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Alibaba Audiobook

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

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Publisher's Summary

An engrossing insider's account of how a teacher built one of the world's most valuable companies - rivaling Walmart and Amazon - and forever reshaped the global economy.

In just a decade and a half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded Alibaba and built it into one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba's $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China's booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle-class consumers.

Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet's impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba's rise.

How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba's ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the US?

Clark tells Alibaba's tale in the context of China's momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.

©2016 Duncan Clark (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (85 )
5 star
 (40)
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3 star
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4.1 (70 )
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4.1 (70 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    alexkusuma 30/05/2017
    alexkusuma 30/05/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspiring but narrated by wrong person"

    The story is inspiring and insightful, unfortunately the narrator doesn't pronounce the names correctly. Chinese are tonal language if he say it with different tones it will have different meaning or no meaning at all.
    The wrongly pronounce take some of the joy out of listening to this book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mingtao 17/12/2016
    Mingtao 17/12/2016
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    "Good book, wrong narrator!"

    I'm a Chinese raised and educated in New Zealand. I found it very difficult to understand who and what the narrator was referring to because he obviously hasn't learnt any pin yin. Huge let down for what would otherwise be a great read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. van Caspel Melbourne, Australia 11/09/2016
    B. van Caspel Melbourne, Australia 11/09/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    6
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    Story
    "Good, solid business biography"

    Having listened to a lot of business biographies, this one moves at a decent pace and gets into the right details. A balance of personal and business narrative as they both go through different challenges. I found this really helpful and leads me to want to know more about China's tech landscape.

    What was annoying was how the narrator mispronounces many of the Chinese names and words, it would have been good if the narrator nailed them before recording the book. It throws you out of what is otherwise a well narrated book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02/08/2017
    02/08/2017 Member Since 2017
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    Story
    "what an inspiration"

    never really knew the story behind ali baba but what a story it is! with the trials and tribulations endured and to still come out on top is well worth all the praise he has gottwn over the years. what a mentally strong individual.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Waters 26/07/2017
    Chris Waters 26/07/2017 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Story
    "Missing Something"

    although the story was good and I was enjoying it. This book felt short and like it was missing something, it felt like it just ended.
    Elon Musk's book felt like it went into so much more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Dumais 07/06/2017
    Max Dumais 07/06/2017
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    Story
    "Mega deals"

    The size of some of these deals are in the billions but the real story to follow is the resilience and persistence of Jack Ma. The hidden story behind his success is his formula - customers, staff, shareholders in that order. An education in leadership style and the ascent of a billionaire from scratch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    28/05/2017
    28/05/2017 Member Since 2017
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    4
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    Story
    "Good story but cringeworthy Chinese pronunciation"

    Great story. Enjoyed it. But for something with so many Chinese names in it, you would think the narrator would have a reasonable ability in Chinese pronunciation. Needs help

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hayley 02/05/2017
    Hayley 02/05/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    What made the experience of listening to Alibaba the most enjoyable?

    This is well written and the narration is excellent. Clear and concise.


    What other book might you compare Alibaba to, and why?

    Elon Musk. They are similar in some ways, coming from a tough background and working their way up out of sheer determination.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Learning about Jack's earlier home life and what drove him to learn English and get into business.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    An informative book for anyone thinking of starting up their own entrepreneurial venture. It gives great insight into the industry of the internet and sales.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must-read for anyone in business.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew M 19/12/2016
    Andrew M 19/12/2016
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    Story
    "A very interesting story of a man who has built something huge"

    I knew very little about Jack Ma and Alibaba. It's truly amazing what he's built despite incredible odds.

    Full of really interesting info, however I found it a little laborious to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Lang Sydney, Australia 08/12/2016
    Andrew Lang Sydney, Australia 08/12/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "Good story"
    If you could sum up Alibaba in three words, what would they be?

    interesting, insightful


    Would you be willing to try another book from Duncan Clark? Why or why not?

    not sure


    Which character – as performed by Jim Meskimen – was your favourite?

    all


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    good to listen - goes a bit off tangent to pad out the story though

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Nathan
    30/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible narration if you know Chinese mars good book"

    The book itself is both interesting and insightful. As somebody engaged in the China Internet space for work, and consequently very familiar with the content I found learned quite a bit about personalities and backstory delivered in engaging prose. True the book is very pro Jack and BABA but this is not a surprise, and does not obscure facts.

    But if you know any Chinese, preparing to spend the entire book alternating between cringing and puzzling over the generally incomprehensible narration of every single Chinese word other than Alibaba, Ma, and Tsai. The inability to select a Chinese speaker to conduct narration on a book about China is inexplicable and disappointing.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • cassiuswortmann
    26/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting story, bad narration"

    While it did contain some critical info on the development of the China's dotcom industry as well as some bitesized nuggets of Jack Ma wisdom, I found myself continually wincing at the narrator's pronunciation of the names of Chinese individuals and places. However, this is just one of many audiobooks on China blighted by this headache-inducing problem.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Tristan
    2/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Strange: Best part of story happens "off-screen""

    "Alibaba" is a good book despite a near-fatal flaw. The author is an investor and he cares about what investors care about: deal-making, IPO's, threats to valuations, etc. Sometimes he lets that interest overshadow the actual storytelling.

    One example is so flagrant it is hilarious. Most of the launch of Alibaba—surely the critical turning point of Jack Ma's life—happens "off-screen." We learn about some deal-making that went into convincing the first employees to join the project. A page or two later we learn about a deal with some early investors, and as a note in that deal Clark mentions Alibaba had by then gained over 250,000 customers. Nothing worth mentioning went into getting their first quarter million customers?

    Such moments of early launch play a central role in Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" and Vance's "Elon Musk." In this book, it was left out. The omission leaves a big question open. Clark notes that Ma runs a technology company despite knowing nothing about coding or the internet's machinery . How did he do that? I would like to know. The book skipped over that part.

    Clark makes other strange choices. He describes the life story and character of multiple Chinese entrepreneurs and then never returns to them.

    And yet, despite all this, it's a good book and it's worth reading. The perspective of an investor on one of the world's highest valued companies is interesting. He appears to do a great job conveying what it's like to do business in China and the history of entrepreneurship in the country. Jack Ma's life makes for a compelling story—despite some of the odd choices in focus.

    Should you read Alibaba? Yes. Chinese technology firms are starting to overtake silicon valley ones in a number of arenas. It's a good idea to understand what they are all about, and it's a fun book to do it with. Just join me at rolling your eyes at Clark's investor-myopia.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Shay Bloch
    2/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a very informative or insightful on Jack"

    I was missing to hear more about Jack management style, growth and personal advice. You won't get it here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • James Qiu
    27/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mispronunciation kills me"

    While the story is amazing, the obvious lack of effort in correct Chinese pronunciation hurts my ears and takes away so much from the book.

    This performance is so vastly different from the likes of "Chaos Monkeys" in which the reader eloquently pronounced various Italian and French phrases.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Ray
    West Deptford, NJ, United States
    20/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "AMAZON AND E-BAY COMBINED"

    A good overview of the Alibaba story. Until I listened to this book, I wasn't aware of the nature of the company, thought that it was just another Amazon, but found that it was more akin to E-Bay.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • derrick j campbell
    12/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not valuable info"

    I often find it difficult to find a story to havenothing of value.but this book is poorly written and so boring. it offered no wisdom insights or anecdotes valuable to the listener.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fernando padilla
    Miami
    7/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Historia interesante"

    No solo es una historis de Jack Ma, me gusta como relata la historia del emprendimiento en China.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • JQ
    14/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why is this even on audible???"
    Any additional comments?

    Those hundreds if not thousands of badly pronounced foreign words are better kept on paper instead of in audio form, because nobody would understand them by listening, and the high frequency of their appearance makes them impossible to turn away from.

    This book is an embarrassment. I wish I had spent my money on some other book, better yet, any other book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forest
    Loudoun County, Virginia
    7/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good but not great - still should read it."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    There are no ground breaking insights or magical moments in this book. However, simply because Alibaba is THE big dog in the room, it makes sense to know a little more about how it came to be. If you are in business of any kind, understanding and learning more about the titans of business is a must! Get this book but don't expect anything monumental.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • iLard
    London, UK
    23/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather dull"

    An interesting story told in a very boring way, like a dry, unchallenging newspaper article. What a shame. Had to listen at x2 speed to get through in double quick, toe-curling time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Project Manager
    16/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very average book"

    The Chinese pronunciation is really terrible as other listeners have mentioned. The story isn't great either. You never really get to know Jack Ma and there isn't much backing to statements like 'Jack Magic'. It's almost like a Wikipedia article mixed with some hearsay and a few newspaper articles. I'd give Steve Jobs book 5 out of 5. In contrast this book struggles to get 2 out of 5.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • demanda
    2/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Commentary with little insight"

    Little objectivity.

    Didn't get passed chapter 2 before losing the will to listen any further.

    Learned little that's not already published in interviews and profiles.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Chapman
    2/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a tech startup story"

    This book isn't a gripping history of Alibaba and its rise. It contains more like a bird's eye view of the Chinese tech scene, and Alibaba's and Ma's place in it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • pargi1988
    15/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"

    Great read with a good understanding of how it all started. very insightful and well worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • rina
    19/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "uninspiring"

    Not very objective. Did not inspire at all. Jack comes across as a con man

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs.
    Amersham, United Kingdom
    23/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fascinating read"

    great story of determination, China development and personal skill well worth a read, the end

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Sachin Mohan Bhide
    Pune
    11/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting & unique entrepreneurial story!"

    Jack Ma's entrepreneurial journey is interesting and unique. The journey teaches lots of lessons for those who want to learn and apply.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • nabil chouba
    Swindon
    7/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "nice book about china entrepreneurial ecosystem"
    Any additional comments?

    Anybody who thinks the Chinese just copy or steal technology from the West should read this book and think again.<br/>The Steve Jobs of China, we call his distortion field : Jack Magic.<br/>He stragglers to get an university as he is so weak in Math, he tried for several years the entry exam and finally he got a degree in English in low ranking university in China.<br/>Book prove that China is special case : EBay, Yahoo, PayPal, Google has failed to compete against the locals. They thought that applying same magic formula that worked in US & Europe will work in China but that was a big failure. Even buying local company and controlling them was a failure.<br/>I like the success formulas that Japanese Masayoshi Son used to know if he should invest or not : he smells the guy and see how sharp is his look that's all ( this is the richest man )<br/>Book explains the topology of china case and its own growing silicon valley, and how capitalism is spreading.<br/>and explain the dynamic and contradiction between state and private sector.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amirski Anzur
    London
    29/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great insight to one of the world's smartest men"

    good read and great insight to a man that has helped so many entrepreneurs. highly recommended!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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