Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mr. Selfridge's Romance of Commerce by Harry Gordon Selfridge

A captivating look inside the heart and mind of Harry Selfridge!Founder of one of the greatest department stores in the world, Harry Gordon Selfridge reopens his doors--and extravagant life--in this updated edition of his classic work. From his striking window displays during the holidays to his glittering love affairs with the most beautiful women in Europe, this book reveals the secrets behind his success as a tycoon. Filled with revolutionary thoughts about business, leadership, and society, Selfridge will inspire you with powerful aphorisms like: People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.The customer is always right. With "Mr. Selfridge's Romance of Commerce," you will uncover the innovative ideas that helped launch London's most iconic department store and that changed the lives of women and businessmen everywhere. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review 
You know the saying, "The customer is always right," which you either love or hate to hear depending on if you're the seller or the buyer at that point? You can (possibly) thank Harry Gordon Selfridge for that. And also, "Only ____ shopping days until Christmas." I never stopped to think about how the latter phrase came into existence, but now I know -- and so do you :)

Harry Gordon Selfridge worked at Marshall Field in Chicago as a young man around the turn of the century and was inspired to start his own department store in London after taking a trip there in 1909. He realized this dream not much later, and Selfridges had a library, a salon, and a smoking room. It was known for its massive displays and had the first demonstration of public television.

The Romance of Commerce was published in 1918 and you can actually read the e-book for free. This review is of the abridged 144-page version that publishes in September 2013. While this book wasn't really for me, I can definitely see it being recommended reading for any businessman or businesswoman working in retail. I appreciated how Selfridge started the book by giving examples to show how he thought everyone, at some point, has been a merchant. This leads into his discussion of different tips and observations that I am sure form the cornerstone of how many businesses operate today.

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