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The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business [Hardcover]

Duff McDonald
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Sep 2013

They helped invent the bar code. They revolutionized business schools and created the corporate practices that now rule our world. They reinvented the idea of American capitalism and aggressively exported it across the globe. McKinsey employees are trusted and distrusted, loved and despised. They are doing behind-the-scenes work for the most powerful people in the world, and their ranks of alumni include the chairman of HSBC and William Hague.

Renowned financial journalist Duff McDonald uncovers how these high-priced business savants have ushered in waves of structural, financial, and technological shifts but also become mired in controversy across the years. Discover how the firm both endorsed and celebrated Enron’s disastrous corporate structure and how they’ve been instrumental in the Coalition’s controversial NHS reforms. Are they worth their astronomical fees? And what do firms and governments actually get for their money? Based on exclusive interviews with key McKinsey players and written in gripping prose, this is a revealing window onto one of the most secretive and powerful companies in the world.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (10 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439190976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439190975
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Fascinating. If you want to know what it is about the culture of the firm that sets it apart and has made it so successful, read this book.'

(Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lords of Finance)

'A superb examination of one of the most powerful, secretive, and least understood organizations on the planet.'

(William D. Cohan, bestselling author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World)

'Timely.… A fast-paced account of a key business institution, its deeds and misdeeds.'

(Kirkus Reviews)

'Revealing… McDonald combines a lucid chronicle of McKinsey’s growth and boardroom melodramas.'

(Publishers Weekly)

'This is critical reading for anyone who wants to understand how the world of business really works.'

(Bethany McLean, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller All the Devils Are Here)

'Thought-provoking… offers a fascinating look behind the company’s success.' 

(Andrew Ross Sorkin New York Times)

'An up-to-date, full-blown history, told with wit and clarity…'

(Wall Street Journal)

'At a stroke, McDonald sums up the attraction of McKinsey to the world’s largest companies, the mystique surrounding its methods, the envy it inspires in competitors and the anger it sometimes incites…  a very readable account.'

(Financial Times)

'[An] admiring book that nevertheless asks hard questions about the organization’s future.'

(The Economist)

‘Is this a good book? Yes. It is meticulously researched, well-written, and comprehensive and balanced. Is it enjoyable? Yes.’ 

(Management Today)

'Quickly, McDonald gets into his stride... a rattling good read.'

(The Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Duff McDonald is a journalist and the author of Last Man Standing, a biography of JPMorgan Chase CEO and chairman, Jamie Dimon. A contributing editor at Fortune magazine and the New York Observer, he has written for Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Wired, and Time, and has been awarded two Canadian National Magazine Awards. He lives in New York.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Story 9 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As an employee of no less than three large UK-located businesses in the period 1960 to 1990 which were clients of "The Firm" I was both entertained and educated by this book. It explained a great deal about their methodology and faithfully traced the changes made over the period I experienced. I consider it required reading for any management consultant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In Truth Not Beached 23 Jun 2014
Well-written, and its own considered way a vital addition to the general debate on globalisation and the further transfer of power to international elites.

The prose slightly lacks passion, although the very manicured calm of the company being profiled must represent a great inhibitor of a more lively piece of work. The basics of the story are definitely there, including interesting vignettes on the (implied and definitely odds-on) fighting of company elections for leadership positions through the pages of major publications, and also the sense that (and this may not persist) that for now many in McKinsey feel slightly beached, with the real action at Apple, Google, and other technology firms.

The rejoinder to that is that McKinsey’s networks extend so far and so widely that the company’s influence, although adapted, remains formidable, making Mr McDonald’s well-researched book a much prized guide.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight 7 April 2014
By Conall
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written and compelling read.
A real insight into one of the most influential organisations in the world of leadership.
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