Wal-Mart is not only the world's largest company; it is also the largest company in the history of the world. Though 70 percent of Americans now live within a 15-minute drive of a Wal-Mart store, we have not even begun to understand the true power of the company and the many ways it is shaping American life. We know about the lawsuits and the labor protests, but what we don't know is how profoundly the "Wal-Mart effect" is shaping our lives.
Fast Company senior editor Fishman, whose revelatory cover story on Wal-Mart generated the strongest reader response in the history of the magazine, takes us on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes investigative expedition deep inside the many worlds of Wal-Mart. Fishman penetrated the secrecy of Wal-Mart headquarters, interviewing 25 high-level ex-executives. He journeyed into the world of a host of Wal-Mart's suppliers to uncover how the company strong-arms even the most established brands. And he journeyed to the ports and factories, the fields and forests where Wal-Mart's power is warping the very structure of the world's market for goods.
Wal-Mart is not just a retailer anymore, Fishman argues. It has become a kind of economic ecosystem, and anyone who wants to understand the forces shaping our world today must understand the company's hidden reach.
©2006 Charles Fishman; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc.
"In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled." (Publishers Weekly)
"He brings to light the serious repercussions that are occurring as consumers and suppliers have become locked in an addiction to massive sales of cheaper and cheaper goods." (Booklist)
Lots of anecdotal information, some hard data but above all inconclusive. In depth economic analysis would have been nice and is lacking in the book.
I loved this book. It hit home very much like the book "Fast Food Nation". It made me think about Walmart in a whole new way and how it has changed our society and business around the globe. It never states Walmart is good or bad... it just makes you see all sides of it and think about the future.
Whether you love or hate Wal-mart - or if you don't even think about the world's largest retailer - you need to listen to this one! The author puts together a fascinating look at how Wal-Mart is effecting the global economy as well as the way YOU look at shopping. I loved it!
I have a couple of friends who work for Walmart. Things that they have told me about the place got me curious. I was certainly delighted to find this audible book.
I live in a very small town and we are getting a new Walmart super center built right down the road.
I can honestly say that I now consider myself a "former" Walmart shopper. I will certainly take my business to Target. Yes, I'll miss Sam's Club but I'll get over it!
I recommend this book to anyone who is a Walmart shopper or a former shopper.
It simply amazed me to hear some of the tactics used by Walmart to be able to keep their prices lower. 95% of the products that Walmart carries are made in China! They are trying to bankrupt Target, Kmart, Sears, Lowes, & Home Depot just to name a few.
Walmart carries the same products such as Lowes or Home Depot. The difference in the products other than the price is that Walmart has those same name brand products made in China, using cheaper and more light weight parts. Walmart coerces those manufacturers to be the ones who have to repair or replace the product if it malfunctions. Even though Walmart had it manufactured in China. This of course, is very costly to the maker. If the maker doesn't agree to these arrangements, then Walmart refuses to carry the product.
I will NEVER set foot inside a Walmart again.
If I can't buy American, I don't need it.
While this book did teach me a few things I didn't know about Wal-Mart, ultimately, the analysis is largely superficial, and occasionally laughably wrong-headed. I particularly liked his view that if an economic analysis appears in a peer-reviewed journal than its conclusions are equivalent to scientific truths, or that a market where 80 % of the product isn't sold at Wal-Mart is unquestionably under Wal-Mart's control. If you are looking for a sophisticated economic analysis of Wal-Mart, this isn't it. He does level some valid criticisms at the company, but an equal number of his arguments fall well short of the mark.
It's not even very well-written. It rambles and repeats itself, and there is a strained sort of muckraking/yellow journalism quality to the language which further undermines the credibility of the author.
Spend your credits elsewhere.
I'd put it in my top 5 for books of this genre. For a book built on a lot of facts, figures, and scientific studies, the author has mixed just enough anecdotal material and interesting background on the "characters" that it doesn't sound like you're being read textbook material. Instead, it feels like we are being told the life story of Walmart by the narrator and through the eye of the people who knew it best.
Learning just how frugal and strict the company is even within the executive staff over the years was pretty memorable. The image of such a powerful CEO having held meetings in an office furnished with mismatched office furniture and lawn chairs was powerful in a lot of ways, but still somewhat absurd to picture.
There weren't really characters, as it was a non-fiction book, but as per my earlier personification, I guess Walmart was my favorite.
It really was. I had to convince myself to get some sleep before work or I probably would have finished it in one go.
I am glad that I listened to the book but had I known that it was written 10 years ago I would never have selected it. Many of the same issues are present today and it did provide a framework to look at the Walmart of today. I would not recommend it.
Listening since 2004. Mystery, thrillers and anything that can blend with a walk, jog, exercise, long drive or a wait at the airport.
If you are looking for business ideas, innovative thinking, insights which you can use in your business this is not the book. This about Walmart, its people and culture. Their obsession with lowering prices. It makes a interesting reading provided you are not expecting any useful take away
Interesting overview within the first hour (9 CDs... yipes (9 hours)). I had to do a lot of ffwd after that, as it was very repetitive information. If you are a fan of Wal-Mart or Sam Walton then this book is for you. If you want some interesting insight on what effect the largest company in the world has and could have then "read" the first hour or so. Beyond that it is wayyyy too detailed on store numbers, managers and a dogmatic work ethic.
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