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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Introduction

Selling a Dream

Amway Corporation marked its 50th anniversary in May 2009 with a glitzy celebration at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip. Spotlights swept across the crowd of well-dressed people who had come from all over the world for the event. A movie theater–sized screen splashed the Amway logo against a cobalt blue background. Cameras flashed and music pulsated. The upbeat mood and excitement inside the auditorium felt similar to the energetic vibe at a national political convention or a religious rally.

One charismatic speaker after another extolled the virtues of hard work and the freedom that comes from owning one’s own business. It was both a patriotic message and one infused with an almost sacred belief that the opportunity for wealth and success is a universal right. And Vegas turned out to be the ideal setting for the company that has inspired millions of people to bet on the hope that someday they, too, can hit the entrepreneurial jackpot and become as rich and successful as the Amway business owners who have received Rolex watches and bejeweled pins for building immense networks of salespeople around the globe.

The evangelists of enterprise preached to the faithful that day because most of the thousands of people gathered were “Diamond” Amway distributors, meaning its top producers. Among the speakers were the company’s co–chief executive officers, Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos. They had followed their fathers, Amway founders Jay Van Andel and Rich ...

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