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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works -- and How It's Transforming the American Economy

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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works -- and How It's Transforming the American Economy Cover

ISBN13: 9781594200762
ISBN10: 1594200769
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

"In The Wal-Mart Effect, Charles Fishman does a commendable job of connecting the various strands (or tentacles if you're not an aficionado of the company) of a corporate ecosystem that affects suppliers, customers, employees, even people who never set foot in a Wal-Mart. The ultimate thesis is that there is a high cost to the low prices that Wal-Mart offers." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Publisher Comments:

An award-winning journalist breaks through the wall of secrecy to reveal the many astonishing ways Wal-Mart's power affects our lives and reaches all around the world.

The Wal-Mart Effect: The overwhelming impact of the world's largest company--due to its relentless pursuit of low prices--on retailers and manufacturers, wages and jobs, the culture of shopping, the shape of our communities, and the environment; a global force of unprecedented nature. Wal-Mart is not only the world's largest company; it is also the largest company in the history of the world. Americans spend $26 million every hour at Wal-Mart, twenty-four hours of every day, every day of the year. Is the company a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, market guru Warren Buffett estimates that the company's low prices save American consumers $10 billion a year. On the other, the behemoth is the #1 employer in thirty-seven of the fifty states yet has never let a union in the door.

Though 70 percent of Americans now live within a fifteen-minute drive of a Wal-Mart store, we have not even begun to understand the true power of the company and the many ways it is shaping American life. We know about the lawsuits and the labor protests, but what we don't know is how profoundly the "Wal-Mart effect" is shaping our lives.

Fast Company senior editor Fishman, whose revelatory cover story on Wal-Mart generated the strongest reader response in the history of the magazine, takes us on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes investigative expedition deep inside the many worlds of Wal-Mart. He reveals the radical ways in which the company is transforming America's economy, our workforce, our communities, and our environment. Fishman penetrated the secrecy of Wal-Mart headquarters, interviewing twenty-five high-level ex-executives; he journeyed into the world of a host of Wal-Mart's suppliers to uncover how the company strong-arms even the most established brands; and journeyed to the ports and factories, the fields and forests where Wal-Mart's power is warping the very structure of the world's market for goods. Wal-Mart is not just a retailer anymore, Fishman argues. It has become a kind of economic ecosystem, and anyone who wants to understand the forces shaping our world today must understand the company's hidden reach.

Review:

"Fishman shops at Wal-Mart and has obvious affection for its price-cutting, hard-nosed ethos. He also understands that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past 20 years. He's careful to present the consumer benefits of Wal-Mart's staggering growth and to place Wal-Mart in the larger context of globalization and the rise of mega-corporations. But he also presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid. Through interviews with former Wal-Mart insiders and current suppliers, Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas. He surveys the research on Wal-Mart's effects on local retailers, details the environmental impact of its farm-raised salmon and exposes the abuse of workers in a supplier's Bangladesh factory. In Fishman's view, the 'Wal-Mart effect' is double-edged: consumers benefit from lower prices, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has the power of life and death over its suppliers. Wal-Mart, he suggests, is too big to be subject to market forces or traditional rules. In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Fishman shops at Wal-Mart and has obvious affection for its price-cutting, hard-nosed ethos. He also understands that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past 20 years. He's careful to present the consumer benefits of Wal-Mart's staggering growth and to place Wal-Mart in the larger context of globalization and the rise of mega-corporations. But he also presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid. Through interviews with former Wal-Mart insiders and current suppliers, Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas. He surveys the research on Wal-Mart's effects on local retailers, details the environmental impact of its farm-raised salmon and exposes the abuse of workers in a supplier's Bangladesh factory. In Fishman's view, the "Wal-Mart effect" is double-edged: consumers benefit from lower prices, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has the power of life and death over its suppliers. Wal-Mart, he suggests, is too big to be subject to market forces or traditional rules. In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled.

Publishers Weekly. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review:

"[A] fascinating look into Wal-Mart and its 'effects' on us all." Library Journal

Review:

"Based on my reading, no Wal-Mart book author has come close to achieving 'superb,' until now....[A]lmost certainly the best yet, as measured by depth and breadth of research, writing style and evenhanded treatment." Denver Post

Review:

"A fascinating dissection of the most controversial corporation in America today....The Wal-Mart Effect may seem breathless at times, but perhaps it's because the author can't help but marvel at the unlikely influence one dry-goods purveyor in the Ozarks has exerted on the planet." Baltimore Sun

Review:

"Journalist Charles Fishman has done himself proud with this painstakingly researched, solidly reported, incisive study. Wal-Mart is an easy target of polemicists, but Fishman doesn't join them." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Most of Fishman's material comes from former Wal-Mart employees and from companies no longer doing business with Wal-Mart. That skews much of his argument. Still, the sheer size of the company and the mind-boggling figures that show the chain's impact are impressive." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Book News Annotation:

From interviews with former Wal-Mart executives, those who do business with the retail giant, and an economist who compiled the scarce data available, a business journalist who wrote an award- winning story on the company examines issues behind the reactions that it evokes. Regarding it as a transformative company (like U.S. Steel was in the 19th century), Fishman argues that the issues raised by Wal-Mart's supporters and detractors should be the subject of national debate: e.g., business freedom vs. impact on local community interests, inexpensive prices vs. living wage jobs.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

From interviews with former Wal-Mart executives, those who do business with the retail giant, and an economist who compiled the scarce data available, a business journalist who wrote an award- winning story on the company examines issues behind the reactions that it evokes. Regarding it as a transformative company (like U.S. Steel was in the 19th century), Fishman argues that the issues raised by Wal-Mart's supporters and detractors should be the subject of national debate: e.g., business freedom vs. impact on local community interests, inexpensive prices vs. living wage jobs. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Wal-Mart isn’t just the world’s biggest company, it is probably the world’s most written-about. But no book until this one has managed to penetrate its wall of silence or go beyond the usual polemics to analyze its actual effects on its customers, workers, and suppliers. Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data (e.g., Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores, and in 2004 its growth alone was bigger than the total revenue of 469 of the Fortune 500), The Wal-Mart Effect is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping our lives.

About the Author

Charles Fishman is a senior editor at Fast Company. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award, the highest award in business journalism, and he had been a finalist for the Loeb in three of the last four years. In 2004 his story about Wal-Mart was given the New York Press Club's award for the best magazine story about business. He has appeared regularly on NPR, CNN, and Fox News

Table of Contents

The Wal-Mart Effect One. Who Knew Shopping Was So Important?

Two. Sam Walton's Ten-Pound Bass

Three. Makin Bacon, A Wal-Mart Fairy Tale

Four. The Squeeze

Five. The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

Six. What Do We Actually Know About Wal-Mart?

Seven. Salmon, Shirts, and the Meaning of Low Prices

Eight. The Power of Pennies

Nine. Wal-Mart and the Decent Society

Epilogue. Peoria, September 2005

Afterword

Acknowledgments

Source Notes

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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sachinvalecha2905, February 11, 2009 (view all comments by sachinvalecha2905)
thats a niceone
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200762
Subtitle:
How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy
Author:
Fishman, Charles
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Management
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Business Ethics
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Discount houses (retail trade)
Subject:
Corporate & Business History - Strategies
Subject:
Industries - Retailing
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Economic History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20061226
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.4 x 1.08 in 1.2 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Business » Business Profiles
Business » History and Biographies
Business » Writing

The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works -- and How It's Transforming the American Economy Used Hardcover
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$17.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages PENGUIN PUTNAM TRADE - English 9781594200762 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Fishman shops at Wal-Mart and has obvious affection for its price-cutting, hard-nosed ethos. He also understands that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past 20 years. He's careful to present the consumer benefits of Wal-Mart's staggering growth and to place Wal-Mart in the larger context of globalization and the rise of mega-corporations. But he also presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid. Through interviews with former Wal-Mart insiders and current suppliers, Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas. He surveys the research on Wal-Mart's effects on local retailers, details the environmental impact of its farm-raised salmon and exposes the abuse of workers in a supplier's Bangladesh factory. In Fishman's view, the 'Wal-Mart effect' is double-edged: consumers benefit from lower prices, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has the power of life and death over its suppliers. Wal-Mart, he suggests, is too big to be subject to market forces or traditional rules. In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , Fishman shops at Wal-Mart and has obvious affection for its price-cutting, hard-nosed ethos. He also understands that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past 20 years. He's careful to present the consumer benefits of Wal-Mart's staggering growth and to place Wal-Mart in the larger context of globalization and the rise of mega-corporations. But he also presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid. Through interviews with former Wal-Mart insiders and current suppliers, Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas. He surveys the research on Wal-Mart's effects on local retailers, details the environmental impact of its farm-raised salmon and exposes the abuse of workers in a supplier's Bangladesh factory. In Fishman's view, the "Wal-Mart effect" is double-edged: consumers benefit from lower prices, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has the power of life and death over its suppliers. Wal-Mart, he suggests, is too big to be subject to market forces or traditional rules. In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled.

Publishers Weekly. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

"Review" by , "[A] fascinating look into Wal-Mart and its 'effects' on us all."
"Review" by , "Based on my reading, no Wal-Mart book author has come close to achieving 'superb,' until now....[A]lmost certainly the best yet, as measured by depth and breadth of research, writing style and evenhanded treatment."
"Review" by , "A fascinating dissection of the most controversial corporation in America today....The Wal-Mart Effect may seem breathless at times, but perhaps it's because the author can't help but marvel at the unlikely influence one dry-goods purveyor in the Ozarks has exerted on the planet."
"Review" by , "Journalist Charles Fishman has done himself proud with this painstakingly researched, solidly reported, incisive study. Wal-Mart is an easy target of polemicists, but Fishman doesn't join them."
"Review" by , "Most of Fishman's material comes from former Wal-Mart employees and from companies no longer doing business with Wal-Mart. That skews much of his argument. Still, the sheer size of the company and the mind-boggling figures that show the chain's impact are impressive."
"Synopsis" by ,
Wal-Mart isn’t just the world’s biggest company, it is probably the world’s most written-about. But no book until this one has managed to penetrate its wall of silence or go beyond the usual polemics to analyze its actual effects on its customers, workers, and suppliers. Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data (e.g., Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores, and in 2004 its growth alone was bigger than the total revenue of 469 of the Fortune 500), The Wal-Mart Effect is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping our lives.

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