‘Guaranteed to Last: L.L. Bean’s Century of Outfitting America’ by Jim Gorman

Jim Gorman
L.L. Bean’s 1939 spring catalog, with signature items.

“Guaranteed to Last: L.L. Bean’s Century of Outfitting America’’ (Melcher) by Jim Gorman is as audaciously self-promotional as any company history, but don’t be put off by that. Business and marketing types will appreciate the lessons learned by this Maine icon. And fans of the company’s durable goods will enjoy the stories behind its signature items. L.L. Bean’s success was not, by any means, preordained. The first version of its first product, the Maine Hunting Shoe, was a bust. Ninety of the first 100 pairs blew apart at the seams and the company’s money-back guarantee almost put it out of business.