Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World's Great Family Businesses
David LandesISBN: 0670033383;
Historian Landes profiles business dynasties from the seventeenth century to the present. Defining a dynasty as three successive generations of family control and success, he focuses on banking, automobiles, and raw-materials industries, with fascinating stories of families, including the Barings, Morgans, Fords, Toyodas, Rockefellers, Guggenheims, and Schlumbergers. The varied histories of these families from different eras highlight the combination of money, power, and kinship that inevitably gives rise to drama and passion with the passage of generations. We learn the important influence that culture in the surrounding societies plays in the development of these dynasties and the author's conclusion that contrary to conventional wisdom, the family firm today is not obsolete or inconsequential. Landes tells us, "These tales trace the tangled histories of legendary lineages. . . . We can learn a great deal about business from these dynasties; moreover, these are extraordinary men and...
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