Sunday, March 30, 2014

Simply Rich by Rich DeVos

DeVos writes that this book is not a complete autobiography. He concentrates on the experiences that have most shaped him, been the most memorable, and taught him valuable life lessons. The principle in his life that rises above all others, he writes, is “People who achieve the highest levels of success … are those who place their focus on other people rather than themselves.” (xii)

He gives credit to his Dutch heritage for many of his positive traits. He tells of his friendship with Jay Van Andel, their starting Wolverine Air Service, a restaurant, selling the air service and buying a sailboat (it sank), traveling in South America, forming a wooden toy company, and getting involved in Nutrilite. When issues developed with Nutrilite they decided to start their own multilevel marketing company, the American Way Association. They added an all purpose cleaner, then more home care products. Needing to control quality they became manufacturers as well. Amway had been born and flourished.

Multilevel marketing was still a new concept. Devos and Van Andel developed a commission system that would go down the line to as many people as were sponsored. That Sales Plan became a model for legitimate direct-selling businesses. The concept was not always well understood and DeVos writes of problems with the FTC and Revenue Canada.

DeVos began speaking about the “why,” why building business was important to America. He used the Carnegie method and developed his “Selling America”speech. He writes of buying the Orlando Magic in 1991, working to revitalize downtown Grand Rapids, having a heart transplant at age seventy-one (seventeen years ago), then fulfilling his dream of owning a large sailboat and sailing the world.

DeVos is very open and clear about his Christianity and trusting in Jesus for his salvation. He is also open about his patriotism and involvement in politics. His focus has always been helping other people to have better and richer lives, including always setting aside 10% of their income to give away

This is a well written and open account of DeVos' life, business, family and faith. It is an encouragement to anyone wanting to better themselves, being reminded that concentrating on helping others is the key to success.

Rich DeVos is an American businessman, co-founder of Amway, and owner of the NBA's Orlando Magic. DeVos served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II. He and his wife of over sixty years have four children, sixteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They spend their time between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Vero Beach, Florida.

Howard Books, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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