The Lego Story
Published on March 04, 2023
Reviewed by Marybeth Ginsberg
While an offering of two bottles of cider would be the prize awarded to the person who could come up with a new name for Ole Kirk Christiansen’s Woodwork & Toy Factory in 1935, it was the founder himself who suggested LEGO as a company name. LEGO comes from the Danish words leg godt, meaning “play well.” Years of hard work and dedication would later make LEGO a household name for parents and children around the world.
Early on, Ole Kirk Christiansen’s toy company struggled. However, in the summer of 1936, Ole Kirk’s toys were admired at a trade fair in Fredericia attended by King Christian X of Denmark. However, later in 1952, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, Ole Kirk’s son, recognized the need for the Lego company to focus on specialization. While short-lived hits like the yoyo, the Peace Pistol, and the Ferguson tractor had made the Lego company competitive, it was the expansion of Lego into other markets, most notably the German toy market, that relied on a single idea, or in this case, a single plastic brick that could be developed into a wider range of toys. However, without Ole Kirk’s legacy as a carpenter who built toys out of wood, a single plastic brick never could not have revolutionized the toy industry.
Just weeks after the invention of the modern Lego brick, in 1958, Ole Kirk died. After initial disagreement over the management of the company business among his four sons, however, the company would enjoy a period of growth. Billund, Denmark, the home of Ole Kirk’s Woodworking & Carpentry Shop, would eventually become headquarters for Lego. While the company sought help from outside management, in time, grandson Kjeld would take the helm and lead Lego to its present day success.
Filled with family and commercial photos, as well as anecdotes, The Lego Story follows the Kirk Kristiansen family, who has for ninety years “defended children’s right to play. Despite decades of prosperous breakthroughs and difficult setbacks, the LEGO company remains strong today. If you enjoy stories about entrepreneurship, business expansion, family-centered business, and history, then you will enjoy reading The LEGO Story. If you are a self-professed "Lego maniac" and have been delighted by the famous brick for some time, then you will especially enjoy reading this book.
Author Jens Andersen is an award-winning Danish author and literary critic who lives in Denmark.
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐