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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Overview

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 ...

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

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Overview

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 number-one 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 Charles Fishman 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 former executives; he entered 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Whether you love or hate Wal-Mart, you can't avoid reading about it. Considering that at least seven titles on the retailing behemoth were published just in 2005, what else could there be to say? Quite a lot, actually. Fishman (senior editor, Fast Company) has compiled a compelling and balanced report on Wal-Mart. Via a combination of startling statistics, personal stories from Wal-Mart founders, suppliers, and employees, and revelations about the social costs required for those low, low prices, he gives us a view into the world of discount retailing much as Eric Schlosser did for the food service industry in his expos , Fast Food Nation. Through it all, Fishman focuses on the larger picture, the "Wal-Mart effect," outlining how the sheer size and scale of the company leads to changes in labor relations, economics, environmental conditions, and consumer behavior, not just in the United States but globally. For example, Wal-Mart's rigorous adherence to low prices for its goods has contributed significantly to the growth of factory jobs overseas, rather than in the United States. Overall, this is a fascinating look into Wal-Mart and its "effects" on us all. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Susan Hurst, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400132232
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 9 hrs 30 min, 8 CDs
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Fishman, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Wal-Mart Effect, a finalist for the Goldman Sachs-Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award, has worked for the innovative business magazine Fast Company since 1996.

Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    this book is awsome

    The Wal- Mart Effect By: Charles Fishman From the beginning of Wal ¿ Mart to present day, Charles Fishman will take you on a tour of Wal- marts growing effect on the economy. It¿s how Wal ¿ Mart effects the companies they buy from, their employees, and even you. This book has insider stories, as well as well researched graphs and studies to show the modern family what it really means to have low prices. This book was well written, full of information, and very insightful. 9 out of 10. Zach

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    Charles Fishman does a good job summarizing the 'effects' of the world's largest retailer - all the way down the value chain: end user prices, supplier costs, worker conditions at home and abroad, and social/environmental impacts. In the end, he proposes a solution to deal with such mega-corporations: a change in securities law that requires more transparency. A previous reviewer stated his concerns over increased governmental regulation -- likening it to 'wolves to handle your stray dog problem.' However, I tend to agree with the author that we do not have adequate rules to deal with the relatively new phenomena of mega-corporations -- ones that have attained monopsony control over the market. We have strict laws to deal with monopolies - situations where one 'seller' has significant control over the market. It is not unreasonable to propose greater oversight in situations where one 'buyer' has significant control, either.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006

    A Musssst Read!!!!!!!!!

    Should be required reading for any business person, student or consumer. Our business environment is changing and it is not just happening in the electronic/computer arena.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2006

    must read

    I loved this book. It was not an insight of the inner workings of Walmart, but a view of how Walmart has changed the world and how we do business. This book is enlightening to the global impact of business today -- the advantages, the consequences of the world economy and the importance of corporate responsibility and accountability.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2010

    Eye opener

    This book is a great read for anyone that ever wanted to de-mystify the WalMart Empire. It is factual and unbiased. I leared a great deal about WalMart and the global impacts this retailer has on the world economy.

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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