In 1950, as George Merck retired from his job as president of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., he summarized the underlying philosophy that drove its success:
We try never to forget that medicine is for the patient. It is not for profits. The profits follow; and if we have remembered this, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.1
1. Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business, 2004), p. 48.
The idea that the purpose of business is to serve customers was widely accepted at the time. The Second World War had recently ended, and the homecoming of untold numbers of soldiers ...