Book review: Ready, Fire, Aim

In what promises to be a ‘warts and all’ insight into what makes Mainfreight tick, Keith Davis delves into the world of one of the most successful publicly listed companies out of New Zealand.

Ready, Fire, Aim by Keith Davies
Random House, $44.99

book review ready fire aim by keith davisIn what promises to be a ‘warts and all’ insight into what makes Mainfreight tick, Keith Davis delves into the world of one of the most successful publicly listed companies out of New Zealand.

Most New Zealanders are aware of Mainfreight, with its distinctive blue and white trucks, seen every day around the country. But few are aware of the business story behind the unassuming brand.

This is no 42Below, no Moa, no Hell Pizza – it’s not a company that’s known for hitting headlines for controversy or the waving about of jazz hands to garner coverage. Instead, it’s grassroots, no-bullshit, pull-no-punches business. And that’s refreshing – if a little less glittery than the businesses listed above.

Davies concentrates on the two visionaries at the heart of Mainfreight: founder Bruce Plested and current CEO Don Braid. The pair are across every detail in the business and are backed by a powerful board.

It’s a story that’ll warm the heart of any Kiwi entrepreneur. Plested started out with just one truck, from which he created a brand that’s now truly international. By 2011, it had a global gross turnover of $1.3 billion. The narrative of Mainfreight’s early days will inspire, as the company takes on a David-and-Goliath battle in a heavily regulated transport industry dominated by a transport cartel.