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Sam Walton's biography is one of the best business books I've ever read: http://amazon.com/Sam-Walton-Made-In-America/dp/0553562835

What's really instructive about his story is that he started his first retail store when he was in his mid-late 20s, sold that and earned his first stripes in his early 30s. And it wouldn't be a decade later until he started Walmart in his early 40s.

Walmart was a culmination of several decades of Walton's life that he dedicated to mastering, and dominating, retail.

One of the greatest(meaning influential) deals in the 2nd half of the 20th century, in my opinion, was Walmart's acquisition of Big K


I do not understand. When you write, "earned his stripes," what exactly do you mean?

It's a military reference. Sergeants (I think) have a striped insignia, and it would mean a bump in rank (experience, knowledge, skill).

Edit: Not to say he was in the military, it's a metaphor for how Walton gained experience and 'rank' in retail.

Incidentally, he did serve in the military. :)

That was his first success as an entrpreneur, selling a Ben Franklin franchise store - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Walton#The_first_stores

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