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Eminent Corporations: The Rise and Fall of the Great British Brands

Andrew Simms, David Boyle

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History of specific companies / corporate history

The real story of the companies that run our everyday lives by the author of Tescopoly.

How much do you know about the big-name brands we live by?

Virgin, BP, Land Rover, Barclays, Cadbury's, BBC and M&S.

In our times the PLCs have been seen as giants, the backbone of commerce and society. Yet seen through a historical perspective they are vulnerable creatures, flowering only briefly. In fact, on the Fortune 500 - a roll-call of power if ever there was one - there's just one company, General Electric, which was on the list half a century ago. The rest have gone: broken, bankrupt, merged, raided for their parts. More like mayflies than megacorps. And getting more fragile all the time.

The great corporations that now dominate our lives are treated by the law courts as if they were people.They have the same rights, but unlike us they have no emotions, morals or life histories.The only corporate biographies you find are celebratory, promotional portraits with the warts left out. So, we don't really know where most great brands came from or where they are going.

This book spills the beans by telling the real life stories of some of the biggest corporate names, and finds them as dramatic, flawed and revealing as any human biography.

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Praise for Eminent Corporations: The Rise and Fall of the Great British Brands

  • I wish this book had been available when we made the very bad mistake of becoming a public company, it is the antithesis of becoming a human company. It confirms my belief that closing down The Harvard Business School would be doing a service to mankind....

  • If you want to understand why we're paying the price for decades of economic folly, read this book. The chapter on BP alone is worth it. If you want to ensure that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past, read this book. In these extraordinary tales, Andrew Simms and David Boyle point the way forward, revealing how enterprise can become more socially and environmentally useful.

  • This book is the essential guide to what went wrong with British business. From BP to Cadbury and Virgin - oil and chocolate to almost anything - these tragi-comic tales reveal how our own fates have become linked to the rise and fall of massive corporations.

  • Eminent Corporations is a coruscating but amusing account of what goes wrong when corporations grow too large. This book is the last word in why companies should never be allowed to become 'too big to fail'.

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Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms is the author of several books including the bestselling Tescopoly. He is a Fellow of nef (the new economics foundation), trained at the London School of Economics and was described by New Scientist magazine as, 'a master at joined-up progressive thinking.' He is also one of the UK's leading campaigners who coined the term 'Clone Towns,' co-authored the groundbreaking Green New Deal, was one of the original organisers of the campaign to cancel poor country debt, and devised how to mark the day in the year when the world enters 'ecological debt.' Andrew witnessed first hand for more than twenty years failed international efforts to solve critical economic and environmental problems, from extreme poverty to climate change.

Andrew Simms is Policy Director of the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and a board member of Greenpeace UK. He is the author of Tescopoly and writes on various issues including climate change and globalisation.

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