Don speak in person. I learned a lot then plus I learned a lot from this book. I gave this book five stars because I want my own copy and I definitely want to read it again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir Silchenko

    Brilliant book ! Can't say I like the idea of the fact of existence of such a huge company with such an enormous economical/social/political power. What I'm saying is that the ideas discussed in this book are great in their simplicity and effectiveness. Definitely book to be read by any manager or team lead.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Manish

    Some interesting highlights: 1)Dont look at what the competition is doing wrong but look at what they are doing right and learn how we can do better from it. 2)Treat an individual as what he ought to be and he could become that individual 3)see pg. 73 4)Ten-foot rule of customer service 5)Have a system which will allow you attention to detail 6)see pg. 167

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erwin

    Best business book ever? No. Worth reading, Yes. Nothing groundbreaking here, but Soderquist does a nice job simplifying the principles of good management down into a short list. This is actually an excellent format for inclusion into company introduction materials, and would be a great starting point for a deep dive for management trainees or a refresh course.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a decent book. Soderquist talks about those characteristics of the firm that give it its competitive advantage - namely company culture, supply chain management, and the relentless focus on reducing expenses.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Schnitzer Ang

    A guide book with ample of examples showing what walmart as doing difference to create a legacy for grocery shopping forever. It shares about the culture of the company that makes walmart succeed faster than ever.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rohit

    Excellent book to learn the secrets of a true corporate culture.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Selva

    Though I couldn't agree with all their ways, it made for an interesting read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Miro Nguyen

    Good summary of Walmart's success but quite ordinary, more as a summary of Walmart's history and commercials, nothing unexpected.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Name Wendy

    Really enjoyed this. I admire the man and was inspired by walmart's management principles . Cleanly stated but engaging .

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    I don't think that Wal-Mart is practicing all of what they preach in here. However, there are some great ideas on how to run a successful business. Great read for small business owners.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jordao Soares

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hans

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vivek Sanghi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amitdubey

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andres Buritica

  27. 5 out of 5

    Uriel Zuluaga

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Taylor

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nikunj

  30. 4 out of 5

    Antonio

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