Built from Scratch
A review of

Built from Scratch

How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion

Two Good Guys Succeed

by David Meyer

Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, co-founders of The Home Depot, tell their tale of starting with an idea and building an empire by offering business advice and sound moral modeling.

Before The Home Depot existed, if you planned a do-it-yourself project – say, to install a new kitchen – you had to visit several stores to find the requisite tools and materials. Now, you can buy it all at big-box retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Home Depot’s founders Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus – writing with Bob Andelman – relate the DIY chain store’s history and outline its determination to deliver top customer service, quality merchandise and reasonable prices. Many of its salespeople are master plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other craftsmen, and the stores offer classes, gardening help, and more. The founders offer an informed and fond insider’s take on the big-box that revolutionized retail.

I ascended the ladder of success…by learning how important the folks are with whom you surround yourself. I loved teaching people the business. Why have I been successful my whole life? Because I surrounded myself with people who are better than I am.Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus

Marcus, founding CEO and chairman, and Blank, founding president, provide some guidance for retailers, but the core of their tale is the saga of two guys who liked working together and hit it big with imagination and diligence. They basically just share the adventures, feuds, triumphs and setbacks that amused them most. Surprisingly, their corporate history proves entertaining and even endearing. Marcus and Blank portray themselves as good guys who weren’t afraid to be tough when they had to be – and that’s how they come off.

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