|The World of Business: From Valuable Brands and Games Directors Play to Bail-Outs and Bad Boys by The Economist|
|Category: Business and Finance|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The perfect 'dip into' book for anyone interested in business. It's very difficult to put down. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: November 2009|
For years I've been a great fan of The Economist's Pocket World in Figures series with all the unbiased statistics which the average person could want. I was just a little nervous when I opened The World of Business – just in case it was going to be a disappointment – but I needn't have worried.
On another subject you might classify this book as 'trivia' because of the vast range of subjects which it covers, none of them in any depth but with enough detail to interest anyone who's interested in the subject. It starts, as all the best books do, at the very beginning, with 'when firms started'. The oldest is Kongo Gumi – a Japanese construction company which dates back to 578. Japan claims the oldest family firm too with Houshi Onsen – but that only goes back to 718. The oldest newspaper still in circulation dates back to 1645 and is Swedish. Does that all sound a little dry?
Well, you might be more interested in the big profits and losses made (some of them will still be fresh in the mind, I'm afraid) and following on from that, the big bail-outs that have been necessary. If you're looking for details about future winners and losers then you'll enjoy the 'behind the corporate name' feature which tells you where the name actually comes from. I knew where 'Asda' came from because I once worked for Associated Dairies, but how many people know that B&Q comes from the names of its founders, Richard Block and David Quayle?
Still a little too esoteric for your tastes? 'Business Blunders' had me laughing and groaning in turn. Who remembers the Sinclair C5? Or Hoover and the holidays fiasco? A run-down of the roles which directors play (and I don't mean the titles which you'll generally see in the company's glossy brochure) was enlightening, but more interesting were the games they play, from log-rolling to snowing…
I've just been picking interesting facts at random and they're just from the first forty pages. Every page is packed with information, statistics and even advice on business etiquette from how to offer a business card in Asia and the attention you should give to your shoes in Italy. Finally, in Bulgaria, don't nod if you mean 'yes'.
I enjoyed this book and there really is something for everyone interested in any way in business between the covers. It's the perfect book to dip into when you have time to spare and it's of a size that fits neatly into a briefcase. It's even difficult to bore people by reading excerpts to them. I've only one quibble – there's no index and when I try and find something I inevitable get sidetracked and that's another hour wasted.
Definitely recommended. It would make an excellent present or a treat for yourself and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Do have a look at The Economist's Pocket World in Figures – you're sure to find it interesting. You'll also appreciate The Unwritten Laws of Business by W J King and James G Skakoon and The Answers: All the Office Questions You Never Dared to Ask by Lucy Kellaway.
You can read more book reviews or buy The World of Business: From Valuable Brands and Games Directors Play to Bail-Outs and Bad Boys by The Economist at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The World of Business: From Valuable Brands and Games Directors Play to Bail-Outs and Bad Boys by The Economist at Amazon.com.
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