(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The history of Xerox begins with Chester Carlson, who invented xerography, and Joe Wilson, president of the Haloid Company, which funded Carlson’s research. Surprisingly, Carlson was never on the Xerox payroll but worked only as a consultant.

When Wilson died suddenly in 1971, an index card was found in his wallet which summarized his goals in life. It said, in part, that he sought “to be a whole man . . . through leadership of a business which brings happiness to its workers, serves well its customers and brings prosperity to its owners.” The hopes and ideals of Wilson still exist in Xerox today, where there is a strong drive to be what the Japanese call dantotsuh: unchallenged, brilliant, the best of the best. David Kearns, the present chief executive officer of Xerox, emphasizes that to be the best of the best in the copier industry means that employees must make high quality and responsiveness to customers’ needs their top priorities.

Authors Gary Jacobson and John Hillkirk provide a number of case studies--which may well turn up in assignments at countless business schools. Interviews with former CEO C. Peter McColough and with David Kearns are particularly interesting.

Although this is not an authorized account, it is clear that Xerox is proud of their story. The authors show how an American company met the challenge of internal and foreign competition, and the lesson is clear: Let Xerox be an example to other American companies.