2008 First Year Seminar Program Selection for John Carroll University
Winner, 2004 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine
From the acclaimed authors of A Future Perfect comes the untold story of how the company became the world’s most powerful institution.
Like all groundbreaking books, The Company fills a hole we didn’t know existed, revealing that we cannot make sense of the past four hundred years until we place that seemingly humble Victorian innovation, the joint-stock company, in the center of the frame.
With their trademark authority and wit, Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge reveal the company to be one of history’s great catalysts, for good and for ill, a mighty engine for sucking in, recombining, and pumping out money, goods, people, and culture to every corner of the globe. What other earthly invention has the power to grow to any size, and to live to any age? What else could have given us both the stock market and the British Empire? The company man, the company town, and company time? Disneyfication and McDonald’sization, to say nothing of Coca-colonialism? Through its many mutations, the company has always incited controversy, and governments have always fought to rein it in. Today, though Marx may spin in his grave and anarchists riot in the streets, the company exercises an unparalleled influence on the globe, and understanding what this creature is and where it comes from has never been a more pressing matter. To the rescue come these acclaimed authors, with a short volume of truly vast range and insight.
“The limited-liability joint-stock company is a very marvel of the modern world economy, a historical force to rival religions, monarchies, and even states. The Company tells the colorful story of its birth and maturation—and its pervasive social and cultural consequences—with rare concision and flair.”
—David M. Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear and professor of history at Stanford University
“A fascinating and delightful investigation both of how the guilds and ‘corporate persons’ of the Middle Ages turned into the institution from which so many people today directly and indirectly earn their daily bread and of the issues facing the company in the twenty-first century.”
—Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize and coauthor of The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
"Rich in notes, concise yet complete, thoroughly objective, and written to inform and engage a wide range of readers, The Company is a wonderful addition to the business history of literature."
—Choice (American Library Association)
John Micklethwait oversees coverage of the United States for The Economist. He lives in London.
Adrian Wooldridge works for The Economist in Washington, D.C. They are coauthors of A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization and The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus.