Summary of The Wal-Mart Effect

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Wal-Mart Effect book summary


8 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


Most people are generally in favor of both a just society and low prices. So what are they to think about Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.? Is it the world’s most rapacious retailer or a great place for a bargain? Does it rule its suppliers, forcing them to run overseas sweatshops to compete or does it spur more economical products? Does it pay rock bottom wages and relentlessly pursue profits, sales, market dominance and cheap goods, or does it provide rare relief for the consumer? The accusations sound daunting, unless you are a budget-weary customer. For many shoppers, these are uncomfortable contrasts. And whatever you think of Wal-Mart, you can’t ignore it. With huge stores across the US and worldwide, Wal-Mart, according to Charles Fishman, is not just “the world’s most powerful company,” it is an “economic ecosystem.” Railing against it is like shaking your fist at a tsunami. Wal-Mart is nearly impervious to external impact, but Fishman has made it far more knowable. Given the debates it provokes, the impact of its policies and the price wars it wages, getAbstract welcomes this look behind Wal-Mart’s shelves.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the “Wal-Mart effect” is;
  • How Wal-Mart rules its suppliers;
  • What consequences result from its low prices; and
  • What shapes the public view of Wal-Mart.

About the Author

Journalist Charles Fishman is senior editor of Fast Company. In 2005, he received the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism. He often is a guest on CNN, NPR and Fox News.



A Company Unlike Any Other

In America, Wal-Mart is everywhere. Some 90% of US residents live within a 15-mile radius of a Wal-Mart store. Americans spend, on average, a whopping $35 million every hour of every day at these stores. Given the remarkable breadth of its operations, Wal-Mart is radically reshaping the retail business sector in the United States. It has a profound effect on consumer goods manufacturers – not only in the US, but globally. Wal-Mart can name virtually any terms it likes for thousands of suppliers worldwide and can crush companies that do not meet its parameters.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

  • A Curious Mind

    Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

    Simon & Schuster, 2015


Customers who read this summary also read

More by category