Bookcase : Companies that Changed the World

• Jonathan Mantle
• Quercus
• RRP $45.00

Companies that Changed the World is wander through 400 years, several continents, 50 companies and an almost unimaginable amount of social and economic change.
Jonathan Mantle starts in England in 1600 with the granting of royal charter to the ‘Honourable East India Company’ and ends in 1998 America with Google and its online quest. Along the way, he provides snapshots of all manner of business organisations, from Thomas Cook and Singer to Bic and Al Jazeera.
The ‘company’, Mantle explains, was originally vehicle for entrepreneurs, established to serve the public good. But from the 19th century, ‘corporations’ developed as result of the integration of mass production and mass distribution. These corporations did not invent things (such as the steam engine or the internal combustion engine) they merely capitalised on them, meaning priorities changed from focus on the public good to the wealth of the corporations’ private owners.
Mantle says many believe this era of ‘managerial capitalism’ is coming to an end, as people rebel against the culture of executives, shareholders and mergers and seek out entrepreneurs and smaller organisations.
A fascinating book which will whet your appetite for more information – and cause many arguments about which companies were left out and why.

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