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#184 Isadore Sharp (Four Seasons)
June 6th, 2021 | E184

What I learned from reading Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp.


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[0:01] When I built my first hotel I knew nothing about the hotel business. 

[4:28] He refused to settle for the pragmatic dictum of maturity. Issy also skipped skepticism and "Let's be sensible." People said he was naïve, with a kind of glandular optimism. Perhaps. But as it turned out naïveté served him well. 

[6:32] Early on he made some audacious statements that sounded like pipe dreams. He told me once that his aim was to make the name Four Seasons a worldwide brand, synonymous with luxury, like Rolls-Royce.

[8:39]Once, when Dad was excavating a basement with horse and plough, he broke his shoulder. But he shrugged it off and uncomplainingly kept on working, something I never forgot. 

[26:52] I decided to go ahead. I foresaw only one difficulty, but it loomed large: How do you build a two-hundred-room resort without any money? This was literal fact. My earnings barely covered my rising family costs. 

[35:23] I asked Sir Gerald Glover, "How do you keep your lawn so perfect?"  “No problem”, he replied. “You just cut it every week for three hundred years.” 

[43:48] I owe my success to my freedom. I think for me independence has an incalculable value. 

[44:44] All business proceeds on belief: Trying to run a company without a set of beliefs is like trying to steer a ship without a rudder. 

[56:03] The experience made me realize what I would really like to do: create a group of the best hotels in the world. And what we really want to do is usually what we do best.

[56:51] We will not be all things to all people. We will specialize. 


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