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Giving it All Away...And Getting it Back Again

I had heard parts of David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, but this book, written by David Green and Bill High, brought it all together and provided insight into the reasoning and thought process behind Greens actions.

Two things stood out to me. The first is the disruptive and fragmentary results of most estate planning done today. Typically, founders of successful companies are advised to divide up shares amongst family members, create complex trusts and various entities for tax reasons. Initially, Green took this route, but he felt unsettled by it and eventually saw how this did not encourage family cohesiveness and did not accomplish his objectives. So, he unwound these tools and took a totally different tract better aligned with the mission of the company, which he describes in the book.

The other thing that impressed me is what he said about employee wages and benefits. He wanted to raise wages for a long time, but was reluctant due to the pressure of corporate debt. But, over a four year period they raised wages from under $10 per hour to $13 per hour, ultimately adding over $30 million to payroll. Yet, it never reduced profits. Why? Moral increased. They were able to hire and retain better employees. He said he learned he could not afford low pay help.

There is a ton of good insight in this book on ethics, vision, generosity, family, work, business and more.