I am an avid eclectic reader.
I must admit up front that I have never been in a Wal-Mart store and there is no Wal-Mart store anywhere near where I live. My second disclaimer is I absolutely hate to shop; I rush in and obtain the items I need and rush out of the store. Since the 1960 I have made it a mission of mine to buy products made in the United States even if I have to pay more or do without if I cannot find products made in the United State or Canada.
Fishman has done extensive research for this book. He has drawn on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives; pursued a wealth of business and economic data and has created an interesting look at the corporation.
Fishman states the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past twenty years. Fishman presents a case for Wal-Mart (mostly consumer benefit) and against Wal-Mart. Fishman puts the reader inside the company’s penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart’s mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas.
The “Wal-Mart effect” has become a common phase in the vocabulary of economists, and includes a broad range of effects, such as forcing local competitors out of business, driving down wages, and keeping inflation low and productivity high. Fishman discusses the replacement of quality with cheapness. The author sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life. I enjoyed the fact he told stories and named the product and or company he spoke of to demonstrate the good or bad effect. I found the afterword the most important part of the book.
The book is well written and well organized. Fishman has made the book understandable and easy to read. Alan Sklar narrated the book.
Steve Coil, a correspondent for the Washington Post has painstakingly reconstructed telephone conversations, meetings and written memoranda to set out the events leading to the litigation between Pennzoil and Texaco. Coil has maintained his reporter’s objectivity, not condemning anyone but staying neutral throughout the book. The book was originally published in 1987.
The first part of the book is about the Getty family and their inner fights. The middle of the book is about Getty oil and its corporate officers and board members and their relationship with Gordon Getty. The last part of the book is about the trial.
Three and a half years of haggling and infighting preceded the legal judgment. Gordon Getty, one of the J. Paul Getty’s sons became sole trustee of the Sarah C. Getty Trust, which owned 40% of Getty Oil’s stock. Gordon Getty maneuvered for control of the company in opposition of the company management and his family. Pennzoil thought they did a takeover in January of 1984 in an agreement in principle to buy the bloc of Getty Stock, then the following week Texaco offered more money and bought the same stock.
On November 1985 a Houston court awarded a ten billion dollar judgment against Texaco to Pennzoil. It is the largest damages award yet made in an American business case.
The book by Coil reads like a novel with lots of drama, family conflicts and business fighting. I found the book most interesting. Steven Cooper narrated the book.
With the default of Greece I thought it might be appropriate to read about some of the other troubled economies of the E.U. I saw this book by O’Toole and thought it might be interesting and I must say it sure was.
O’Toole is a commentator and columnist for the Irish Times and is an excellent writer. The book is written in a clear concise manner and is comprehensively researched. This is a serious book, it argues that financial power should be regulated, that crooks should be punished, that corruption should be exposed and not rewarded at the ballot box. O’Toole also outlines changes the Irish need to make to rebuild their country into a strong, financially viable country again.
O’Toole points out that the Irish boom came about from the outside not by changes, growth, and desire of the people. The government encouraged corporations to come to Ireland by offering little or no taxes, and lax regulations.
Wealthy land speculators had cornered urban markets, driving housing prices up 500 per cent in a decade. O’Toole points out that when the crash of 2008 came, the GDP shank, housing prices went into free fall, its banking system collapsed and gross indebtedness outstrips that of Japan. The author blames corrupt politicians, lax regulation, bankers complicit in fraud and tax evasion.
The pity of it O’Toole says is that the boom years were largely squandered. For a brief moment the county had the resources to improve its crumbling social facilities instead it blew it. Everyone should read about this subject and learn about the hazard of government debt before more and more countries follow in the wake of Greece. Roger Clark narrated the book.