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The Wal-Mart Effect | [Charles Fishman]

The Wal-Mart Effect

Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data�including facts such as this: Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores, this text is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping the American economy.
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Publisher's Summary

Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data - such as that Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores - this is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping the American economy.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (831 )
5 star
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4.1 (274 )
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4.2 (274 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 02-28-13
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 02-28-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book, not totally balanced"
    If you could sum up The Wal-Mart Effect in three words, what would they be?

    The book starts off very fair and balanced. But towards the end it seems the author just hates walmart (with good reason) and becomes less objective.


    What about Alan Sklar’s performance did you like?

    Alan Sklar is one of the best book narrators out there. I have listened to many of his books just for his narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wayne Mississauga, ON, Canada 02-27-13
    wayne Mississauga, ON, Canada 02-27-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Very balanced"

    Unlike most books and documentaries on WalMart I found this one very balanced. I especially liked hearing how some items. Most interesting was how much influence Wal Mart has on the production of salmon and other seafood. There was a lot of information that I had never though of before, like the fact that airlines before the 80's would not allow any fish on the planes (due to the worry of melting sea water corroding the equipment).

    The narrator was very good and did an excellent job of capturing the mood and theme of each chapter. The only complaint was the afterward tacked on to the epilogue, read horribly by the writer of the book. This second narrator missed the mark with his part. The editing is sketchy which many sentences obviously chopped with awkward pauses and repeating sentences. Even with this flaw it doesnt take away from the book, which I found to be not too long and not too short. It was a pleasant surprise for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TodFrog 11-10-12
    TodFrog 11-10-12
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    "Chum for the mindless"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author does exactly what he started out to do: Ignore the facts and slander WalMart with distortion and sleight of hand. This book will give more fuel to the Wal Mart haters because to them, like the author, facts are irrelevant. To be sure, Wal Mart has made mistakes in how it has treated its employees, sometimes violating labor laws. For that, they should be, and have been, fined and made to work within the confines of the law.But to be hated simply because of their size and perceived influence is just one more bit of evidence how progressives hate the rich and powerful. Unless of course your a rich and powerful liberal (see George Soros).To make this a 4 or 5 star book, the author could have simply reported on the facts without consistently adding negative commentary that really only revealed his pettiness. The author starts the book by revealing a story of a Wal Mart success. Wal Mart was the impetus for deodorant manufacturers ceasing to package their plastic and metal deodorant products inside cardboard boxes. By all accounts, it was a wonderful idea. Less weight when shipping, less waste in landfills, fewer forests cut down to make the boxes. But none of these positives can detract from the fact that the guy who sold the cardboard lost business. This is the theme throuought the book. No matter what positives Wal Mart contributes, the author is not even a glass half empty guy. No, the glass is dry!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaffe San Diego, CA, United States 09-07-11
    Jaffe San Diego, CA, United States 09-07-11
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    "Excellent--Fun to read and very informational."

    Very entertaining, well written, and easy to listen to. Kept my interest throughout the entire book. The newly update afterward by the author was a delightlful surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marylou Bend, OR, United States 07-21-11
    Marylou Bend, OR, United States 07-21-11
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    "so one sided"

    all this crap about buying cheap and having to assemble.. geez have NEVER purchased a BBQ grill that I didn't have to assemble so that example was CRAP!! amongst about most of the rest in this book. talk about making comparisons that weren't. so deceiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew lenoir, NC, United States 10-03-10
    Matthew lenoir, NC, United States 10-03-10
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    "i thought it was fair"

    a few other reviewers thought it was lopsided or poor on economic theory. But thought it was as fair as it could be with the information present. It was worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart CASTRO VALLEY, CA, USA 08-31-07
    Stewart CASTRO VALLEY, CA, USA 08-31-07
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    "Consider the abridged version"

    Though I'm interested in these types of books T felt there was a little too much detail. This is one case where I would have preferred the abridged version. This is the first book that adjusted the speed to Faster on my iPod. the author says he was critical to Walmart but more often I felt like he an advocate for Walmart.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Cook 07-14-07
    Brian Cook 07-14-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Very informative"

    Everyone in America should listen to this. It is an eye opener.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 04-29-07
    Tom 04-29-07 Member Since 2011
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    "Thoughtful"

    This book blew me away. I've shopped at Wal-Mart for years and am a "conflicted" buyer. Although I've had doubts about my Wal-Mart experiences in terms of conflict of conscious, this book distilled those chaotic thoughts into coherent logic. I have a lot to think about especially from a socially responsible point of view. The book is easy to understand and very well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hallie Florissant, CO, USA 01-06-07
    Hallie Florissant, CO, USA 01-06-07
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    "Great BOOK"

    Captivating from the first minute to the last. Brilliant analysis of Wal-Mart.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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