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The Firm

The Inside Story of McKinsey, The World's Most Controversial Management Consultancy

Duff McDonald

They helped invent the bar code. They revolutionized business schools and created the corporate practices that now rule our world. They reinvented the idea of American capitalism and aggressively exported it across the globe. McKinsey employees are trusted and distrusted, loved and despised. They are doing behind-the-scenes work for the most powerful people in the world, and their ranks of alumni include the chairman of HSBC and William Hague.

Renowned financial journalist Duff McDonald uncovers how these high-priced business savants have ushered in waves of structural, financial, and technological shifts but also become mired in controversy across the years. Discover how the firm both endorsed and celebrated Enron’s disastrous corporate structure and how they’ve been instrumental in the Coalition’s controversial NHS reforms. Are they worth their astronomical fees? And what do firms and governments actually get for their money? Based on exclusive interviews with key McKinsey players and written in gripping prose, this is a revealing window onto one of the most secretive and powerful companies in the world.

  • Publication date: February 6, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780743929
  • RRP: £14.99
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication date: February 6, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780743936
  • RRP: £5.99
  • Pages: 400


'Quickly, McDonald gets into his stride... a rattling good read.'

The Times

'At a stroke, McDonald sums up the attraction of McKinsey to the world’s largest companies, the mystique surrounding its methods, the envy it inspires in competitors and the anger it sometimes incites…  a very readable account.'

Financial Times

‘Is this a good book? Yes. It is meticulously researched, well-written, and comprehensive and balanced. Is it enjoyable? Yes.’ 

Management Today

'[An] admiring book that nevertheless asks hard questions about the organization’s future.'

The Economist

'Thought-provoking… offers a fascinating look behind the company’s success.' 

New York TimesAndrew Ross Sorkin

'An up-to-date, full-blown history, told with wit and clarity…'

Wall Street Journal

'This is critical reading for anyone who wants to understand how the world of business really works.'

Bethany McLean, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller All the Devils Are Here

'Fascinating. If you want to know what it is about the culture of the firm that sets it apart and has made it so successful, read this book.'

Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lords of Finance

'Revealing… McDonald combines a lucid chronicle of McKinsey’s growth and boardroom melodramas.'

Publishers Weekly

'Timely.… A fast-paced account of a key business institution, its deeds and misdeeds.'

Kirkus Reviews

'A superb examination of one of the most powerful, secretive, and least understood organizations on the planet.'

William D. Cohan, bestselling author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World

Duff McDonald

Duff McDonald is a journalist and the author of Last Man Standing, a biography of JPMorgan Chase CEO and chairman, Jamie Dimon. A contributing editor at Fortune magazine and the New York Observer, he has written for Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Wired, and Time, and has been awarded two Canadian National Magazine Awards. He lives in New York.

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