Bill Marriott

Success Is Never Final--His Life and the Decisions That Built a Hotel Empire

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Pub Date 03 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 17 Sep 2019

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Bill Marriott, son of J. Williard Marriott who opened a root-beer stand that grew into the Hot Shoppes Restaurant chain and evolved into the Marriott hotel company, grew up in the family business. In his more than fifty years at the company’s helm, Bill Marriott was the driving force behind growing Marriott into the world’s largest global hotel chain. His vision and leadership expanded the family business to more than 6,500 properties across 127 countries and territories.

Bill Marriott: Success Is Never Final gives readers an intimate portrait of the life of a billionaire and business titan and shares his definition of success. Bill shares details about his very structured childhood including the private struggles with his domineering father’s chronic harsh criticism; his time in the United Sates Navy as an officer aboard the U.S.S. Randolph; how he innovated the hotel industry with resort-like facilities; his dogged courtship with Donna, who would eventually say yes to his marriage proposal over a pay phone; and the boundless passion and energy he demonstrated for his work, family, and faith. Bill also shares spiritual experiences that allowed him to recognize God’s guidance in his personal life, helping him bounce back from a life-threatening explosion in a freak boating accident which caused severe burns over his body.

Readers will learn the fascinating details about the successes and failures of Bill’s business ventures and relate to his challenges of balancing roles as a CEO, a husband and father, and a man of faith. From his half-billion-dollar venture and “bet-the-farm” move to build the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, to the heartbreaking loss of an adult son whose body slowly degenerated from Mitochondrial Disease, to the billions of dollars donated to medical research, the biography of Bill Marriott tells the remarkable story of a man who had the vision to create a multi-billion dollar business, who understood the power of giving, and lived the creed that hard work will pay off but success is never final.

Bill Marriott, son of J. Williard Marriott who opened a root-beer stand that grew into the Hot Shoppes Restaurant chain and evolved into the Marriott hotel company, grew up in the family business. In...

Advance Praise

"This book confirms what I have seen firsthand: even more remarkable than Bill Marriott's record of leading a business from 1 to 7,000 hotels, creating the largest hospitality company in the world, is the character he has imbued among its hundreds of thousands of managers and associates. Remarkably, Marriott International reflects the qualities of the man."-Mitt Romney, United States Senator

"One cannot know without reading Success is Never Final, the stress, the strain, the struggle, the drive and dedication that took a family name and made it an iconic American brand, a name recognized and respected in every corner of Earth. Their story, really, is a generational saga of a family, and of teams of dedicated employees, all tightly tethered to the best of values, and who together grew a root beer stand business into the largest hotelier in the world. Their story is an American enterprise classic."-Gordon H. Smith, CEO National Association of Broadcasters

"This book confirms what I have seen firsthand: even more remarkable than Bill Marriott's record of leading a business from 1 to 7,000 hotels, creating the largest hospitality company in the world...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781629726007
PRICE $29.99 (USD)

Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

I was delighted to read a pre-release copy of the well-known journalist Dale Van Atta's book on J. Willard Marriott, Jr titled, "Bill Marriott: Success Is Never Final" thanks to NetGalley. #BillMarriottSuccessIsNeverFinal. This is being published by Shadow Mountain Publishing and is scheduled to be released in September 2019. You can pre-order it on Amazon.

All of us have images of the quintessential American tycoon from stories we have read or what we have seen on television. In this book, the author gives us an intimate and in depth view of what it is to be born in a family of a leading American businessman of his times. J. Willard Marriott, a first generation entrepreneur, was the founder of the Marriott group of enterprises, and a pioneer in many senses. Like the children of every super star, be it in business, in sport or in the movies, J. Willard Marriott, Jr ( the subject of this book) had to face the crushing burden of family and society's expectations of him. Their relationship was often stormy leading to severe stress the son faced at the hands of a domineering father. It is of immense credit to Bill Marriott, now aged 87, that he grew the business empire he inherited from this father multifold to what it have become today. The Marriott International chain is the largest hotel chain in the world by far with 7000 properties in 130 countries with 176,000 employees all over the globe. It had revenues of $ 20.75 billion in 2018 with net income of $ 1.5 billion.

More than just the story of his business successes, the book throws light on the personal characteristics that made Bill Marriott so successful. He lives a life following a set of sound values, many inherited from his parents. Of course, there were differences too, some very significant. The senior Marriott was a product of his times. He had seen the miseries brought about by the Great Depression of the 1930s at close quarters. This led him to shun debt of any kind. The younger Marriott realized that debt in itself was not evil. On the contrary one could leverage the debts depending on the rates of interest and the business opportunities open elsewhere to make investments. He had a flair for innovation and took what his father felt were too many risks that could be avoided. To young Marriott's credit, most of the business decisions he took were the right ones.

The book also tells us of the Marriott family's upbringing in the Mormon faith with their own values, traditions and cultural practices. Throughout his career Bill Marriott,  even as he had major business responsibilities, never hesitated to play a leading role in church activities. He believes his steadfastness to his religion helped him overcome health issues on many occasions. These include a dramatic fire accident which could have killed him in 1985 only a few weeks after the death of his father.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and found it quote absorbing. I would recommend it to those who wish to gain insight to how Marriott grew his business to its present position of eminence in the world of hospitality. It also underscores how Marriott consistently made profits while displaying the highest standards of customer service and integrity.

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I am a sucker for stories about hard work and determination helping others reach their dreams. The story of Bill Marriott is just this. One thing I really liked about this story however that truly set this apart was they showed what obstacles Bill had to overcome to get where he was. This showed me that life for the Marriott's was far from easy it took determination and willpower to overcome and keep pushing towards his goals.

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Marriott hotels are so ubiquitous, so who wouldnt want to know about their story. Humble beginnings and the peddling story , the initial experiences at the food shop and how from a hungry airport goer, the business was extended into selling food to airlines, great growth story, The family background and especially the story of the ancestor who worked on the ship when she ran out of money goes a long way to show how the endless world unfolds for a person who will make ends no matter what. I recognised a piece of this go-getter in the Goldman stories. Great gift for undergrads who can see how a person can start an empire.

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I found this a really inspiring and interesting read with plenty to learn throughout for entrepreneurs, a must read!

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