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(cover photo: courtesy Philips Company Archives)

45 Years with Philips: An Industrialist’s Life by Frederik Philips (115,000 words and 49 illustrations)

Frederik Philips is the son and nephew of the two brothers who in 1912 turned a family firm founded in 1891 into Philips NV which then grew in two generations from a small light bulb manufacturer to a worldwide company employing 380,000 people in 70 countries.

In this first-person account, Frederik Philips tells the story of his growing responsibilities in the company, from a first job as a plant engineer, to his difficult years during World War II when, as one of four Board members of the company, he dealt with German Nazi-appointed administrators before having to go into hiding, and until the years 1961-1971 when he rose to the helm of the whole company.


“It is to be hoped that industry itself will learn something from his views on its powers and, more particularly, its responsibilities.” —
The Times (London)

“Philips believes that the success of a company depends, not on structure or organisation, but on the attitudes of the people who work in it... As for the future, Philips is optimistic about the ability of his company to continue to play its part in bringing prosperity to the world... the primary objective remains the same — that Philips must be part of the cure, not of the disease, in the world.” —
Financial Times (London)

“Clearly, this book is as much a corporate history as it is the story of one man’s life... it is readable, often insightful, and sometimes exciting as we came to grasp the impact of one man’s leadership on a major industrial corporation’s struggle to survive a horrible war and its spectacular growth in peacetime.” — Stephen D. Bodayla,
The Business History Review