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The story of a businessman

Vittorio Merloni’s life as told by his daughter: the summary of a unique production culture

Corporate culture made personal. Which is the only way, after all, because culture is not made by machines, but by men and women who live and work. That’s why it is always a good thing to know about the lives of the people who have designed, built and managed companies. It’s therefore good to read Oggi è già domani. Vittorio Merloni. Vita di un imprenditore (‘Today is already tomorrow. Vittorio Merloni. Life of an entrepreneur’), by Maria Paola Merloni. She recounts the story of her father from the time he joined the company in 1960, to leading Confindustria in the early ’80s during one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Italian economy, through to conquering the Eastern markets, including his great successes and his most difficult decisions. Merloni led a successful life, but he also encountered problems and had to make choices, he has this in common with many other businessmen who have built their own production culture and can now teach a great deal to many people.

On the pages written by his daughter – who recently won the Biella Prize for Literature and Industry 2020 for this book – you read the story of an entrepreneur who simultaneously recognises the value of his land and ‘the world in his head’. The figure of a visionary emerges, one who was capable of scaling up a family business to an international company. He achieved this without ever losing his reserved character. He was not an example of an elite Italian businessman, but a man who managed to be both humble and a great explorer of production solutions that differed from traditional ones, along with new markets. This is the modest, ambitious, enterprising and thoughtful Vittorio Merloni, the one you can read about in the pages of this book, which ultimately tells the story of a business experience that becomes culture for everyone. It still gives us something useful today.

Some of the passages that summarise the good business culture of the protagonist are very clear. Such as a quote from one of Merloni’s speeches to the company that says he is convinced that ‘true development and generation of wealth are based on the work that one does and not on financial architecture for its own sake’.

Maria Paola Merloni’s book (written with Claudio Novelli) is not only the story of a father told by a daughter. It’s a story overflowing with something more than mere affection. It’s a story from which one gets the idea of a business culture which is certainly not the only thing to be appreciated, but which is a record of life and work, a collective story, a business management manual, a guide to learning the difficult language of production, not only for profit but also for something more complex and fascinating.

Today is already tomorrow. Vittorio Merloni. The life of an entrepreneur

Maria Paola Merloni (with Claudio Novelli)

Marsilio, 2019

Vittorio Merloni’s life as told by his daughter: the summary of a unique production culture

Corporate culture made personal. Which is the only way, after all, because culture is not made by machines, but by men and women who live and work. That’s why it is always a good thing to know about the lives of the people who have designed, built and managed companies. It’s therefore good to read Oggi è già domani. Vittorio Merloni. Vita di un imprenditore (‘Today is already tomorrow. Vittorio Merloni. Life of an entrepreneur’), by Maria Paola Merloni. She recounts the story of her father from the time he joined the company in 1960, to leading Confindustria in the early ’80s during one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Italian economy, through to conquering the Eastern markets, including his great successes and his most difficult decisions. Merloni led a successful life, but he also encountered problems and had to make choices, he has this in common with many other businessmen who have built their own production culture and can now teach a great deal to many people.

On the pages written by his daughter – who recently won the Biella Prize for Literature and Industry 2020 for this book – you read the story of an entrepreneur who simultaneously recognises the value of his land and ‘the world in his head’. The figure of a visionary emerges, one who was capable of scaling up a family business to an international company. He achieved this without ever losing his reserved character. He was not an example of an elite Italian businessman, but a man who managed to be both humble and a great explorer of production solutions that differed from traditional ones, along with new markets. This is the modest, ambitious, enterprising and thoughtful Vittorio Merloni, the one you can read about in the pages of this book, which ultimately tells the story of a business experience that becomes culture for everyone. It still gives us something useful today.

Some of the passages that summarise the good business culture of the protagonist are very clear. Such as a quote from one of Merloni’s speeches to the company that says he is convinced that ‘true development and generation of wealth are based on the work that one does and not on financial architecture for its own sake’.

Maria Paola Merloni’s book (written with Claudio Novelli) is not only the story of a father told by a daughter. It’s a story overflowing with something more than mere affection. It’s a story from which one gets the idea of a business culture which is certainly not the only thing to be appreciated, but which is a record of life and work, a collective story, a business management manual, a guide to learning the difficult language of production, not only for profit but also for something more complex and fascinating.

Today is already tomorrow. Vittorio Merloni. The life of an entrepreneur

Maria Paola Merloni (with Claudio Novelli)

Marsilio, 2019