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Corporate & Business History

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  1. 16.0 hrs • 7/8/2016 • Unabridged

    The Paul Volker Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington Post journalist Sebastian Mallaby has garnered New York Times Editor’s Choice and Notable Book honors for his enthralling nonfiction. Bolstered by Mallaby’s unprecedented access to the industry, More Money Than God tells the inside story of hedge funds, from their origins in the 1960s and 1970s to their role in the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

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    More Money Than God

    16.0 hrs • 7/8/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 18.8 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    The incredible story of Iridium—the most complex satellite system ever built, the cell phone of the future, and one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in American history—and one man’s desperate race to save it. In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American technology company, developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Light years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars,” Iridium’s constellation of sixty-six satellites in polar orbit meant that no matter where you were on Earth, at least one satellite was always overhead, and you could call Tibet from Fiji without a delay and without your call ever touching a wire. Iridium the satellite system was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month, and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.” That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. In Eccentric Orbits, John Bloom masterfully traces the conception, development, and launching of Iridium and Colussy’s tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, the Pentagon, and the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue—anyone who would need a durable phone at the end of the Earth. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.

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    Eccentric Orbits by John Bloom

    Eccentric Orbits

    18.8 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.9 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    The incredible tale of how ambitious oil rivals Marcus Samuel Jr. and Henri Deterding joined forces to topple the Standard Oil empire Marcus Samuel Jr. is an unorthodox Jewish merchant trader. Henri Deterding is a take-no-prisoners oilman. In 1889, John D. Rockefeller is at the peak of his power. Having annihilated all competition and possessing near-total domination of the market, even the US government is wary of challenging the great “anaconda” of Standard Oil. The Standard never loses—that is until Samuel and Deterding team up to form Royal Dutch Shell. A riveting account of ambition, oil, and greed, Breaking Rockefeller traces Samuel’s rise from outsider to the heights of the British aristocracy, Deterding’s conquest of America, and the collapse of Rockefeller’s monopoly. The beginning of the twentieth century is a time when vast fortunes were made and lost. Taking readers through the rough and tumble of East London’s streets, the twilight turmoil of czarist Russia, to the halls of the British Parliament, and right down Broadway in New York City, Peter Doran offers a richly detailed, fresh perspective on how Samuel and Deterding beat the world’s richest man at his own game.

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    Breaking Rockefeller

    9.9 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    5.3 hrs • 3/8/2016 • Unabridged

    With $1,500 and no business experience, Mel and Patricia Ziegler turned a wild idea into a company that would become the international retail colossus Banana Republic. Reimagining military surplus as safari and expedition wear, the former journalist and artist created a world that captured the zeitgeist for a generation and spoke to the creativity, adventure, and independence in everyone. In a book that’s honest, funny, and charming, Mel and Patricia tell in alternating voices how they upended business conventions and survived on their wits and imagination. Many retail and fashion merchants still consider Banana Republic’s early heyday to be one of the most remarkable stories in fashion and business history. The couple detail how, as “professional amateurs,” they developed the wildly original merchandise and marketing innovations that broke all retail records and produced what has been acclaimed by industry professionals to be “the best catalog of all time.” A love story wrapped in a business adventure, Wild Company is a soulful, inspiring tale for listeners determined to create their own destiny with a passion for life, work, and fun.

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    Wild Company by Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler

    Wild Company

    5.3 hrs • 3/8/16 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  5. 10.2 hrs • 2/23/2016 • Unabridged

    A sharp and illuminating history of one of capitalism’s longest-running tensions—the conflicts of interest among public company directors, managers, and shareholders—told through entertaining case studies and original letters from some of our most legendary and controversial investors and activists. Recent disputes between shareholders and major corporations, including Apple and DuPont, have made headlines. But the struggle between management and those who own stock has been going on for nearly a century. Mixing never-before-published and rare, original letters from Wall Street icons—including Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, Carl Icahn, and Daniel Loeb—with masterful scholarship and professional insight, Dear Chairman traces the rise in shareholder activism from the 1920s to today, and provides an invaluable and unprecedented perspective on what it means to be a public company, including how they work and who is really in control. Jeff Gramm analyzes different eras and pivotal boardroom battles from the last century to understand the factors that have caused shareholders and management to collide. Throughout, he uses the letters to show how investors interact with directors and managers, how they think about their target companies, and how they plan to profit. Each is a fascinating example of capitalism at work told through the voices of its most colorful, influential participants. A hedge fund manager and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, Gramm has spent as much time evaluating CEOs and directors as he has trying to understand and value businesses. He has seen public companies that are poorly run, and some that willfully disenfranchise their shareholders. While he pays tribute to the ingenuity of public company investors, Gramm also exposes examples of shareholder activism at its very worst, when hedge funds engineer stealthy land-grabs at the expense of a company’s long-term prospects. Ultimately, he provides a thorough, much-needed understanding of the public company/shareholder relationship for investors, managers, and everyone concerned with the future of capitalism.

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    Dear Chairman

    10.2 hrs • 2/23/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 18.1 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    Microsoft commands the high ground of the information superhighway by owning the operating systems and basic applications programs that run on hundreds of millions of computers around the world. Beyond the unquestioned genius and vision of Bill Gates, what accounts for Microsoft’s astounding success? Drawing on almost two years of on-site observation at Microsoft headquarters, eminent scientists Michael A. Cusumano and Richard W. Selby reveal many of Microsoft’s innermost secrets. This inside report, based on forty in-depth interviews by authors who had access to confidential documents and project data, outlines the seven complementary strategies that characterize exactly how Microsoft competes and operates, including the “Brain Trust” of talented employees and exceptional management; “bang for the buck” competitive strategies and clear organizational goals that produce self-critiquing, learning, and improving; a flexible, incremental approach to product development; and a relentless pursuit of future markets. Cusumano and Selby’s masterful analysis successfully uncovers the distinctive way in which Microsoft has combined all of the elements necessary to get to the top of an enormously important industry—and stay there.

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    Microsoft Secrets by Michael A. Cusumano, Richard W. Selby

    Microsoft Secrets

    18.1 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 3.7 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    IBM is in serious trouble. Big Blue, as the company is known, tends to rely on magical thinking for its success, but that magic ran out a long time ago. The trouble began back in the 1990s and IBM had to hire, for the first time, an outside CEO. Lou Gerstner saved the day, pushing IBM into services with spectacular results, but not without consequence. As services became commoditized, IBM could compete only by offshoring the work. Quality suffered. In addition, Gerstner’s compensation was very high, which impacted IBM negatively. In IBM history, only the Watson family hit rich running IBM. Later CEOs, like John Opel and John Akers, lived comfortable lives with many perks, but weren’t big rich. That changed with Gerstner. IBM has essentially sacrificed both its customers and its employees in the name of earnings. The company has cut labor to the bone, offshored as much as possible, and dropped quality. Acquisitions are deliberately underbid, the under-delivered. These moves, combined with share buybacks, have kept earnings growing until recently, when the house of cards began to fall. IBM’s current CEO, Ginni Rometty, has outlined an earning goal for 2015 and she is not afraid to destroy the company to achieve it. This book outlines IBM’s fall from grace, where the company is heading, and what can be done to save IBM before it’s too late.

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    The Decline and Fall of IBM

    3.7 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.7 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged
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    America's Bank

    9.7 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 5.7 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    We’ve all read about the experts: the artists, the scientists, the engineers—that special group of people known as Imagineers for the Walt Disney Company. But who are they? How did they join the team? What is it like to spend a day in their shoes? Disney legend Marty Sklar wants to give back to fans and answer these burning questions. When Marty was president of Walt Disney Imagineering, he created a list of principles and ideals for the team, aptly named Mickey’s Ten Commandments. Using this code of standards as his organizational flow, Marty provides listeners with insights and advice from himself and dozens of hands-on Imagineers from around the globe. It’s a true insider’s look like no other.

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    One Little Spark!

    5.7 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    11.5 hrs • 5/26/2015 • Unabridged

    In 2009 BlackBerry controlled half of the smartphone market. Today that number is 1 percent. What went so wrong? Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway. With unprecedented access to key players, senior executives, directors, and competitors, Losing the Signal unveils the remarkable rise of a company that started above a bagel shop in Ontario. At the heart of the story is an unlikely partnership between a visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business School grad, Jim Balsillie. Together they engineered a pioneering pocket email device that became the tool of choice for presidents and CEOs. The partnership enjoyed only a brief moment on top of the world, however. At the very moment BlackBerry was ranked the world’s fastest-growing company, internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced its gravest test: Apple and Google’s entry into mobile phones. Expertly told by acclaimed journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, this is an entertaining, whirlwind narrative that goes behind the scenes to reveal one of the most compelling business stories of the new century.

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    Losing the Signal by Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff

    Losing the Signal

    11.5 hrs • 5/26/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 10.8 hrs • 5/19/2015 • Unabridged

    A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age. Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper’s brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement. The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped it from growing into a technology worth billions of dollars, supported by the hordes of followers who have come to view it as the most important new idea since the creation of the Internet. Believers from Beijing to Buenos Aires see the potential for a financial system free from banks and governments. More than just a tech industry fad, Bitcoin has threatened to decentralize some of society’s most basic institutions. An unusual tale of group invention, Digital Gold charts the rise of the Bitcoin technology through the eyes of the movement’s colorful central characters, including a British anarchist, an Argentinian millionaire, a Chinese entrepreneur, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Bitcoin’s elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin has already led to untold riches for some, and prison terms for others.

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    Digital Gold

    10.8 hrs • 5/19/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 8.6 hrs • 3/3/2015 • Unabridged

    A bestselling journalist delivers the never-before-told story of the plush-animal craze that became the mania of the 1990s In the annals of consumer crazes, nothing compares to Beanie Babies. In just three years, collectors who saw the toys as a means of speculation made a billionaire of creator Ty Warner, an eccentric college dropout—without advertising or big-box distribution. Beanie Babies were ten percent of eBay’s sales in its early days, with an average selling price of $30—six times the retail price. At the peak of the bubble in 1999, Warner reported a personal income of $662 million—more than Hasbro and Mattel combined. The end of the craze was swift and devastating, with “rare” Beanie Babies deemed worthless as quickly as they’d once been deemed priceless. Zac Bissonnette draws on hundreds of interviews, including a visit to a man who lives with his 40,000 Ty products and an in-prison interview with a guy who killed a coworker over a Beanie Baby debt, for the first book on the strangest speculative mania of all time.

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    The Great Beanie Baby Bubble

    8.6 hrs • 3/3/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 8.2 hrs • 1/6/2015 • Unabridged

    When it comes to refined service and exquisite hospitality, one name stands high above the rest: the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. With ceaseless attention to every luxurious detail, the company has set the bar for creating memorable customer experiences in world-class settings. Now, for the first time, the leadership secrets behind the company’s extraordinary success are revealed. The New Gold Standard takes you on an exclusive tour behind the scenes of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Granted unprecedented access to the company’s executives, staff, and award-winning Leadership Center training facilities, bestselling author Joseph Michelli explored every level of leadership within the organization. He emerged with the key principles leaders at any company can use to provide a customer experience unlike any other, such as:understanding the ever-evolving needs of customers;empowering employees by treating them with the utmost respect;anticipating customers’ unexpressed needs and concerns;developing and conducting an unsurpassed training regimen. Sharing engaging stories from the company’s employees—from the corporate office and hotels around the globe—Michelli describes the innovative methods the company uses to create peerless guest experiences and explains how it constantly hones and improves them. The New Gold Standard weaves practical how-to advice, proven leadership tools, and the wisdom of experts to help you create and embed superior customer-service principles, processes, and practices in your own organization.

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  14. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    11.4 hrs • 11/3/2014 • Unabridged

    Coke’s insatiable thirst for resources shapes the company and reshapes the globe in this absorbing history. Coca-Cola’s success in building a global empire out of sugary water drew on more than a secret formula and brilliant advertising. The real secret to Coke’s success was its strategy, from the beginning, to offload production costs and risks onto suppliers and franchisees. Outsourcing and a trim corporate profile enabled Coke to scale up production of a low-price beverage and realize huge profits. But the costs shed by Coke have fallen on the public at large. Coke now uses an annual 79 billion gallons of water, an increasingly precious global resource, and its reliance on corn syrup has helped fuel our obesity crisis. Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Citizen Coke became a giant in a world of abundance; in a world of scarcity, it is a strain on resources and all who depend on them.

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    Citizen Coke by Bartow J. Elmore

    Citizen Coke

    11.4 hrs • 11/3/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 5.6 hrs • 11/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The ultimate insider’s look at the newest titans of tech, from the editorial team at Forbes Silicon Valley’s new billionaires are an unconventional breed, turning ideas into money at a rate never before seen in human history. Their ascension proves a turning point in how great fortunes are made and how technology disseminates. Among these golden boys are: Elon Musk, the billionaire bachelor and founder of Paypal, electric carmaker Tesla, and private space company SpaceX; Evan Spiegel, the twenty-three-year-old founder of Snapchat who recently turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook; and Alex Karp, the eccentric philosopher with almost no tech background who turned Palantir into a data-mining champion. Over the last three years, Forbes has published indepth profiles of this new batch of billionaires, including the founders of Spotify, Dropbox, Tumblr, and Twitter. Now, in a compilation introduced and updated by Forbes editor Randall Lane, fans and critics alike will get a comprehensive look at who these super-entrepreneurs are, what they say about their own success, and what their plans are for the future.

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    You Only Have to Be Right Once

    5.6 hrs • 11/1/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.0 hrs • 10/9/2014 • Unabridged

    From Coco Chanel’s iconic tweed suits to the surprising comeback of the miniskirt in the late 1980s, fashion houses reigned for decades as the arbiters of style and the dictators of trends. Hollywood stars have always furthered fashion’s cause of seducing the masses into buying designer clothes by acting as living billboards. But now, forced by the explosion of social media and the accelerating worship of fame, red carpet celebrities are no longer content to just advertise—they are putting their names on labels that reflect the image they (or their stylists) created. Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sean Combs, and a host of pop, sports, and reality show stars of the moment are leveraging the power of their fame to become the face of their own fashion brands, embracing lucrative contracts that keep their images on our screens and their hands on the wheel of a multi-billion dollar industry. And a few celebrities—like the Olsen twins and Victoria Beckham—have gone all the way and reinvented themselves as bonafide designers. Not all celebrities succeed, but in an ever more crowded and clamorous marketplace, it’s increasingly unlikely that any fashion brand will succeed without celebrity involvement—even if designers like Michael Kors have to become celebrities themselves. Teri Agins charts this strange new terrain with wit, insight, and an insider’s access to the fascinating struggles of the bold-type names and their jealousies, insecurities, and triumphs. Everyone from industry insiders to fans of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model will want to read Agins’ take on the glitter and stardust transforming the fashion industry—and where it is likely to take us next.

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    Hijacking the Runway

    Read by Xe Sands
    8.0 hrs • 10/9/14 • Unabridged
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