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Alibaba Audiobook

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

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Publisher's Summary

An engrossing insider's account of how a teacher built one of the world's most valuable companies - rivaling Walmart and Amazon - and forever reshaped the global economy.

In just a decade and a half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded Alibaba and built it into one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba's $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China's booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle-class consumers.

Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet's impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba's rise.

How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba's ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the US?

Clark tells Alibaba's tale in the context of China's momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.

©2016 Duncan Clark (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1332 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nathan 04-30-16
    Nathan 04-30-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible narration if you know Chinese mars good book"

    The book itself is both interesting and insightful. As somebody engaged in the China Internet space for work, and consequently very familiar with the content I found learned quite a bit about personalities and backstory delivered in engaging prose. True the book is very pro Jack and BABA but this is not a surprise, and does not obscure facts.

    But if you know any Chinese, preparing to spend the entire book alternating between cringing and puzzling over the generally incomprehensible narration of every single Chinese word other than Alibaba, Ma, and Tsai. The inability to select a Chinese speaker to conduct narration on a book about China is inexplicable and disappointing.

    25 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cassiuswortmann 10-26-16
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    Story
    "Interesting story, bad narration"

    While it did contain some critical info on the development of the China's dotcom industry as well as some bitesized nuggets of Jack Ma wisdom, I found myself continually wincing at the narrator's pronunciation of the names of Chinese individuals and places. However, this is just one of many audiobooks on China blighted by this headache-inducing problem.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tristan 09-02-16
    Tristan 09-02-16 Member Since 2016

    Urban planner. Environmentalist. Geek.

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    "Strange: Best part of story happens "off-screen""

    "Alibaba" is a good book despite a near-fatal flaw. The author is an investor and he cares about what investors care about: deal-making, IPO's, threats to valuations, etc. Sometimes he lets that interest overshadow the actual storytelling.

    One example is so flagrant it is hilarious. Most of the launch of Alibaba—surely the critical turning point of Jack Ma's life—happens "off-screen." We learn about some deal-making that went into convincing the first employees to join the project. A page or two later we learn about a deal with some early investors, and as a note in that deal Clark mentions Alibaba had by then gained over 250,000 customers. Nothing worth mentioning went into getting their first quarter million customers?

    Such moments of early launch play a central role in Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" and Vance's "Elon Musk." In this book, it was left out. The omission leaves a big question open. Clark notes that Ma runs a technology company despite knowing nothing about coding or the internet's machinery . How did he do that? I would like to know. The book skipped over that part.

    Clark makes other strange choices. He describes the life story and character of multiple Chinese entrepreneurs and then never returns to them.

    And yet, despite all this, it's a good book and it's worth reading. The perspective of an investor on one of the world's highest valued companies is interesting. He appears to do a great job conveying what it's like to do business in China and the history of entrepreneurship in the country. Jack Ma's life makes for a compelling story—despite some of the odd choices in focus.

    Should you read Alibaba? Yes. Chinese technology firms are starting to overtake silicon valley ones in a number of arenas. It's a good idea to understand what they are all about, and it's a fun book to do it with. Just join me at rolling your eyes at Clark's investor-myopia.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sb 05-02-17
    sb 05-02-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not a very informative or insightful on Jack"

    I was missing to hear more about Jack management style, growth and personal advice. You won't get it here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Qiu 07-27-16
    James Qiu 07-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Mispronunciation kills me"

    While the story is amazing, the obvious lack of effort in correct Chinese pronunciation hurts my ears and takes away so much from the book.

    This performance is so vastly different from the likes of "Chaos Monkeys" in which the reader eloquently pronounced various Italian and French phrases.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray West Deptford, NJ, United States 05-20-16
    Ray West Deptford, NJ, United States 05-20-16 Member Since 2013

    Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "AMAZON AND E-BAY COMBINED"

    A good overview of the Alibaba story. Until I listened to this book, I wasn't aware of the nature of the company, thought that it was just another Amazon, but found that it was more akin to E-Bay.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    derrick j campbell 06-12-17 Listener Since 2008
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    Story
    "not valuable info"

    I often find it difficult to find a story to havenothing of value.but this book is poorly written and so boring. it offered no wisdom insights or anecdotes valuable to the listener.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fernando padilla 08-07-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Historia interesante"

    No solo es una historis de Jack Ma, me gusta como relata la historia del emprendimiento en China.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Ryan 09-19-17
    Jack Ryan 09-19-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Inauthentic fluff Piece"
    Would you try another book from Duncan Clark and/or Jim Meskimen?

    An insufferable promotional book by a broker about a promotor. It is as shallow as Shoe Dog is profound.


    What was most disappointing about Duncan Clark’s story?

    It reads like a press release for Alibaba.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Bogart 09-19-17 Member Since 2016

    Never stop being a student! Your mind is a muscle, exercise it through reading, through listening. Learn, apply and grow!

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    "Great story!"

    Incredible story, so much I didn't know about this world. China centric, it was like a history book and a fairytale all in one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • iLard
    London, UK
    9/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather dull"

    An interesting story told in a very boring way, like a dry, unchallenging newspaper article. What a shame. Had to listen at x2 speed to get through in double quick, toe-curling time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Project Manager
    11/16/16
    Overall
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    "Very average book"

    The Chinese pronunciation is really terrible as other listeners have mentioned. The story isn't great either. You never really get to know Jack Ma and there isn't much backing to statements like 'Jack Magic'. It's almost like a Wikipedia article mixed with some hearsay and a few newspaper articles. I'd give Steve Jobs book 5 out of 5. In contrast this book struggles to get 2 out of 5.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • demanda
    2/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Commentary with little insight"

    Little objectivity.

    Didn't get passed chapter 2 before losing the will to listen any further.

    Learned little that's not already published in interviews and profiles.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alexander
    8/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not that interesting - felt biased"

    Just not that good or informative as other books in the genre. Dissapointed, would​ recommend to avoid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Chapman
    8/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a tech startup story"

    This book isn't a gripping history of Alibaba and its rise. It contains more like a bird's eye view of the Chinese tech scene, and Alibaba's and Ma's place in it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • pargi1988
    7/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"

    Great read with a good understanding of how it all started. very insightful and well worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • rina
    6/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "uninspiring"

    Not very objective. Did not inspire at all. Jack comes across as a con man

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs.
    Amersham, United Kingdom
    4/23/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fascinating read"

    great story of determination, China development and personal skill well worth a read, the end

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Sachin Mohan Bhide
    Pune
    4/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting & unique entrepreneurial story!"

    Jack Ma's entrepreneurial journey is interesting and unique. The journey teaches lots of lessons for those who want to learn and apply.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • nabil chouba
    Swindon
    3/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "nice book about china entrepreneurial ecosystem"
    Any additional comments?

    Anybody who thinks the Chinese just copy or steal technology from the West should read this book and think again.
    The Steve Jobs of China, we call his distortion field : Jack Magic.
    He stragglers to get an university as he is so weak in Math, he tried for several years the entry exam and finally he got a degree in English in low ranking university in China.
    Book prove that China is special case : EBay, Yahoo, PayPal, Google has failed to compete against the locals. They thought that applying same magic formula that worked in US & Europe will work in China but that was a big failure. Even buying local company and controlling them was a failure.
    I like the success formulas that Japanese Masayoshi Son used to know if he should invest or not : he smells the guy and see how sharp is his look that's all ( this is the richest man )
    Book explains the topology of china case and its own growing silicon valley, and how capitalism is spreading.
    and explain the dynamic and contradiction between state and private sector.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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