Overall, a well-written and insightful portrayl of how two very different approaches can build business empires. However, the author's account of Hershey leans toward the historical, and pales somewhat next to her dramatic ancedotal account of the Mars family. In the same token, the book provides a deeper understanding of how the Mars family thinks; the Hershey mindset is a little lacking (but which may be the point). Nevertheless, this book is great reference material for a case study as well as an exciting read.
After visiting Hershey, PA last fall and learning a little about the history of chocolate I was very interested in learning more about the industry. This book seemed to be the perfect place to start since I enjoy both Hershey and M&M/Mars chocolate. What an eye-opener! After reading the book I still felt like I had just caught a glimpse of how the chocolate empires are run but what a glimpse it was! To see two totally different approaches to product selling and corporate expansion and the results was fascinating. I now know why I can eat an entire one pound bag of M&Ms in a day (I feel so manipulated.) After I put the book down, though, I was struck by the thought that even after building chocolate empires and amassing wealth and power, at the end of their lives both Hershey and Forrest Mars, Sr. had so very little. Hershey died a lonely man in a room he rarely left and Mars died an anonymous death in Florida leaving three very messed up children to run his...
Anyone who likes candy will love this book. It is a fascinating look at the development of chocolate in the U.S. and the wars between the two giants in the business. Mr. Hershey comes across as a grandfatherly person who shows great concern for orphans. I had no idea until I read this book that he built a wonderful orphanage near his factory and provided the orphans with all that they needed and helped them achieve success in the world. Mr. Mars, on the other hand, comes across as a mean and uncaring person. Both men achieved great success in the chocolate business, but their lives ended in loneliness, showing that material success does not necessarily bring happiness. Included in the book are short discussions of other candy companies and their products. The author was able to penetrate a lot of the secrecy that surrounded Mr. Hershey, Mr. Mars, and their factories and business practices. Brenner is an ace reporter.
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