In Kid Number One, author G. Wayne Miller provides a comprehensive, in-depth look into all things Hasbro: its founding, triumphs, challenges, competitors, products, and most extensively, the Hassenfelds. Beginning with the story of how Henry and Hillel immigrated to America and soon after founded Hassenfeld Bros in 1917, Miller covers the journey of Hasbro all the way through 2019, running through its list of CEOs following the original brothers: Merrill Hassenfeld, Stephen Hassenfeld, Alan Hassenfeld, Al Verrecchia, and Brian Goldner. Miller focuses most entirely on Alan: his early life, how his business ventures began, his abrupt ascent into CEO position, his reign as the head of Hasbro, and his philanthropic endeavors and political involvements before and after stepping down from leadership in Hasbro.
Miller is nothing if not thorough. With hundreds of quotes from different significant people, interviews, photos, and statistics, Kid Number One truly covers all the information necessary to gain a vast knowledge of all things Hasbro. Readers are brought along for fantastic inventions that brought Hasbro prosperity, the products that flopped within weeks that dug Hasbro into a financial hole, and the management decisions that ended up fixing things.
But aside from the factual information, Miller does an excellent job telling stories. Nearly brought to tears on numerous occasions while reading, Kid Number One is more than just informative. Readers are welcomed into the Hasbro family, learn all of the quirks of all the characters, and quite honestly befriend them, as much as one can befriend people they’ve never met.
Most specifically, readers meet Alan Hassenfeld. His likes and dislikes, his personality that translates into his business, his values that translate into Hasbro management, his socially conscious nature that’s supported by his philanthropic passions. Alan, an incredible businessman, family man, and philanthropist, is not someone readers will forget after closing the back cover.
Miller enhances his prose with various pictures of the people and products he writes about, and a cast list of characters with brief biographies and a list of notable toys in the beginning of the book as well as chapter notes and a complete index in the back of the book, making information very accessible.
Overall, Kid Number One is an impressive, informational, and all around engaging read. More than a story, more than a history, and more than a biography, Kid Number One is everything anyone who’s interested in the toy industry could need.
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