BOOK REVIEW - Part 1
IDEAS THAT BECAME BIG BUSINESS
(Founders, Inc. 1959)
Read Part 2 of the Book Review
Buy this book:
Became Big Business
Ideas That Became Big Business is an out-of-print
book containing a collection of 206 stories, or corporate
biographies, of hugely successful companies that played (and
continue to do so today) an
important part in the American economy.
Most of the stories are about large publicly-owned and
family owned corporations. The common thread between all of
the companies is that they were all started with an idea—in
some cases an invention, in others, perhaps a more effective
way of producing something.
”Each story starts with an idea born in the mind of a man.
Each describes the difficulties and the obstacles to making
the idea work. Each is living proof of the importance of
ideas and of man’s ingenuity and pertinacity in working
towards his goals.”
Industries of all types are represented. Food, consumer
products for the home, industrial and manufacturing
products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, transportation and
communication are just some of the industries included.
Familiar names abound: Anchor Hocking Glass Corp., Birdseye
Frosted Foods, The Brunswick-Balke-Coll. Co., Commercial
Solvents Corp., Eastern Air Lines, The Great Atlantic &
Pacific Tea Company, Handy & Harmon, Heywood-Wakefield
Company, Iron Fireman Mfg. Co., National Biscuit Company,
Remington Arms Company, Scott Paper Company, Singer Sewing
Machine Co., The Timken Roller Bearing Co., Venus Pen and
Pencil Corp., Western Printing & Litho. Co.
Each story is approximately two pages in length. There are
no illustrations. In many cases, the end of the story
contains a small bit of company financial, production or
sales information that was current at the time of
Although the information in the book is somewhat dated in
terms of current financial status and ownership, the content
is still compelling and useful for a couple of reasons.
(1) Most of the brands still exist today, although they may
now be small parts of larger, multi-national
mega-corporations as a result of continued corporate mergers
and acquisitions. That fact is one of the things that
make this book interesting.
Today, most companies and corporations have a company
history of some type on their website. Some of them provide
many details while others have a scant few. In many cases,
the stories in this book provide additional insight and
information not readily found otherwise.
(2) The book is a good source of inspiration for
professionals, students and even individuals. In today’s
fast-paced, product and service-overloaded society, it’s
hard to believe that there’s anything left that hasn’t been
thought of already.
There are still new products and services being
developed every day that are based on simple ideas. Two of
these that come to mind immediately are eBay’s online
auctions and the electronic payment services offered by
Paypal. There is no doubt that these two services have
changed people’s lives and the way that business is done
This book might still be found in your local library, but if
not, or should you prefer to purchase your own copy, two
possible sources are here and
More about this book: See a list of the company
stories that are found inside this book and excerpt
biographies in Part 2.