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The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea Paperback – 7 Jan 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (7 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753820404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753820407
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'as an introduction to the subject it is an engaging read, full of thought-provoking cameos.....the elegantly concise account of what the company has done for the world so far.' (Martin Vander Weyer, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

'the authors, journalists on The Economist, know their subject, write with assurance and wit and have many fascinating thins to say about the past and future of the company.' (Michael Skapinker, THE FINANCIAL TIMES)

Through focusing upon 'the company' the authors have written an often very interesting account of the the components of the machine. (John Corcoran MORNING STAR)

'The authors, being both correspondents for The Economist, do this with authority, wit, verve and much combative defence of capitalism' (Morgan Falconer HAM & HIGH)

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge's marvellous and concise book (Mr Tripathi WALL ST JOURNAL) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A unique history of Britain's most influential invention - from the East India Company to Enron

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Seriously and irritatingly marred by slipshod typography, this little book is a very entertaining read.
It deals with subjects that might otherwise be considered to be "heavy" in a very engaging way, with lots of anecdotes and humour, without ever missing its main target of providing a serious examination of a major social phenomenon that has passed most non-academic commentators by.
Forget War, Plague or Famine; for most of the Western world -- since, say, 1750 -- History has been the way that the greater part of the population has earned its living and the economic conditions under which it has flourished (or not). This book shows the critical importance of the company in history and the pivotal role it has played in mobilising economic growth.
If there is one criticism -- aside from the excruciating typographical errors -- it is that the overall impression, at the conclusion, is one of smugness about both what the company has been made to achieve and about the future of the company.
Don't be put off by the apparent dryness of the subject matter, this really is a litle gem that throws light on a largely unexamined theme of history.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is nicely researched and well presented- not too long (as in padded out) and not too short (despite its title).
I finally understood the origin of the US term 'Trust' as in 'Anti-trust'.
It was also interesting to see the role the Railways had played in causing the Company to evolve, from the limited-time partnerships of the Sailing Ships to the 'ownership' by the Pension Funds.
Only one irritation - the sub-editor must have been asleep reviewing the proofs. Each page contains genuine hyphenated terms such as 'joint-stock' and 'Anglo-Saxon', but there are rogue hyphenations such as in 'chap-ter', 'Car-negie', 'custom-ers', 'Gas-kell', and you keep having to re-read them to see what they mean? I found them in 5 different chapters, so its not as if only one piece of text was added/removed and threw out the pagination?
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Format: Paperback
Here we have an examination of what seems to be, at first glance, a less-than-exciting subject: the limited-liability joint-stock company. Ah, but that first impression is soon proven false by what indeed is a fascinating, at times riveting (albeit brief) history of what Micklethwait and Wooldridge correctly suggest has been and remains, since the Companies Act of 1862, "the basis of the prosperity of the West and the best hope for the future of the world." Soon becoming the single most powerful economic power, the limited-liability joint-stock company combined the three big ideas behind the modern company: "that it could be an artificial person," with the same ability to do business as a real person; that it could issue tradable shares to any number of investors; and that those investors could have limited liability (so they could lose only the money they had committed to the firm)."
Although Micklethwait and Wooldridge do indeed provide "a short history of a revolutionary idea," their book is remarkably comprehensive as it traces the evolution of commercial structure from merchants and monopolists (3000 B.C. -- 1500) through imperialists and speculators (1500-1750) and the "prolonged and painful birth" of the limited-liability joint-stock company (1750-1862) before shifting their and the reader's attention to the rise of big business in America (1862-1913), the rise of big business in Britain, Germany, and Japan (1850-1950), the triumph of managerial capitalism (1913-1975), and what they characterize as "the corporate paradox" (1975-2002) before examining "agents of influence: multinationals (1850-2002) in the final chapter. All this, and done very well indeed, in less than 200 pages!
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