Lanham Napier learned at a young age why jobs are important to families and communities, and made it his goal as an adult to create jobs and build successful businesses. He got his chance when he was hired as CFO for Rackspace.com, later Rackspace, Inc., a managed web hosting company in San Antonio, Texas. This book is the story of how he, as CFO and eventually President, along with Graham Weston and Lew Moorman, helped to grow Rackspace into a solid company with a billion dollars in annual revenue, despite crashes in the tech industry and other setbacks.
BILLION OR BUST! is partly the story of a company’s birth and growth, along with some analysis of why Rackspace succeeded where others failed, and of what mistakes were made and lessons learned along the way. It is also a partial autobiography, as Napier explains how his life experience and worldview helped (and sometimes hindered) him along the way, and in part also an enthusiastic love letter to San Antonio, Texas, and to the employees, family members, and others who contributed to the story of Rackspace, Inc. The author reflects some of the best stereotypes about Texas, especially with respect to the wholehearted and generous love for his work, his city, and his family which pervades the book. A business student looking for a case study will find this an engaging and useful account on its own, as Napier tells his story well and does not hesitate to address and discuss his own errors of judgment as well as his scintillating successes.
The book flips back and forth energetically between Rackspace’s life story and Napier’s, with side notes on San Antonio’s culture, history, and events, and anything else Napier finds relevant and interesting, which at its best keeps the reader thoroughly engaged, but at its worst can induce a mild case of literary whiplash. The values he professes are useful and compassionate ones – though he identifies himself as a conservative, readers from all over the political spectrum can find something here to relate to.
BILLION OR BUST! is a lively, thoughtful, and engaging story of a man, a business, and a city, told with a thoroughly Texan degree of vigor and verve.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader