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Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Walmart and Became America's Richest Man

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Sam Walton grew up to become the founder of Wal-Mart, but he was born with practically nothing except a compulsive drive to win - at football, at becoming class president, at beating everyone no matter what the game. His eventual empire started as nothing more than a dingy one-room general store. He created Wal-Mart - and his massive wealth - one building at a time, one to Sam Walton grew up to become the founder of Wal-Mart, but he was born with practically nothing except a compulsive drive to win - at football, at becoming class president, at beating everyone no matter what the game. His eventual empire started as nothing more than a dingy one-room general store. He created Wal-Mart - and his massive wealth - one building at a time, one town at a time. This is not a history of his company, but the biography of an uncomplicated man who just wanted to beat the guy down the street. More than forty black-and-white photos illustrate the text.


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Sam Walton grew up to become the founder of Wal-Mart, but he was born with practically nothing except a compulsive drive to win - at football, at becoming class president, at beating everyone no matter what the game. His eventual empire started as nothing more than a dingy one-room general store. He created Wal-Mart - and his massive wealth - one building at a time, one to Sam Walton grew up to become the founder of Wal-Mart, but he was born with practically nothing except a compulsive drive to win - at football, at becoming class president, at beating everyone no matter what the game. His eventual empire started as nothing more than a dingy one-room general store. He created Wal-Mart - and his massive wealth - one building at a time, one town at a time. This is not a history of his company, but the biography of an uncomplicated man who just wanted to beat the guy down the street. More than forty black-and-white photos illustrate the text.

30 review for Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Walmart and Became America's Richest Man

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Aguilar

    In this book the only character really was Mr.Sam, who is the main character in this book. He pretty much just relied on himself for everything like school and even at his own house. His parents would continually work everyday and his parents came home late from work. So that meant that he has to cook for himself and clean the house before his parents would come. Mr. Sam comes from a poor background. They never the luxurious things in his early life. While this sounds pretty interesting it reall In this book the only character really was Mr.Sam, who is the main character in this book. He pretty much just relied on himself for everything like school and even at his own house. His parents would continually work everyday and his parents came home late from work. So that meant that he has to cook for himself and clean the house before his parents would come. Mr. Sam comes from a poor background. They never the luxurious things in his early life. While this sounds pretty interesting it really wasn’t. This was probably one of the most boring books I’ve ever read in my life. He wrote this book in a way that was not interesting at all. The front cover of the book tells you what the End is about already so it’s pretty much like you don’t have to read it. It was just about his journey from poverty to fame in such a way that is so dull/no flavor in this book. That is my opinion about this book and if I didn’t make this even more clear don’t get this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jordan R

    Mr.Sam's book is very interesting; showing the little details that make him successful. Ever since Sam Walton was 16, he loved the world of business and finance. He went from being a middle-class boy to being a wealthy millionaire. The author shows his journey through his business career and his life story. What I praised about this book was the author showed his business career and life story, all in one! I also liked how the author came up with the creative 3-word chapter titles. Some criticis Mr.Sam's book is very interesting; showing the little details that make him successful. Ever since Sam Walton was 16, he loved the world of business and finance. He went from being a middle-class boy to being a wealthy millionaire. The author shows his journey through his business career and his life story. What I praised about this book was the author showed his business career and life story, all in one! I also liked how the author came up with the creative 3-word chapter titles. Some criticisms that I have are that the author focused more on Sam's financial career than his life story and he should have balanced it out. I think that Mr. Sam was an example of a biography. I think the author should have made it into more of a third person book. I recommend this book to financial people, mainly 26-29 year olds. Overall I thought this book was detailed and very interesting. I give this book 4/5 stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    13 July 2011 MR. SAM: HOW SAM WALTON BUILT WAL-MART AND BECAME AMERICA'S RICHEST MAN by Karen Blumental, Viking, July 2011, 186p., ISBN: 978-0-670-01177-0 "I'm going to rent myself a house in the shade of the freeway I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning and go to work each day And when the evening rolls around I'll go on home and lay my body down And when the morning light comes streaming in I'll get up and do it again Amen" -- Jackson Browne, "The Pretender" "By his own admission, he relentlessl 13 July 2011 MR. SAM: HOW SAM WALTON BUILT WAL-MART AND BECAME AMERICA'S RICHEST MAN by Karen Blumental, Viking, July 2011, 186p., ISBN: 978-0-670-01177-0 "I'm going to rent myself a house in the shade of the freeway I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning and go to work each day And when the evening rolls around I'll go on home and lay my body down And when the morning light comes streaming in I'll get up and do it again Amen" -- Jackson Browne, "The Pretender" "By his own admission, he relentlessly copied every good idea he could find. He would lease a building so that someone else couldn't. He raided rivals' top talent and hounded suppliers to lower their prices. He was so focused on cutting prices for customers and improving sales that he sometimes ignored other business considerations, like paying clerks well or promoting women and minorities. He shrugged off criticism that his big discount stores were destroying downtowns and demolishing local retailers in small communities. Having started as a small-town retailer himself, he saw his job as taking care of customers; other retailers could fend for themselves." The waves of various feelings that passed through me as I read MR. SAM made this biography-of-a-dead-billionaire quite an interesting experience. For part of me, there is the nostalgia factor. In 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, I was a seven year-old growing up in suburban Long Island. It was such a different world. This was back when the only news on television was the nightly news, and it often featured a lot of people being beaten for wanting Civil Rights. This was back when being raised Catholic meant not eating meat on Friday, and when you did eat meat, there was a neighborhood butcher with sawdust on the floor. Along that same row of stores on Old Country Road in Plainview was a drug store where I'd buy baseball cards and balsa gliders and Pinky balls. On Friday nights we'd ride in our family's '52 Buick down to Hicksville Road and wander through the 400 stalls at the Nassau Farmer's Market. I had no knowledge back then of Kmart or Target or Woolco, all of which also opened their first discount stores in 1962. Next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of all these openings. For part of me, there was surprise. I was prepared to feel great anger toward Sam Walton, this guy who -- just like the Founding Fathers -- didn't give much thought to equal opportunity. It sounds like getting to run a Walmart store was sort of like running for President: something you didn't consider doing back then if you weren't white, male, and Christian. (Interestingly, the first woman to finally serve on the Walmart Board of Directors was the same woman who has so far come closest to becoming the first female President.) But I didn't come away from the book hating Sam Walton. He was no more idiotic in his beliefs than my own father was, and Mr. Sam was way less horrifying than are so many people today -- male and female -- who are either running businesses or running for President. Walton didn't seem to have had any problem with his company's seeking in the mid-1990s to begin forcing its worldwide suppliers to not employ children for pennies per day or maintain unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. (Then again, by that point in time, Mr. Sam was dead.) I don't hate Sam Walton for exploiting so many people as he made billions of dollars, virtually none of which he gave away to make the world better. This guy was no Andrew Carnegie. From what I take away, Sam Walton was a self-centered schmuck and a good ol' boy. But, then again, all of us Boomers grew up knowing lots of guys who thought just like him. For part of me, there is all of the great information with which author Karen Blumenthal fills another of her outstanding nonfiction books for young people. Besides hearing about retail businesses that I haven't thought about in decades, there are wonderful page-long side pieces about the inventing of shopping carts; about Sam Walton's favorite hunting dog; and about the time Mr. Sam blew it by being just too far ahead of the curve. There are also reappearing decade-by-decade snapshots revealing the changing trends in how Americans spent their money. I also really appreciate how, in her Notes, Ms. Blumenthal cites the instances where "details may be in dispute." What is indisputable is how big this corporation has become: "Today... Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates in more than fifteen countries and employs more than two million people, including well over one million in the United States. Just about two of every three Americans will shop at one of its stores..."Its annual sales of more than $400 billion make it the largest company in America and the largest retailer in the world, ringing up more than $1.1 billion every day, almost $800,000 every single minute." Given these facts, there is plenty of reason for young people to learn about the intriguing life and times of Mr. Sam and the empire he founded. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com [email protected] Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EcolIt/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Very interesting to read how Sam Walton began his enterprising venture. I would, as others surely would, characterize him as a workaholic. He appears to have been a fairly ethical businessman. An enjoyable read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I really enjoyed Karen’s writing. She instills the perfect amount of details about Sam’s life. I will be reading more of her work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Oscar Mukumbi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this book will change the way of doing business and enable the reader to have a billion dollar mind.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lily Illias

    This book is a very insightful biography about the story of Sam Walton. The book shows all of the things, big and small, he did to better the store chain and its employees. It tells about his life, his struggles, his determination, and all of the hard work he put into the store. It does become tedious at times, but if you want to learn about Sam and Walmart then I would recommend it. It's an interesting book about an inspirational man. 4/5 stars from me. This book is a very insightful biography about the story of Sam Walton. The book shows all of the things, big and small, he did to better the store chain and its employees. It tells about his life, his struggles, his determination, and all of the hard work he put into the store. It does become tedious at times, but if you want to learn about Sam and Walmart then I would recommend it. It's an interesting book about an inspirational man. 4/5 stars from me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    In the book about Sam Walton we learn about how Sam went from rags to riches. Sam accomplished the american dream. At age 16, he was already very interesting in business. Though he started out with nothing, one by one he built stores. His first stores were the Benjamin Franklin stores but soon enough he was inspired to open a store known as Walmart. He continued opening Walmart stores on a regular basis, by taking out tremendous loans. He started by opening stores in Arkansas, but in a few short In the book about Sam Walton we learn about how Sam went from rags to riches. Sam accomplished the american dream. At age 16, he was already very interesting in business. Though he started out with nothing, one by one he built stores. His first stores were the Benjamin Franklin stores but soon enough he was inspired to open a store known as Walmart. He continued opening Walmart stores on a regular basis, by taking out tremendous loans. He started by opening stores in Arkansas, but in a few short years, he opened stores in other states. His ultimate goal was having his products at the cheapest price around. Soon enough Sam worked his way from the bottom to the top of retail stores, by even beating Kmart. As his stores grew so did his personal wealth, but he was still as "stingy" with his money as ever. If I had to rate this book I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Personally, I was very happy that the author, Karen Blumenthal, added lots of detail so we could better learn about Sam and how made it in the business world. My favorite detail is knowing that Sam was poor growing up, but he accomplished his dreams. It gives me inspiration to chase my dreams. I also really like how the author wrote the book in 3rd person omniscient that way we can get perspectives on Sam's wife and colleges during this time. It helps make the story more interesting. If I could change one thing about this book, it would be that I believe there should've been more action. The readers were just told what was happening, like storytelling, instead of the reader going through it. If I could recommend this book to a certain group of people it would be one who plans or is thinking of being an entrepreneur. I have a personal interest in becoming an entrepreneur of a restaurant one day, so I think this book opened up my perspective to all the hard work that goes into owning a business, if you want success to come out of it. This book motivated me to believe that I can do anything I set my mind on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josh B

    Karen Blumenthal’s main messages in Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Walmart and Became America's Richest Man are that even though Sam Walton’s business started as a very tiny discount store, it grew to be the biggest retail store in america. Sam Walton was born on March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. However, his first variety store was called Ben Franklin, and it was opened in Newport, Arkansas. Then eventually, Sam’s stores spread throughout America. Some other characters include Bud and Hel Karen Blumenthal’s main messages in Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Walmart and Became America's Richest Man are that even though Sam Walton’s business started as a very tiny discount store, it grew to be the biggest retail store in america. Sam Walton was born on March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. However, his first variety store was called Ben Franklin, and it was opened in Newport, Arkansas. Then eventually, Sam’s stores spread throughout America. Some other characters include Bud and Helen. Bud was Sam’s brother, and he helped him with the business. Helen was Sam’s wife. She helped Sam with finance choices such as whether or not to allow other people to buy stock in Wal Mart. This biography is about Sam Walton and how his small discount variety store grew into such a huge retailer. Sam took a $20,000 loan from his father in law to open Ben Franklin. Ben Franklin offered good deals on everyday items such as toilet paper or underpants. Then eventually Sam got the name Wal-Mart from a business partner and used it on further stores. The business grew like a wildfire selling painfully low prices to customers. I liked this book very much because I had a lot in common with Sam. We both like to compete and win. “From the time that he was very young, Sam Walton loved to compete-and to win.” All throughout school, Sam was class president, football captain, and many other leadership roles. Last year, I was part of the student body, so I cN relate to this. From reading this book, I understood more about how hard it is to run a business by yourself. From the very start, he had troubles with his company but trucked through it. A lot of people in real life have to go through this. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy any type of biography. I really enjoyed this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Edy Gies

    I read this book because I watched a TED talk that referenced Sam Walton and his tremendous fortune and found myself intrigued and wanting to learn more. This biography was in the juvenile section of our library, so I read it to see if it was something that I could recommend to my students. Although I wouldn't say it blew my mind, I did find it very interesting. There were many aspects of retail shopping that I never considered which this book discussed such as the invention of the shopping cart I read this book because I watched a TED talk that referenced Sam Walton and his tremendous fortune and found myself intrigued and wanting to learn more. This biography was in the juvenile section of our library, so I read it to see if it was something that I could recommend to my students. Although I wouldn't say it blew my mind, I did find it very interesting. There were many aspects of retail shopping that I never considered which this book discussed such as the invention of the shopping cart. Having grown up only one mile from Kmart headquarters I remember its demise very well. This book explained everything in a way that my students can relate to and understand, but it doesn't immortalize Walton without recognizing his shortcomings as well. I will be recommending it as a good non-fiction/biography read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Couillard-Smith

    A nuanced portrait of a man and a business with somewhat of a reputation, though what kind of a reputation might depend on your upbringing. Blumenthal does a fantastic job of showing the many sides of Sam Walton and his company while also framing the history of the business within a larger societal context. She even throws in a dose of economics for good measure. And it's an interesting, engaging read. Blumenthal doesn't shy away from the controversies surrounding Walmart, but nor does she demon A nuanced portrait of a man and a business with somewhat of a reputation, though what kind of a reputation might depend on your upbringing. Blumenthal does a fantastic job of showing the many sides of Sam Walton and his company while also framing the history of the business within a larger societal context. She even throws in a dose of economics for good measure. And it's an interesting, engaging read. Blumenthal doesn't shy away from the controversies surrounding Walmart, but nor does she demonize the company and its founder. This is an excellent example of a balanced and informative biography with a lot of cross-disciplinary appeal for educators.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    This is a very accurate and balanced accounting of Mr. Sam's philosophy and the history of the Walmart company. Having worked for the company during the 70's and 80's, I have a huge respect for Mr. Sam's philosophy and integrity. He seemed to truly believe the success of Walmart depended on the contributions that each associate made as much as the management of the company. Every person I ever saw him interact with was treated with respect and made to feel appreciated for their efforts. He was t This is a very accurate and balanced accounting of Mr. Sam's philosophy and the history of the Walmart company. Having worked for the company during the 70's and 80's, I have a huge respect for Mr. Sam's philosophy and integrity. He seemed to truly believe the success of Walmart depended on the contributions that each associate made as much as the management of the company. Every person I ever saw him interact with was treated with respect and made to feel appreciated for their efforts. He was truly a once in a generation leader and role model.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This biography is a great choice for budding entrepreneurs. It details the life of Sam Walton from childhood through his death in 1992 as he developed his Walmart and Sam's Club stores and became a billionaire. Back matter includes an author's note, source notes, bibliography, and index. Review: http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2011/... This biography is a great choice for budding entrepreneurs. It details the life of Sam Walton from childhood through his death in 1992 as he developed his Walmart and Sam's Club stores and became a billionaire. Back matter includes an author's note, source notes, bibliography, and index. Review: http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2011/...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I ended up with this book as a random pick from the middle grade biographies, as a candidate for my daughter's assignment. She chose to do her project on Sam Walton, and it was quite interesting to learn about him. This book is a good, balanced introduction to him: his personality, his drive, his family, and, of course, the growth of Walmart. G I ended up with this book as a random pick from the middle grade biographies, as a candidate for my daughter's assignment. She chose to do her project on Sam Walton, and it was quite interesting to learn about him. This book is a good, balanced introduction to him: his personality, his drive, his family, and, of course, the growth of Walmart. G

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sajee Jay

    awesome

  16. 5 out of 5

    aarifa

    i couldn't really give this book a good rating, but I think this author had a little too much... I dont know.... something in there. I did like some very cool facts though i couldn't really give this book a good rating, but I think this author had a little too much... I dont know.... something in there. I did like some very cool facts though

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie

    I was reading this for school and found that biographies are actually very interesting. Usually I read realistic fiction and fantasy but this change of genre was very easy to slide into.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie Moreno

    It was a very informative biography. Very entertaining!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Interesting, Sam Walton had a single purpose, was a driven man.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Gilmartin

    I bought this for my son to read, and I ended up getting sucked into it. Neat book for an introduction to business for kids. I really enjoyed reading it, and I completed it in only a few hours.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Rainwater

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  25. 5 out of 5

    Philip

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rw

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anton Balagaev

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Gornowicz

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Ivey

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