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Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.


Saluki
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Sometimes I do a "deep dive" into an industry and read several books on it (I've read about 15 on the oil industry, including a couple of textbooks). I've read two books so far on the candy industry, this is the better of the two and a really fun read.

 

I read "The Chocolate Wars", written by one of the Cadbury heirs first.  It was an interesting story about the birth of the Chocolate industry, but focused mostly on England and the Cabdbury and Rowntree families.  And the strange link between the early chocolatiers and religion (most of the big names in chocolate, except for Mars, were deeply religious and some saw chocolate drinks as a way to keep people from drinking alcohol).

 

Emperors of Chocolate focuses mostly on Hershey (a wonderful man who donated his fortune to the orphanage) and the fascinating and secretive Mars clan.  How secretive is the Mars clan?  When the founder, Forrest Mars Sr died, not only did they not tell people about it, when reporters called the headquarters, they wouldn't even confirm that he had ever worked there.   

 

There are no great business insights in this book, but it is remarkably well researched and well written. I thought I would gain some insight into Berkshire's purchase of See's candy by reading up on the chocolate industry, but it's not that kind of book. Still, very interesting and a short read. 

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