Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The LEGO Story: How a Little Toy Sparked the World's Imagination (Jens Andersen)

Over 80 million kids around the globe receive a box of LEGO blocks annually. LEGO has grown over the decades from a wood toy shop in Denmark into the plastic brick and play material enterprise that is known worldwide. Jens Andersen chronicles the history of LEGO and the family ownership that has driven its growth and success in The LEGO Story: How a Little Toy Sparked the World’s Imagination.

The town of Billund, Denmark, is the home of LEGO. The LEGO Story chronicles the relationship that the company, the Kirk Christiansen family that has owned and steered the company for decades, and the town have had with each other. LEGO wasn’t always successful, suffering through financial crunches and struggles at various times throughout its history. Like any successful family-controlled business, its ability to adapt in bad times and to generational leadership changes has been critical to its success. While forays into hybrid wood and plastic toys and amusement parks ultimately fell by the wayside, LEGO’s ability to pivot to plastic bricks and strategically grow its brand have steered it to become a billion dollar, international enterprise.

Any business lessons to be gleaned through the book are picked up between the lines; however, the book’s history does provide a narrative that shows how a successful enterprise was able to grow and adapt over time. Those lessons, while not screaming at the reader, are easy to see in this historical narrative of a childhood favorite.