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The Wal-Mart Effect

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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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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400102235
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 9 hrs 30 min, 8 CDs
  • Sales rank: 1,171,641
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 5.30 (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 4
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Vote with your money!!

    Sure the prices may be cheap, but at what cost? Why is Wal-Mart able to offer such low prices? The Wal-Mart Effect gives you the opportunity to become an informed shopper. You can still choose the low prices but at least you will know how they got so low and who is paying the price!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Engrossing and Enlightening

    There has been enough written about Wal-Mart to make one wonder if Sam Walton really longed to rule the world. But none of its predecessors is as rich in detail, statistics and analytical insight as Charles Fishman's The Wal-Mart Effect. The years the author spent researching the retail behemoth (and the details of the difficulty of said research are a very interesting and telling backdrop) and its ripple effect were well worth the effort as Fishman has produced a book that should be as welcome in a university classroom as on any reader's bookshelf.

    Beginning at the beginning, Fishman details the founding of Wal-Mart in small-town Arkansas and follows by drawing the reader outward in ever more fascinating spirals of influence. I would never have guessed that Sam Walton took the cardboard carton off my deodorant stick. Nor would I have connected the slump in one of Britain's mining fields with Wal-Mart's furniture sales. By the end, I wondered if everything in my life is actually in some way Wal-Mart related despite the fact that I rarely shop in the nearby store. Fishman takes the reader from the simple past and a decision made by one man in a Southern town into a present (and, soon, a future) that swings on the hook of Wal-Mart's salmon sales.

    There is no obvious agenda in this book as in so many others on the subject. Fishman neither vilifies nor praises Wal-Mart, which is refreshing. He simply describes in detail its genesis and its functioning in our present society and leaves the reader to ponder the long-term effects that are, in some areas, unnerving. This is a worthwhile exercise, as, when all is told, no one in the world will remain untouched by the Wal-Mart Effect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2010

    Excellent

    very informative and interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2009

    Provocative Read

    A concise, reasonably balanced picture of the "good" and "challenges" of the Wal-Mart paradigm. Book ends a little more negatively than it started, but that seems to reflect the real-life trend of the company and the American relationship with it. Not a "Wal-Mart basher" book, but a book that quickly informs and should get folks thinking a bit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

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