The Company

  • by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • 6 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In The Company, the largely unknown history of the joint-stock company is presented by the editors of Economist. One of history's greatest catalysts, the joint-stock company has dramatically changed the way human beings live, work, and conduct business. With companies now affecting the world on a global scale, it is more pressing than ever before to understand this driving force. A concise and entertaining Modern Library Classic, The Company is a fascinating listen with a reading from narrator Jonathan Davis.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

unique history with a unique perspective

The Company is a must-read book for anyone enmeshed in corporate America (or corporate-anywhere) because it explains how we got here, as organization-man and why we are organized in the way we are. The institution of the stock company stretches back for a thousand years or more, but the recognizable roots are back in the 1600s and 1700s. Micklethwait & Wooldridge bring this otherwise dusty history alive for us, showing the reader that the organizational challenges we face today in a corporatist society are not new, and that solutions to problems we believe are unique to ourselves have been found in other situations and other eras. I felt that this book gave me great perspective on the organization I work in and about the organizations we regulate and serve. It was useful as an intellectual diversion but also as something I can use to help guide my work in my everyday job.

The prospective reader need not be wary of this being some very very long article out of the Harvard Business Review or a more popular business magazine like the Economist (where the two authors are employed). This book uses history intertwined with interesting anecdote to keep this story interesting throughout.

Not everything about this audiobook was perfect. This book may not have been ideally suited to be conveyed in audio form because of its density of detail. To help myself along, I borrowed the hardbound volume from the library, and skimmed it in segments interspersed with listening. I don?t think I would have read the book had I not encountered this volume on Audible, but neither would I have been able to absorb it to my own satisfaction without the crutch of the hardbound book. Others with more familiarity with the subject matter may be able to do without this crutch.

I recommend the book highly to those seriously interested in the institutions we take for granted that are all around us.

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- D. Littman "history buff"


I thought this book would help me better understand current corporations, their structures, and how they operate. But, it's really just a history lesson of business from last 400 years. I'm not really interested in the operations of the wig party or how the steel workers union formed in late 1800's formed. I was hoping to understand how Milken and Enron happened and help me understand todays business structures. The information is good and the narrator good but I was looking for different content so I'm partly at fault. If you want 11th grade history go for it.
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-05-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books