'Hearing grasshoppers jump' - or keeping one's ear so close to the ground that one can detect the slightest movement - is one of the nuggets of practical wisdom that have guided Raymond Ackerman throughout his life and career. As this lively and immensely readable story makes clear, he is a man of enormous energy and passion, often in the public spotlight, always on the move, yet at the same time a private, reflective person, who has kept a detailed daily diary for most of his life and who takes the time to listen, to keep his ear to the ground and so seize the opportunities when they present themselves. And what opportunities they have been.
Raymond Ackerman, South Africa's most successful retailer, was born with retailing in his blood. His father, Gus, built up the Ackermans chain into a household name with great flair and determination. Raymond Ackerman himself made his mark early as the innovative head of the Checkers food chain, until that fateful day in 1966 when he was summarily dismissed by the old-guard management - a dismissal that has been described as 'the single greatest error in South African business'. It was also the beginning of Raymond Ackerman's greatest triumph, for that push led to the growth of the national Pick 'n Pay chain and to a story of phenomenal success.
This book is a personal account of a man whose private passions and values have animated a company and whose life has been so much more than mere business. Not everyone may agree with some of his stands or positions but no one can fail to appreciate the frankness and liveliness of his down-to-earth story or fail to be won over by his passionate, positive engagement with his country and with life
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