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Publisher's Summary

In 1972, Sears, Roebuck, and Co. was America's greatest store, accounting for over 1 percent of the gross national product. Suddenly, profits plummeted and the stock price collapsed. Sears was at civil war and in need of a new leader. In 1978, Edward R. Telling became the Sears chairman, and by 1984 Sears was back on top, bigger than ever. Telling turned things around so dramatically it seemed like a miracle. But the resurrection of Sears as a great American merchant was no miracle, but the result of the power, vision, and will of strong leadership. 

Award-winning author Donald Katz, who received unprecedented and unrestricted access to Sears's records, meetings, and executives, delivers a spellbinding account that gives you a front-row seat to a corporate revolution. Katz is the founder and CEO of Audible, the leading provider of spoken audio information and entertainment.  

This edition includes an updated introduction written and narrated by the author.  

©1987 Donald R. Katz (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What an interesting history

Who would have thought a company could grow and succeed mightily with all that baggage, it seems impossible.
Well written (so nice to hear) words with more than 4 letters!

Thanks for making the book available Mr. Katz
Narration is awesome

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The worst

I really wanted to like this book, but its poor organization, focus on uninteresting,unimportant details and self-important bloviating by the author made that impossible. A shame, as the topic interests me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book but it's too long and detailed.

This is probably the only really interesting book I’ve “read’ that needs abridgement. Although I wish it extended into Sears’ current predicament, the book is fascinating. It’s just too long and has far too much detail about the personalities involved.
The narration is excellent and it’s a great book but half as long would be twice as good.

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  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 01-07-19

Thankful To Don Katz For Audible

I am a huge Audible fan, so I hesitate somehow to equate this book with the CEO of my Audible obsession. But, sorry, this book was so not for me with endless dull descriptions and goings-on of people and business that I didn't understand, along with a narrator whose monotone style lulled me to sleep.

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Dated book in information and approach

Published in 1987, The Big Store is very much of its time. Focusing on what was then seen as the shocking and sudden downfall of a retail juggernaut, Katz looks at the corporate culture at Sears as a way to explain the company's misfortune. Often interesting, the book nevertheless comes across as shortsighted. It reflects a fixation on executives that overwhelmed 1980s business journalism (think Lee Iacocca and Jack Welch, for example) and undervalues the broader cultural context that inform shifting dynamics between brands and consumers. To listen to a book told from the vantage point of 1987 is frustrating. The book lacks hindsight and fails to account for the continued decline of Sears over the past thirty years. Katz seems to embody the perspective of his interview subjects, getting caught up in the minutiae of power struggles and petty managerial grievances. He fails to understand that the downfall of Sears had little to do with specific executive decisions. Instead, it was a manifestation of much broader shifts in the economy, consumer tastes, demographics, and popular culture. Katz can be forgiven for not seeing all of this in the moment, but as a newly commissioned audiobook it is an odd choice. For today's listener it fails on a number of levels. On one hand it is nice of Katz, the founder and CEO of Audible, to make his work available. At the same time, Katz seems unaware that his writing not only fails to understand the perspective of the general public, but seems to share the Sears executives' contempt for customers. With Audible being so customer friendly, the tone and limitations of this book are surprising.