The Wal-Mart Effect

  • by Charles Fishman
  • Narrated by Alan Sklar
  • 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data - such as that Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores - this is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping the American economy.Wal-Mart is not only the world's largest company; it is also the largest company in the history of the world. Though 70 percent of Americans now live within a 15-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. Fishman penetrated the secrecy of Wal-Mart headquarters, interviewing 25 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 he 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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)
"He brings to light the serious repercussions that are occurring as consumers and suppliers have become locked in an addiction to massive sales of cheaper and cheaper goods." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent, Balanced View

I'd read the article Fishman wrote in Wired a couple years back, so I was interested to learn more. The book was a nice, balanced look into what makes Wal-Mart tick, and some of the repercussions of their single minded drive to lower prices. While I was interested in the subject, I'm more of a fiction book reader, so I wasn't sure if I'd stick with a long non fiction book on business. Surprisingly, it went by fairly quickly, kept my interest the whole time.
If you're a Wal-Mart hater, you'll find ammunition in there, especially with regards to cheap salmon and gallon jars of Vlasic pickles. If you're a hard core capitalist, you'll appreaciate the fact that shopping at Wal-Mart saves many, many families a good deal of money due to their focus on lowered prices.

By chance, I listened to this soon after after re-reading "Atlas Shrugged". It made for some interesting mental comparisons.
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- Michael

Amazing

Since I work at Walmart I have found this book so interesting. I am only half way though it and am captured by all the ways in which Walmart started. I also know the day to day routine of Walmart so I am hoping the last half of the book will detail my daily life. As with all jobs it's a 50/50 kind of place to work, I am thankful they hired me since I am an older person but find they are all talk and no action. I hope more will listen to this book and learn from it. I have also purchased the book for my hearing impaired friends to read....
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- Kenneth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-14-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio