Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World's Great Family Businesses

Version: Unabridged
Author: David S. Landes
Narrator: Alan Sklar
Genres: Business & Economics
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published In: December 2006
# of Units: 11 CDs
Length: 13 hours, 30 minutes
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Through perseverance, solid ingenuity, and unwavering determination, family-run companies-dynasties-have dominated wealth and business throughout the last two centuries. One third of Fortune 500 firms are family owned and, in most cases, the ideal of the family business is one synonymous with continuity, watchful leadership, and dedication to success. But what happens when bad behavior, extravagance, and laziness-all very real enemies of industry-are allowed to proliferate?

In Dynasties, bestselling author and historian David S. Landes scrutinizes the powerful family businesses that rule both the financial and industrial sectors across Europe, Japan, and America to determine what factors can cause a dynasty to flourish or fail. Focusing on three areas-banking, automobiles, and raw materials-his cast of characters speaks to the power of the family enterprise: Ford, Rothschild, Morgan, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Toyoda are but a few whose histories contain all the drama and passion expected when exorbitant money, power, and kinship intersect. Drawing on his immense knowledge of economic history, Landes offers a new reading of the dynastic business plan of the last two centuries-with surprising recommendations for the coming one.

Reviews (1)


Written by Anonymous on October 25th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I found the book rather dull, it only provides a rather vague and cursory review of various families that have maintained their positions as captains of industry and those that have lost them. Would have been a much better book if he had just concentrated on one - generally unknown dynasty and and gone into more depth. My recommendation: Don't rent it.

Author Details

Author Details

Landes, David S.

David S. Landes is professor emeritus of history and economics at Harvard and the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," His other acclaimed books include "Bankers and Pashas, The Unbound Prometheus," and "Revolution in Time,"