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  • When McKinsey Comes to Town

  • The Hidden Influence of the World's Most Powerful Consulting Firm
  • By: Walt Bogdanich, Michael Forsythe
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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When McKinsey Comes to Town

By: Walt Bogdanich,Michael Forsythe
Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

An explosive exposé of the world's most prestigious and successful management consultancy.

McKinsey earns billions advising almost every major corporation as well as countless governments, including Britain's, the USA's and China's. It boasts of its ability to maximise efficiency while making the world a better place. Its millionaire partners and network of alumni go on to top jobs in the world's most powerful organisations. And yet, shielded by non-disclosure agreements, its work remains largely secret—until now.

In this propulsive investigation, two prize-winning journalists reveal the reality. McKinsey's work includes incentivising the prescription of opioids; ruthless cost-cutting in the NHS; executing Trump's immigration policies (the ones that put children in cages). Meanwhile its vast profits derive from a client roster that has included the coal, tobacco and vaping industries, as well as some of the world's most unsavoury despots. And for the last six decades, McKinsey has been the brains behind many of the most loathed and controversial business practices: mass lay-offs, outsourcing overseas, soaring executive pay, as well as the key innovations that led to the financial crash.

McKinsey proudly insists it is a values-led organisation. When McKinsey Comes to Town is a parable of values betrayed: a devastating portrait of a firm whose work has often made the world more unequal, more corrupt and more dangerous.

©2022 Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Panoramic, meticulously reported and ultimately devastating." (Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain)

"Every page made my blood boil." (Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate, author of The Price of Inequality)

What listeners say about When McKinsey Comes to Town

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Couldn’t put this one down - amazing stories

A fascinating compilation of stories detailing just how far reaching McKinsey’s global reach and influence has been on so many critical moments in history - the inner details are frightening

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

"Of course its good advice, look what it cost"

The book mostly lands* as an examination of the gap between McKinsey's stated ethics and its actions, but it feels like a part of a deeper examination about the role of management consultancy itself. While it makes sense to import specific, non native skills to your business to achieve some necessary transformation, the examples cited here goes way beyond that- a crutch for bad management, consigliere for bad actors, intellectual figleaf for noxious policies, etc. McKinsey are the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but I'd be surprised if they were the only such example.

*the Astros chapter seemed a little too tenuous and did little to help the wider picture.

Arguing that you don't didn't actually rob the bank when you cased the joint, identified weakness, planned the heist and supplied the training is disingenuous in the extreme.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful and frightening

It is no surprise, but still frightening, a reminder that money makes people do horrible things.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Circumspect involvement from McKinsey

It’s a book about McKinsey, that documents bad things happening, but those bad things are hardly solely attributable to McKinsey

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Follow the money at what cost?

A thrilling and sometimes shocking view into the secret world of McKinsey. For all the good work they have done, there is equally questionable behaviour and damaging outcomes that could have been avoided. Money over ‘doing the right thing’ wins in every example researched for this book.

If you’re someone who is passionate about improving business processes and introducing efficiencies for the betterment of people and the greater environment, then this is a book for you. Reading this book will give you a different perspective on how improvement that is meant to help companies achieve corp goals can be detrimental and create harm over time.

This book describes at best what not to do.

The prestige of a McKinsey engagement is being challenged as all management consultancies should be if they’re engaged to impact change, at a cost, sometimes to human life.

Great read.

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