The Boots That Made a Legend
Rare is the American outdoors lover who does not have a pair of L.L. Bean’s rubber-bottomed, leather-topped shoes or boots. The boots were a eureka moment for Maine woodsman Leon Leonwood Bean. Legend has it that 90 of the first 100 pairs were returned. Bean’s business sense (and sense of honesty) had him return the buyers’ money and continue to improve his product, now the world standard. L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon (Harvard Business School Press, $26.95) was written by Bean’s grandson, Leon Gorman, current chairman and former president of this iconic American company. There is a lot to be learned here about running a company, and the importance of never forgetting your customers’ needs.