Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Emperors of Chocolate

Title: The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars
Author: Joel Glenn Brenner
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 366
Date Finished: 5 Feb 2009
My Rating: 4 Stars
Challenges: Library, New Author, Decades
, 100+

I'll never look at chocolate the same again.
This book was a surprisingly fascinating read. I kept reading out loud or telling my husband about what I was reading because it was all just so interesting and I wanted to share.
I knew the history of Milton Hershey and the Utopian community he tried to create as well as the orphanage he started. What I did not know was how the company he started was managed or mismanaged, as the case may be, after his death. In my opinion, it is nothing short of a miracle that the company survived and is still around and a major confectioner today. For decades after his death the company was run on antiquated business ideas and machinery and the salesmen could hardly be called salesmen as they did very little selling.
What I knew nothing at all about was the Mars family. In fact, before reading this book I could not have told you whether it was a family business or not, and the people at Mars would really prefer it stay that way. The family is extremely private and low key and does all they can not to bring attention to themselves. Forrest Mars Sr. who started the Mars empire that exists today was pretty much the polar opposite of his rival Milton Hershey. Mars was very eccentric and demanding and just not a nice guy in general. He built a well oiled machine of a company and despite his craziness created a business plan that has made his company what it is today.
The information was fascinating but also a bit repetitive at times with a lot of back in forth in time. Ten years old now, the book is a bit out dated and I would love an updated version because a lot has happened in the candy world in the last decade. I guess that is a problem with a lot of non-fiction, facts and information become outdated as soon as a book is published.
Absolutely fascinating. I recommend this book to anyone!


Shelley said...

This sounds great. I love reading about food and food companies!

Alyce said...

You had my complete attention when I saw the title! :) It looks like it would be fascinating, and I would be curious about what has changed in the last decade too. Great review!

Charlotte said...

I got and read this book when I saw it on your goodreads. It really was great. Although I have been on a chocolate kick ever since reading it.