By Neville Isdell, David Beasley
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 254 pages
Although Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Popular Brand contains some engaging stories, its lack of focus makes it a difficult book to enjoy. Neville Isdell appears, in every respect, to be a principled self-made man who has achieved his financial and corporate success through hard work and innovation. Having worked to popularize Coca-Cola in more than half a dozen countries and served as the company’s CEO, Neville undoubtedly has some exceptional insight into corporate marketing and management. Unfortunately, the book about his life is such a poorly organized jumble, it not only fails to impart whatever wisdom Neville wanted to share, but becomes increasingly difficult to finish.
The anecdotes that have a distinct focus, like those dealing directly with Neville’s roll in Coca-Cola’s global expansion or the political instability of the countries where he was operating, are very engaging. Unfortunately, these stories are usually interrupted several times by random recollections of servants, dinner parties, vacations, and who disliked who in the corporate hierarchy. In context, these details might have added to the story, but scattered as they are, they only confuse and impede what should be a good book.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Goss