Many Happy Returns
The Story of Henry Bloch - America's Tax Man
HENRY BLOCH - AMERICA'S TAX MAN
Henry Bloch has a unique understanding of what it means to "answer the call," not just in business but also in life. He proves that someone with good instincts, a desire to help others, and a strong work ethic can achieve both success and significance.
As a youngster growing up in Kansas City, Henry had to work hard just to maintain average grades. After returning home as a decorated World War II veteran, he failed to distinguish himself as a stockbroker. Then, as a budding entrepreneur, he was rejected by dozens of people and could barely eke out a living as a bookkeeper. He worked day and night for eight years, just scraping by. Many times, people encouraged him to get a real job and earn a real living. But Henry wanted to do more than just work a job; he wanted to make a difference and give back.
Henry Bloch almost gave up on tax returns. After he and his brother Richard decided to discontinue doing taxes, one of their clients persuaded them to take out an ad in The Kansas City Star newspaper.
"There's a market out there," the client promised them. And he was right. The ad jumpstarted H&R Block, which became the world's largest commercial tax preparation firm with over 20 million customers. The company is now a household name.
The average tenure of a CEO is about five years--Henry was at the helm for almost five decades. Even more remarkable is that, despite a daily buffeting of reality, his idealism and drive never diminished.
When Henry retired from H&R Block, his good fortune allowed him to have something important to retire to--paying off his debt to society. He has done this primarily through philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.
"Henry is the best that human nature has to offer," one of his closest friends says. Block associates describe him as approachable, humble, good-humored, honest, and infallibly polite. His family portrays him as a devoted husband and loving father.
True success, Henry stresses, is rooted in two fundamental questions: Are you doing what you love, and are you leaving the world a better place? Henry Bloch encourages us to work hard, be honest, and follow our dreams.