This book is a cross between college text, motivational epic, and company history, written by the former vice chairman and COO of Wal-Mart. First, Soderquist spells out 12 reasons behind the success of Wal-Mart, from the vision of Sam Walton to the vowed commitment to neighborhoods and communities. Every rule is explained in detail, from^B stories of Soderquist's own career in the retail giant to tales of real-life associates who have made it up the ladder. Plus, each chapter ends with a handful of questions for reflection and action; for example, how comfortable are you with change? Are you committed to growth? Sidebars explore salient quotes from the likes of Ben Franklin and Warren Buffet and feature little-known facts and figures about Fortune magazine's number-one multinational corporation. Problem is, it's written with a promotional twist and "we're the best" attitude that's sometimes hard to believe in light of recent Wal-Mart headlines. Appended are listings of "The Wal-Mart Way" principles and recommended reading and a perspective on external criticism of Wal-Mart.
Since Sam Walton's death in 1992, Wal-Mart has gone from being the largest retailer in the world to holding the top spot on the Fortune 500 list as the largest company in the world. Donald G. Soderquist, who was senior vice chairman during that time, played a crucial role in that success. Sam Walton said, "I tried for almost twenty years to hire Don Soderquist . . . But when we really needed him later on, he finally joined up and made a great chief operating officer." Responsible for overseeing many of Wal-Mart's key support divisions, including real estate, human resources, information systems, logistics, legal, corporate affairs, and loss prevention, Soderquist stayed true to his Christian values as well as Wal-Mart's distinct management style. "Probably no other Wal-Mart executive since the legendary Sam Walton has come to embody the principles of the company's culture—or to represent them within the industry—as has Don Soderquist," Discount Store News once reported.
In Sam's Choice, Soderquist shares his story of helping lead a global company from being a $43 billion company to one that would eventually exceed $200 billion. Several books have been written about Wal-Mart's success, but none by the ones who were the actual players. It was more than "Everyday Low Prices" and distribution that catapulted the company to the top. The core values based on Judeo-Christian principles—and maintained by leaders such as Soderquist—are the real reason for Wal-Mart's success.