We’re proud to announce the publication of two corporate histories — both from Canadian success stories. The first is Frontier Vision: The Rebirth of the North West Company. The North West Company began as a fur-trading business, founded by 18th-century Europeans “of a different sort,” writes Charles Foran in the book’s introduction. In the face of a ban on issuing licenses for trading furs, a group of free traders established an agreement with the governor of Quebec and, as a collective, grew to be a formidable rival to the behemoth Hudsons Bay Company.
The two fur-trading giants fought for western Canada and the competition was so intense, the companies were eventually forced to merge. The North West Company vanished in 1821, but the spirit of the Nor’Westers was very much alive in Canada’s North for the next 166 years — the HBC northern stores was a network of more than 200 small shops serving remote, still barely accessible communities mapped by legendary Nor’Westers Samuel Hearne and Alexander Mackenzie. “In these often modest stores and harsh circumstances… people gathered, as they had done at those vanished trading posts, to exchange goods, news and gossip.”
Those stores fell away in the 1950s, but the northern store network was revived in the 1980s by a passionate and intensely entrepreneurial group of businessmen. In 2012, they celebrated their 25 years of success, with outlets not only in Canada’s north, but also Alaska and tropical locales.
Faced with logistical and cultural obstacles, the North West Company has mastered doing business in challenging environments — and thrived.
We loved learning about the intrepid growth of this company over the last quarter-century, and discovering stunning scenes of the North. Congratulations, North West Company, on a timeless corporate history.
Our other recently published book, Don’t Listen To Everyone With An Opinion: 20 Lessons over 20 Years of Investing by money-managing wiz Wayne Deans, could not be more different — but it’s every bit as satisfying to read. With this brash, colourful and smart-as-hell book, Deans Knight is commemorating its first 20 years. In Wayne’s inimitable voice, this book delivers 20 tips for working with money managers and how to navigate investing.
John Hagg, co-founder of Canadian Northstar Corporation, said, “The reader is getting insight, information and a funny, candid take on the world of investment. It’s like a drink of cool, clear water on a very hot day — refreshing, and when you are done you can see to the bottom.”
Our designer extraordinaire, Cathy, gave the book a bold and irreverent design treatment, too. You definitely haven’t seen an Echo Memoirs book like this yet.
And to top off an extraordinary experience of working with Wayne, the book was launched last week at a local restaurant. Guests were treated to a conversation between Bon Mot Book Club’s Leah Costello and Wayne, and donations for the complimentary books were forwarded to the BC SPCA.(More details on the party were covered in raconteur Malcolm Parry’s column for the Vancouver Sun!) Bravo, Wayne.