Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Culture of Guinness

Here are some facts worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records:

  • Arthur Guinness founded the first Sunday schools in Ireland, fought against dueling, and chaired the board of a hospital for the poor

  • Henry Grattan Guinness, grandson of brewery founder Arthur Guinness, was a Christian leader of such impact that he was ranked with Dwight L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon in his day. He has been called the Billy Graham of the nineteenth century

  • In the 1890s, Rupert Guinness, future head of the brewery, received five million pounds from his father on his wedding day. Shortly after, he moved into a house in the slums and launched a series of programs that served the poor

  • A Guinness chief medical officer, Dr. John Lumsden, personally visited thousands of Dublin homes in 1900 and used what he learned to help the company fight disease, squalor, and ignorance

  • During World War I, Guinness guaranteed all of its employees who served in uniform that their jobs would be waiting for them when they came home. Guinness also paid half salaries to the family of each man who served

  • A Guinness worker during the 1920s enjoyed full medical and dental care, massage services, reading rooms, subsidized meals, a company-funded pension, educational benefits, sports facilities, free concerts, lectures and entertainment, and a guaranteed two pints of Guinness beer a day

If you are seeing some intriguing stories there, then you need to read Stephen Mansfield’s “The Search for God and Guinness” to get the full background on the wonderful story of the Guinness legacy – not just the beer, but just as importantly, the family, philanthropy, and vibrant faith that founder Arthur Guinness instilled in the company that lives on even today.

Guinness is one of the most successful brands of beer in the world today. Guinness is brewed at one of the largest breweries in the world, and consumed at a rate of more than 10 million pints every day.

But the book isn’t just about the beer – as a matter of fact, it’s probably the least important part of the book. “God and Guinness” is really about the Guinness family legacy and culture. It is the Guinness culture that for nearly two centuries changed the lives of Guinness workers, transformed poverty in Dublin, and inspired other companies to understand that care for their employees was their most important work. It was the Guinness culture of faith and kindness and generosity that moved men to seek out ways to serve their fellow men.

Just like all the ingredients going into a pint of Guinness are distilled to create the final product, the maxims of the Guinness experience can be distilled:

  • Discern the ways of God for life and business

  • Think in terms of generations yet to come

  • Whatever else you do, do at least one thing very well

  • Master the facts before you act

  • Invest in those you would have invest in you

“The Search for God and Guinness” is a great book if you are interested in learning more about the influence for good a family – and a company – can have when they put their mind and heart to it.

This book was reviewed as a part of Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program.

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