Award-winning journalist Charles Fishman reveals that what we know about Wal-Mart isn't even half of the real story-the company is now so powerful that it has become a kind of economic ecosystem that affects our everyday lives, even if we don't shop at Wal-Mart. In contrast to recent polemics, The Wal-Mart Effect offers the first truly fair, thought provoking look at the hidden reach and transformative power that is "the Wal-Mart effect."
Whether you love or hate Wal-Mart, you can't avoid reading about it. Considering that at least seven titles on the retailing behemoth were published just in 2005, what else could there be to say? Quite a lot, actually. Fishman (senior editor, Fast Company) has compiled a compelling and balanced report on Wal-Mart. Via a combination of startling statistics, personal stories from Wal-Mart founders, suppliers, and employees, and revelations about the social costs required for those low, low prices, he gives us a view into the world of discount retailing much as Eric Schlosser did for the food service industry in his expos , Fast Food Nation. Through it all, Fishman focuses on the larger picture, the "Wal-Mart effect," outlining how the sheer size and scale of the company leads to changes in labor relations, economics, environmental conditions, and consumer behavior, not just in the United States but globally. For example, Wal-Mart's rigorous adherence to low prices for its goods has contributed significantly to the growth of factory jobs overseas, rather than in the United States. Overall, this is a fascinating look into Wal-Mart and its "effects" on us all. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Susan Hurst, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.