A revealing portrait of one of the world's finest, yet most opaque, companies--and the quiet genius who made it thrive Ken Auletta set out to locate one of the world's most prosperous businesses and explain its formula for success. He searched for an enterprise with a vivid chief executive and found that company in Schlumberger Limited, a multinational oilfield services firm with skyrocketing profits and a reputation as one of the best-managed global corporations. Auletta also found his fascinating CEO in Jean Riboud, a man who had eluded media attention even though he had guided Schlumberger for 2 decades. In this compelling portrait, Auletta brings the notoriously low-profile executive to life, detailing his unique style of management and the unusual corporate culture he nurtured. A self-proclaimed socialist from France, Riboud fought in the resistance during World War II, was captured by the Nazis, and was held prisoner at the Buchenwald concentration camp. He joined Schlumberger as an assistant and quickly rose through the company's ranks. Although he was admired for his fierce drive for perfection and eye for long-term planning and expansion, Riboud distanced himself from his corporate cohorts and instead socialized with a diverse group of artists, writers, and politicians. Brilliant and paradoxical, Riboud makes for a fascinating subject in Auletta's comprehensive and illuminating book.
It is said that journalism is a vital public service as well as a business, but more and more it is also said that big media consolidation; noisy, instant opinions on cable and the Internet; and political "bias" are making a mockery of such high-minded ideals. In Backstory, Ken Auletta explores why one of America's most important industries is also among its most troubled. He travels from the proud New York Times, the last outpost of old-school family ownership, whose own personnel problems make headline news, into the depths of New York City's brutal tabloid wars and out across the country to journalism's new wave, chains like the Chicago Tribune's, where "synergy" is ever more a mantra. He probes the moral ambiguity of "media personalities"--journalists who become celebrities themselves, padding their incomes by schmoozing with Imus and rounding the lucrative corporate lecture circuit. He reckons with the legacy of journalism's past and the different prospects for its future, from fallen stars of new media such as Inside. com to the rising star of cable news, Roger Ailes's Fox News. The product of more than ten years covering the news media for The New Yorker, Backstory is Journalism 101 by the course's master teacher. .
"[The editors] cast their net wide, picking up some excellent stories from nontraditional sources that even avid readers of the business press may have missed."-USA Today, on the 2001 edition. Series editor Andrew Leckey and guest editor Ken Auletta have scoured the print media, consulted with the editors of major business and general interest publications, and surveyed journalism school deans to find the best business stories from the last twelve months. Among those selected: Michael Lewis on teenage stock trader Jonathan Lebed, from The New York Times Magazine; James B. Stewart on the irrepressible Michael Milken, from The New Yorker; and many others from the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Fortune, Rocky Mountain News, and Wired. The second annual edition continues the excellence and comprehensive range of this fascinating anthology series.
A revealing, forward-looking examination of the outsize influence Google has had on the changing media Landscape. There are companies that create waves and those that ride or are drowned by them. As only he can, bestselling author Ken Auletta takes readers for a ride on the Google wave, telling the story of how it formed and crashed into traditional media businesses?from newspapers to books, to television, to movies, to telephones, to advertising, to Microsoft. With unprecedented access to Google?s founders and executives, as well as to those in media who are struggling to keep their heads above water, Auletta reveals how the industry is being disrupted and redefined. Using Google as a stand-in for the digital revolution, Auletta takes readers inside Google?s closed-door meetings and paints portraits of Google?s notoriously private founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as those who work with?and against?them. In his narrative, Auletta provides the fullest account ever told of Google?s rise, shares the ?secret sauce? of Google?s success, and shows why the worlds of ?new? and ?old? media often communicate as if residents of different planets. Google engineers start from an assumption that the old ways of doing things can be improved and made more efficient, an approach that has yielded remarkable results? Google will generate about $20 billion in advertising revenues this year, or more than the combined prime-time ad revenues of CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. And with its ownership of YouTube and its mobile phone and other initiatives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells Auletta his company is poised to become the world?s first $100 billion media company. Yet there are many obstacles that threaten Google?s future, and opposition from media companies and government regulators may be the least of these. Google faces internal threats, from its burgeoning size to losing focus to hubris. In coming years, Google?s faith in mathematical formulas and in slide rule logic will be tested, just as it has been on Wall Street. Distilling the knowledge accrued from a career of covering the media, Auletta will offer insights into what we know, and don?t know, about what the future holds for the imperiled industry.
There are companies that create waves and those that ride or are drowned by them. This is a ride on the Google wave, and the fullest account of how it formed and crashed into traditional media businesses. With unprecedented access to Google's founders and executives, as well as to those in media who are struggling to keep their heads above water, Ken Auletta reveals how the industry is being disrupted and redefined. Auletta goes inside Google's closed-door meetings, introducing Google's notoriously private founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as those who work with - and against - them. In Googled, the reader discovers the 'secret sauce' of the company's success and why the worlds of 'new' and 'old' media often communicate as if residents of different planets. It may send chills down traditionalists' spines, but it's a crucial roadmap to the future of media business: the Google story may well be the canary in the coal mine. Googled is candid, objective and authoritative. Crucially, it's not just a history or reportage: it's ahead of the curve and unlike any other Google books, which tend to have been near-histories, somewhat starstruck, now out of date or which fail to look at the full synthesis of business and technology.
The inside account of a financial meltdown that reshaped Wall Street In 1983, Lew Glucksman, then co-CEO of the heralded investment bank Lehman Brothers, demanded the resignation of chairman Pete Peterson, with whom he had long argued over how to manage the company. Shockingly, Peterson, who had taken charge a decade earlier and led Lehman from near collapse to record profits, agreed to step down. In this meticulously researched volume, Ken Auletta details the turmoil, infighting, and power struggles that brought about Peterson's departure and the eventual sale of one of Wall Street's oldest and most prestigious firms. Set against the backdrop of the 1980s stock exchange, where hotshot young traders made and lost millions in a single afternoon, the story of Lehman's fall is a suspenseful battle of wills between bankers, traders, and executives motivated by greed, envy, and ego. Auletta, who conducted hundreds of hours of interviews and was granted access to private company records, has crafted a thorough, enduring, and engaging account of pivotal events that continued to influence this storied financial institution until its ultimate demise in 2008.
Ken Auletta's memoir about his time as a reporter.
A struggle is taking place--not just among corporate titans, but among entire industries. At stake is control of the world's fastest-growing industry: communications. The contestants are Hollywood studios, television networks, and cable, telephone, computer, publishing, and consumer-electronics companies. All are vying to collect a toll on the information superhighway. And as they jockey for control, they tread on volatile ground, as one fixation after another (cable, interactive TV) is dumped in favor of the next (satellite, the Internet). There is no better account of this turmoil than the one provided here by Ken Auletta, bestselling author of Three Blind Mice ("the best book ever written on network television"*) and Greed and Glory on Wall Street, who for five years has brilliantly tracked the communications industry for The New Yorker. Auletta's access to the principal players is unparalleled (six days with Rupert Murdoch, summit meetings with John Malone), and his grasp of the issues--from boardroom politics to regulatory and technological pressures--is unmatched by any other journalist. In this riveting collection of his best pieces Auletta takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour of such companies as Disney, Viacom, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Telecommunications, Inc., and keenly chronicles the vanities and visions of the new Highwaymen--Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Michael Eisner, Sumner Redstone, Bill Gates, and more. Just as Three Blind Mice was heralded as "the new bible of the broadcasting business," The Highwaymen will be received as an indispensable guide to the future of this explosive new world.* Frank Stanton, former president of CBSFrom the Hardcover edition.
The Internet Revolution, like all great industrial changes, has made the world's elephantine media companies tremble that their competitors--whether small and nimble mice or fellow elephants--will get to new terrain first and seize its commanding heights. In a climate in which fear and insecurity are considered healthy emotions, corporate violence becomes commonplace. In the blink of an eye--or the time it has taken slogans such as "The Internet changes everything" to go from hyperbole to banality--"creative destruction" has wracked the global economy on an epic scale. No one has been more powerful or felt more fear or reacted more violently than Bill Gates and Microsoft. Afraid that any number of competitors might outflank them--whether Netscape or Sony or AOL Time Warner or Sun or AT&T or Linux-based companies that champion the open-source movement or some college student hacking in his dorm room--Microsoft has waged holy war on all foes, leveraging its imposing strengths. In World War 3.0, Ken Auletta chronicles this fierce conflict from the vantage of its most important theater of operations: the devastating second front opened up against Bill Gates's empire by the United States government. The book's narrative spine is United States v. Microsoft, the government's massive civil suit against Microsoft for allegedly stifling competition and innovation on a broad scale. With his superb writerly gifts and extraordinary access to all the principal parties, Ken Auletta crafts this landmark confrontation into a tight, character- and incident-filled courtroom drama featuring the best legal minds of our time, including David Boies and Judge Richard Posner. And with the wisdom gleaned from covering the converging media, software, and communications industries for The New Yorker for the better part of a decade, Auletta uses this pivotal battle to shape a magisterial reckoning with the larger war and the agendas, personalities, and prospects of its many combatants.
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