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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A memoir like no other

Huge thanks to Dani, our sales assistant for reading and reviewing Isadore Sharp's new book for us!

In Isadore Sharp’s memoir, The Story of a Business Philosophy, the chairman and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts shares the compelling story of his astonishing rise out of the Toronto ghettos to becoming founder of the largest group of five-star hotels in the world. This is the story of his life and his work, and as Sharp reminisces and provides his readers with impeccable details of the history of his company, we come to understand the foundation for his success. Born to Polish-Jewish immigrants, Sharp acquired a degree in architecture and planted roots in his father’s small construction business, which allowed him to absorb many business insights and values. It is incredible to learn how this man was able to create the world’s most admired, respected and successful hotel chain. Sharp does an incredible job of transpiring his wishes for his readers to take with them. In his book, he quotes an old Japanese proverb, “If they work for you, you work for them.” It is this absolute commitment to developing and rewarding excellent employees, that he is able to maintain and expand his impressive company. This is a compelling story of an entrepreneur and his passion for service.

While many business-oriented books often appear trite and redundant, Isadore Sharps business philosophy is fresh, relatable, and synonymous with his personal philosophy; treating others as you wish to be treated. Sharp has implemented this value, with no exceptions, into his staff, business associates, and overall culture, which has resonated throughout the 78 luxury hotels and resorts around the world, and has ultimately led to his tremendous success.

Throughout the book, Sharp makes it quite clear that his primary focus has always been on service above all else, never allowing himself to lose focus on the unparalleled service which has given his company such a competitive edge. Although Sharp engages his readers in his description of his savvy business, he makes certain that his readers understand the true fuel behind the Four Seasons fire; the people. Sharp is continuously singing the praises of the countless people involved at every stage, and humbly admits that he would be nowhere without them. With the turn of every page of this captivating memoir, we grow fonder of Isadore Sharp. This is a man who signifies class, compassion, and is a quintessential leader of his time.

Morgan Freeman calls the book “an inspiring story”, claiming that he finally understands how the Four Seasons is a place where “the weight of the world lifts from your shoulders as soon as you walk in the door.”

Isadore Sharp has animated and applied the Golden Rule as business principle. This book will no doubt become a mandatory manual for hospitality professionals everywhere; but leaders of any business that has employees and competitors would be seriously remiss to miss out on Sharp's lovingly written memoir chronicling how he built the world's most innovative and beloved collection of luxury hotels. How uplifting it is to see how a philosophy built on so much common sense so directly leads to such uncommon success.

Pick it up if you have a chance, and enjoy the read!

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