BOOKS: The book that shook

BOOKS: The book that shook - I read only on holiday. I pack the books I got at Christmas and top up at the airport.

by JOHN TIMPSON, the chairman and chief executive of Timpson Ltd
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I read only on holiday. I pack the books I got at Christmas and top up at the airport.

Most business books are boring - either written by academics who haven't been there and done it, or by someone who has been there and wants to brag about it. I read on in the hope that the next book will make a difference - because once one did.

I remember the time and place where I read about one of the US's top retailers in The Nordstrom Way by Robert Spector.

Its management chart has changed our company. From the book, I learned the secret of customer service. We copied their structure (I call it 'upside-down management') and now display the following notice in every branch: 'The staff in this shop have my authority to do whatever they believe will best give customers an amazing service.'

I read it again last week and every few pages I wrote more ideas in my notepad.

It's a book about real business that works. It has made a difference to us, but you don't have to be a retailer to learn from The Nordstrom Way. Read it!

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