People before Profit – Ken Koopman

People Before Profit by Ken Koopman
People Before Profit by Ken Koopman

Here we are, a book I haven’t had to read for uni! So excited!

If you’re gluten free you’ll have probably heard of Bob’s Red Mill, this company makes good gluten free flour as well as many other products. This is the story of the founder, Bob Moore. It has the ups and the downs as well as everything in between.

It’s not a business book and it’s not really about the business but then again it’s not really a biography. Why do I say that?

With every book of this type you first of all sit down and figure out what you want. Do you want a biography of a man with details of his family? Do you want a book about the business? Do you want a book about business that people can use as a blueprint to create their own business or to help them build their company to greater heights? And the question I ask of myself, what do I want from this book?

I feel these questions were never answered properly. I’ve read biographies and there are far more details of the family. I’ve read business books and noticed many more details of the nitty gritty. And I’ve read books about business and found much more about the workings of the business.

What I found here is a mishmash. It’s a little of everything with very little of his family. Somewhat of his grandfather and father, with a little of his sons but not much of his wife despite us being told he discusses every big decision with her. We see photos of her and we see her taking his decisions on board and just getting on with the task of raising the kids, or moving house away from the place she’d set up as a home…actually we don’t see any of those things as there are no details, only the odd sentence where we’re told she did what was necessary.

Having panned this tome I have to say I did enjoy it. It’s nicely written with reasonable sentence structure and a good turn of the dramatic. So often we see the three things that made Bob Moore what he is today, a successful business man. Those three things are tenacity, a penchant for hard work, and being in the right place at the right time to see the exact building needed.

He does have an inspiring story and he really seems to be a nice man. He’s generous with his money and really looks after his staff. When one of his buildings burned down he kept going because of his staff. When he turned 81 in 2010 he turned the company over to his staff, his sons were already in successful businesses of their own so they didn’t need the money.

I’ve actually met Moore and hope to meet him again this year. He was at the Gluten Free Expo in Melbourne handing out free copies of this book. At the age of 85 he made the flight from his home in Milwaukie to Melbourne, a rather long trip just to stand and sign his book to give away. It just shows the dedication he’s put in through his life. It also occurred to me that meant Koopman wouldn’t get the profits from sales of the book as Moore is giving them away but I’m prepared to bet he paid full price for them.