Book review

Who better to know what is “the best” than the man who made Neiman Marcus synonymous with excellence for more than fifty years? The sequel to Minding the Store , Quest for the Best outlines Marcus’s philosophy of what constitutes the best in goods and services and how to receive it. Marcus describes how increased labor costs and the disappearance of family-owned businesses into the pockets of corporate giants have led to an institutionalized indifference to quality. “I have observed,” he writes, “that when you talk with an independent fine-quality maker, he speaks with pride about his product; when you talk with the chairman of a large corporation, he refers with pride to its net profit and balance sheet.”

Quest for the Best is not just a nostalgic look, however, at the age of handcrafted elegance. Marcus gives good advice on how consumers can educate themselves about the best, demand it, and get it. He describes his own experiences with the best in chapters such as “The Things You Love to Touch,” and “Bed and Board.” Witty, urbane, but always accessible, Marcus is a joy to read.

This paperback edition features a new Preface and updated “Best Things List” that readers will want to copy and carry with them.

Originally published in 1979, Quest for the Best is more timely now than ever.

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