©2004 Emily Ross and Angus Holland; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
The book is fairly interesting, though not hugely. They basically harvested stories from various magazines and books and such and give very short, non-in-depth stories. Very little light is shed on the reality of how hard it is to create a business. Worst of all, though, is the narrator's voice. It's not that he's British -- I'd have taken Ian McKellan any day -- but his voice, his intonation, his reading is bizarre. It's like he twists the words to see how strange he can make them sound, plays with inflections as though he's bored and looking for something to do/ Pardoxically, he makes everything seem profoundly, deeply important -- he speaks in a constant whisper-like intonation, as if to say, "now REALLY listen to this." As a result, it's impossible to tell what's actually important from what's just narrative. This is, I'm sure, not what the writers intended.
The content is informative but leaves you wanting for more detail at times. However, for a book covering 100 companies I didn?t expect to much detail. I give content an A-. I have to give the audio an F on two very annoying points. First, the narrator reads a long list of names in the ?Acknowledgement? How boring. I suspect very few readers of hard copy books actually read verbatim acknowledgements. Second is the reading of reference ?notes? at the end of each section. I dread the conclusion of each section knowing that I?m going to have to be drug through the minutia. If I?m that curious about which newspaper article or book is referenced I?ll buy the book.
I must give this audio book two separate grades, one for content and one for the recording.
The content gets a B. The broad scope is impressive, however this is a book that uses secondary sources almost entirely and doesn't seem to use multiple sources to verify content. I caught many questionable statements about US businesses I'm familiar with, which left me wondering about the reporting on British and Australian businesses that I know less well.
The only writing quibble I have is that the authors mix US and British English. The front part of a car, for example, might be a "hood" in one place and a "bonnet" in another.
The reading/recording gets an F- if there is such a thing. It was simply awful and insulting to boot. Here are a few of the things that got to me.
There are multiple reading errors. A date is read as "1996" when context clearly indicates it should be "1966." American Machine and Foundry is called "American Foundry and Machine."
The reader pronounces words that have become part of the English lexicon with their French pronunciation, e.g. "penchant" and "chagrin" and "St. Louis." No such treatment is given to words derived from other languages.
The US state of Arkansas is not pronounced properly. Neither are many company names as if the reader did not bother to research them before sitting down at the microphone.
Abbreviations such as Corp. and Inc. are read as if they are words.
This audio book provided some great snapshots of 100 businesses, although many are Australian businesses. The sequel book, 50 Great E-Businesses was even more interesting to me because I have an interest in technology businesses. The great value of these two books, is in discerning the similarities in the business stories presented.
I listened with interest about Australian business' that I know so well, but had no idea on their backgrounds. It is fascinating to hear the stories and see the strategies that have had resounding outcomes. Equally the companies that have failed when they were on the path of success, but failed to capitalise on critical opportunities. I listened to this with my very sick Mum, and we both got a lot out of it. We also enjoyed the overseas content as most of the brands are also know in Australia, Easy to listen to and very pleasant narrator
The businesses detailed are mainly from Australia. The narration is good. I was more interested in American businesses.
I really liked this book and the other book that accompanied it on 50 e-Businesses.
The narrator isn't british - He's Australian! And after a lifetime of listening to American accents I found it very refreshing. The case studies were also close to home instead of the usual Wall Street plunderers whose stories have been toldl again and again.
Reading the chapter notations and acknowledgements was a little tiring though... fortunately they learned by the second book. (The 50 Internet businesses one..)
Good inspiring stuff, about names I know and not just retold stories of the great Silicon valley businesses.
how else are you going to learn about the methods behind so many successful businesses in such a short time. The references at the end of each section are pathetic, but the book has invaluable content and it's presented well. Go get your masters to learn about the best businesses that have existed or buy this audiobook.
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