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The Living Company: Growth, Learning and Longevity in Business Paperback – 8 Apr 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing; New Ed edition (8 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857881850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857881851
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 727,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The average life span of a Fortune 500 company is less than half a century, yet there also are corporations around the world that have been in business for 200, 500, even 700 years. Arie de Geus, a retired Royal Dutch/Shell Group executive, maintains after studying both extremes that the most enduring treat their businesses as "living work communities" rather than pure economic machines. The Living Company: Growth, Learning and Longevity in Business persuasively outlines his resultant prescription for organisational longevity. --Amazon.com


The Living Company is eminently readable. The style is conversational and jargon-free. While it is reflective and thoughtful, it is always relevant, meaningful and deals with issues of central significance to organisations today. For those interested in the bigger picture, this book provides a wonderful landscape. (Doron Gunzburg Monash Business Review)

This is a thoughtful, reflective and philosophical book. It does not prescribe quick fixes. The author draws on rich imagery from agriculture, horticulture, psychology and nature. For example, he explores how the blue tit learned to pierce aluminium milk bottle tops, while the robin didn’t. The organizational issue from this is how learning is distributed and passed on. The author’s experience and reflection as articulated in this book provide a valuable resource for further insight and understand- ing of how organisations survive, learn and flourish. (David Coughlan Leadership & Organisation Development Journal)

Arie de Geus is an international figure who has not only been a key influence on scenario planning, but is also credited with originating the concept of the learning organisation. The world, or at least part of it, is ready to hear the message that profits are only a symptom of success and not an end in themselves. Many people want to believe in the wisdom of power-sharing in organisations. Others long for a move away from individualism to a greater emphasis on the importance of community. But the book also sells because it is based on experience and is incredibly well written by a man whose con- versation and manner are compelling. (Jane Pickard People Management)

Reading The Living Company is a refreshing experience in a period when conventional wisdom emphasises short-term returns on capital; it should be read by all those who think that there is more to business than that. (Russell Sparkes RSA Journal)

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6 customer reviews

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13 December 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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28 January 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
18 February 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
5 February 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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Format: Paperback
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