In The Company, the largely unknown history of the joint-stock company is presented by the editors of Economist. One of history's greatest catalysts, the joint-stock company has dramatically changed the way human beings live, work, and conduct business. With companies now affecting the world on a global scale, it is more pressing than ever before to understand this driving force. A concise and entertaining Modern Library Classic, The Company is a fascinating listen with a reading from narrator Jonathan Davis.
©2003 John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
The Company is a must-read book for anyone enmeshed in corporate America (or corporate-anywhere) because it explains how we got here, as organization-man and why we are organized in the way we are. The institution of the stock company stretches back for a thousand years or more, but the recognizable roots are back in the 1600s and 1700s. Micklethwait & Wooldridge bring this otherwise dusty history alive for us, showing the reader that the organizational challenges we face today in a corporatist society are not new, and that solutions to problems we believe are unique to ourselves have been found in other situations and other eras. I felt that this book gave me great perspective on the organization I work in and about the organizations we regulate and serve. It was useful as an intellectual diversion but also as something I can use to help guide my work in my everyday job.
The prospective reader need not be wary of this being some very very long article out of the Harvard Business Review or a more popular business magazine like the Economist (where the two authors are employed). This book uses history intertwined with interesting anecdote to keep this story interesting throughout.
Not everything about this audiobook was perfect. This book may not have been ideally suited to be conveyed in audio form because of its density of detail. To help myself along, I borrowed the hardbound volume from the library, and skimmed it in segments interspersed with listening. I don?t think I would have read the book had I not encountered this volume on Audible, but neither would I have been able to absorb it to my own satisfaction without the crutch of the hardbound book. Others with more familiarity with the subject matter may be able to do without this crutch.
I recommend the book highly to those seriously interested in the institutions we take for granted that are all around us.
I thought this book would help me better understand current corporations, their structures, and how they operate. But, it's really just a history lesson of business from last 400 years. I'm not really interested in the operations of the wig party or how the steel workers union formed in late 1800's formed. I was hoping to understand how Milken and Enron happened and help me understand todays business structures. The information is good and the narrator good but I was looking for different content so I'm partly at fault. If you want 11th grade history go for it.
A surprisingly entertaining view of what could have been a dry subject. I learned a few things, like what "limited" means when used after a company's name, and why that was so important in the development of the company as an institution. Not one of my all time favorite listens to be sure, but an interesting piece of cultural history. Companies are something that we take for granted--as the authors point out, most people work for companies--they are the water our economy swims in. It was fascinating to know how the concept of a company originated and the impact it has had on the economic development of the west.
Judging by the other reviews, I guess I can see how this might appeal more to a mature listener who is not a political zealot at one extreme or another. This is a clear-headed survey of the history of the joint-stock company, and its impact on our society and lives. This is a big deep subject. Those who can't comprehend how 1800's history could have meaning or relevance, or teach anything to us, might look elsewhere. Maybe someday the appeal will be apparent.
The company is lauded here for its great accomplishments and also sometimes criticised, but intelligently and never with an overbearing tone. I realize that might be an intellectual stretch for those who want explanations perfectly fitting their preconceived ideas. But then, why read at all?
I find this more satisfying than a more flashy and entertaining slide show by a one-sided author, like "The Ascent of Money." Then again, I'm an old guy.
Anyone who has taken a class in business has well surpassed the information in this book. The authors must write for the New York Times. A business book applauding Bill Clinton and putting down Ronald Reagan? If you want a good book about business and economics, try "The Making of Modern Economics".
I've started this book twice and I still haven't been able to get through it. I'm not sure if it's the narrator or the content, but it's just been too boring to get through.
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