Summary of The Wal-Mart Effect

How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works – and How It's Transforming the American Economy

Penguin Group (USA), more...

Buy the book

The Wal-Mart Effect book summary
Torn between shopping at Wal-Mart for low prices or not shopping there because of low wages? Look behind the scenes.


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.


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...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

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.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category