We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town | [Beth Macy]

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town

With over $500 million a year in sales, the Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. But beginning in the 1980s, the Bassett company suffered from an influx of cheap Chinese furniture as the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately was forced to send its production offshore to Asia. Only one man fought back. That man is John Bassett III, a descendant of the Bassetts who is now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of over $90 million.
Regular Price:$24.55
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

With over $500 million a year in sales, the Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for three generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, VA-an unincorporated town that existed solely for the people who built the company's products. But beginning in the 1980s, the Bassett company suffered from an influx of cheap Chinese furniture as the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately was forced to send its production offshore to Asia.

Only one man fought back. That man is John Bassett III, a descendant of the Bassetts who is now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of over $90 million. In Factory Man, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett's deeply personal furniture and family story. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit, cunning, and will to save hundreds of jobs, she also discovers the hidden and shocking truth about industry and America.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.


©2014 Beth Macy (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (48 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.1 (46 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (46 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (19)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Catherine S. Read Fairfax, VA USA 09-08-14
    Catherine S. Read Fairfax, VA USA 09-08-14 Member Since 2010

    A digital media consultant and business strategist. I'm a lifelong lover of books in all forms.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's the Community, not just the Economy"
    Where does Factory Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks I've listened to. It's written by a journalist, and while it's a non-fiction account of the collapse of the domestic furniture industry, but it reads like a novel. It's riveting.


    What other book might you compare Factory Man to and why?

    Very much like The House of Mondavi. A multi-generational account of a family owned business with all the intrigue that wealthy powerful families have.


    Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli – was your favorite?

    JB III of course. He is the force behind the story. Reviewers have almost universally forecast that the book will become a movie. It's easy to see the appeal after listening to this audiobook.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole world turned against John D. Bassett, III. Even his extended family. He faced the criticism and shunning by lifelong friends and colleagues in the furniture business. But he never backed down. He feels a responsibility to the 700 people who rely on their jobs at Vaughan-Bassett to feed their families. He stands for something.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a portrait of a time and place that are largely forgotten now in our information driven global economy. As a lifelong resident of Virginia who was born in Galax, I have a great deal of pride in the history of the furniture industry and the Virginia families who created an engine of economy that employed workers for three generations. It's not easy being the last man standing, but John D. Bassett, III has rare grit and determination. Beth Macy has written a rare and wonderful story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. C. Holland 12-21-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting History"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. It is both interesting and educational. All Americans should understand how we lost our manufacturing sector and what can be done. Factory Man gives insight into this timely topic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Montpelier, VA, United States 09-25-14
    Vicki Montpelier, VA, United States 09-25-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    257
    41
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's the story of hundreds of factory towns"
    Would you listen to Factory Man again? Why?

    Absolutely. I grew up in Bassett and left as soon after high school as I could get away. My parents did not work for any of the factories (a nurse and a teacher) so I really didn't know anything about the businesses or people portrayed in the book. For me it was a story about any of a hundred factory towns (furniture or otherwise) all over the country. The truth is (and always will be) that unskilled jobs will always transition to the low cost provider. It's how JD Bassett got his start in the first place. The other truth is that some businesses are run well and some aren't (just as the Enron employees). This is a well researched and written tale that is a great example of both of those truths.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Factory Man?

    For me it was very touching to know the story behind the naming of my middle school, Mary Hunter.


    Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli – was your favorite?

    Of course it's "Little John", JB III. My Mom and Dad remember him being referred to as "Little John".


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    It could be any business in any town.


    Any additional comments?

    Beth Macy did an amazingly thorough job of researching this book and told a very compelling story that I believe was fair from all sides of the tale. She didn't seem to impose her own personal or political views which allowed me to analyze the story and come to my own conclusions. That's a hard thing for a writer to do and I really appreciated it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rightmuch 08-20-14
    rightmuch 08-20-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simply fascinating."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Factory Man to be better than the print version?

    can't compare


    What other book might you compare Factory Man to and why?

    Nothing comparable that I know of.


    Have you listened to any of Kristin Kalbli’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Jim Franklin nearly killing the auther.


    Any additional comments?

    It should be required reading for all of those like me and my family who live in the area but "ain't from around here". We've been here for 17 years, I served on the Henry County BOS, but I never knew just how much all these characters were interrelated. Now I know why the place is the way it is. Kudos to Beth Macey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary I. Silveus Yardley, PA USA 08-15-14
    Mary I. Silveus Yardley, PA USA 08-15-14 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beth Macy's Sense of Balance is Impeccable"
    What made the experience of listening to Factory Man the most enjoyable?

    The narration was fine, particularly because of the light - but present - use of the Southern dialect where it could add something to the hearing of the words. The balance shown in the writing of this book is nothing short of a literary high-wire performance. The complications inherent in every element of the globalization question (i.e. the people who need the low-priced Chinese goods are the very people who are being hurt by wage compression and factory closures) were pulled out, examined and seen through the lenses of all those involved and then placed back into the scene. Macy beautifully avoided the lure of "solving" the problem or waxing political. She somehow found a perfect spot between describing the effects of the global economy on real people's lives and outlining the macro-level economic and geopolitical realities of the 21st Century. Now I have to go see if JDIII is still alive so I can send him a (reserved) fan letter.

    Thank you, Ms. Macy. I'm better for having read your work.


    What does Kristin Kalbli bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Non-theatrical yet sensitive rendering. The narration fit the content of the book very well, which could not have been an easy accomplishment for Ms. Kalbli.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Factory Man - A great book, ruined by a no-talent filmmaker


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. 73 07-28-14
    Mr. 73 07-28-14

    I like Biographies about people from the back pages. Not much on Political Bios -- all the same to me with a few exceptions.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Off shoring does't start till book is half over"

    Author injects herself into story. Most of book is gossip on Bassett family. Not really a business book more like National Enquier.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.