Summary of The Support Economy

Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism

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The Support Economy book summary
How and why capitalism must change: Are you unhappy with how companies treat you? Well, change is in the air.


8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


This original work by Harvard professor and intellectual Shoshana Zuboff, and philosopher and former CEO James Maxmin may seem utopian. And, to an extent, perhaps it is. The book presents a fantastic future world of commerce, and does so within the strictures of an academic tone, including extensive footnotes. The authors’ ideas seem shy of practicality but quite worthwhile. Surely some businesses already serve their customers more than their shareholders or executives; of course, some companies already provide superior customer service. But even among those stars, few create commercial transactions that not only satisfy customers, but also fulfill and energize them – that’s the authors’ utopian vision. Spreading this attitude throughout the realm of business may be a fantasy, but it sure sounds good. getAbstract thinks this insightful book conveys an imaginative, fresh corporate vision. Will this consumer-based new world unfold precisely as the authors suggest? Probably not. But at least they show what could be, as well as what should be averted: capitalism in its business-as-usual, perverse, anticonsumer mode. If you’ve ever become aggravated trying to make a simple purchase, you’ll understand.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What took place during the first and second Industrial Revolutions
  • What “managerial capitalism” is
  • Why it needs reform
  • Why a new “support economy” should develop and what it should be like


“Managerial Capitalism” Is in Trouble
People no longer trust corporations. A majority of Americans (57% in one report) assume that businesses and their representatives are dishonest. Consumers want businesses to put them first, ahead of their shareholders and powerful insiders. However...
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About the Authors

Shoshana Zuboff is one of the first female tenured professors at the Harvard Business School. She wrote In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, a celebrated classic. Her husband, James Maxmin, Ph.D., is a former CEO of Volvo and Laura Ashley.

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