Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947) was an American born merchant who built Selfridge’s, a London department store, which opened in 1909. Using his 25 years of experience at Chicago’s Marshall Field and Co., Selfridge initiated the use of American innovations and methods of business in his London store. These articles reflect how Selfridge was viewed by the press in the U.S. and London along with how he was seen by his fellow merchants and tradesmen during the years his store was built and thrived. There are also a number of sections in Selfridge’s own words. He loved publicity and was very interested in the ideas of his competitors, employees, and how business was done in other countries. This collection contains articles and excerpts from newspapers, books, magazines, and trade publications published from 1890-1922. Harry Gordon Selfridge and his store were the basis of the PBS Masterpiece Classic series, “Mr. Selfridge".
Public Domain (P)2014 Lee Ann Howlett
Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the editor/narrator in return for an honest review
This fascinating book follows H.G. Selfridge's ascent from a low-level Marshall Fields employee in Chicago, to managing partner, to owner of Selfridges Department Stores in the U.K. While the establishment of Selfridges Department Store was heralded by at least one U.K. newspaper as "The American Invasion," Selfridge sought to ensure that his store never misled customers in order to make a sale and helped lead the way for equal employment by hiring women when men were called to serve in World War I and then pronouncing that, in many cases, women performed the jobs even more effectively than their male predecessors.
I was originally interested in this book because I find Mr. Selfridge a compelling character. However, as I listened, I realized this compilation of articles provides a unique and educational history of business in the early 1900s, and that H. G. Selfridge was as much an innovator in the world of business as Google is today. This isn't a long audiobook but is a fascinating peek into business and historical events that helped shape modern retailing and advertising. Highly recommended.
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