Biz-history lesson

The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge, 2003

HBS Working Knowledge just alerted me to this new book by 2 Economist editors.

“The most important organization in the world is the company: the basis of the prosperity of the West and the best hope for the future of the rest of the world.” And so John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, editors at the Economist, begin their account of the rise of this most “remarkable institution.” Reporting on over 5,000 years’ worth of company history, from the Sumerian families who traded along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Mesopotamia in 3000 BC to today’s multinational corporations, the authors provide an absorbing, but surprisingly concise, narrative of the influences of the company in shaping our world. Filled with fascinating literary and cultural references, the reader is guided on a journey that includes the medieval guilds of northern Europe, the British and Dutch chartered and joint-stock companies, and nineteenth century American railroad companies

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