The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Duff McDonald

Narrated By: Tom Weiner

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: September 2013

Duration: 11 hours 21 minutes


A behind-the-scenes, revelatory history of McKinsey & Company, America’s most influential and controversial business consulting firm, told by one of the nation’s leading financial journalists

Founded in 1926, McKinsey & Company has become one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, helping to invent American business and shaping its course for decades. Ushering in the age of American industrial dominance, McKinsey remapped the power structure in the White House, helped create the bar code, revolutionized business schools, and introduced the idea of budgeting as a management tool. McKinsey consultants have created the corporate behaviors that shaped our world—reinventing our idea of American capitalism and exporting it across the globe.

At the same time, however, McKinsey can also be associated with a list of striking failures. Its consultants were on the scene when General Motors drove itself into the ground, and they played a critical role in building the bomb known as Enron. Yet they are rarely blamed for the failures—at least not publicly.

McKinsey employees are trusted and distrusted, loved and despised. And far from prying eyes, they are doing behind-the-scenes work for the most powerful people in the world. In The Firm, star financial journalist Duff McDonald uncovers how these high-powered, high-priced business savants have ushered in waves of structural, financial, and technological shifts to the biggest and best American organizations. With unrivaled access to company documents and current and former employees, McDonald reveals the inner workings of what just might be the most influential private organization in America.

“In a timely book, Fortune and New York Observer contributor McDonald probes the leading business consulting company in the country, considering McKinsey’s role in the functioning of America’s corporations and their leadership…A fast-paced account of a key business institution, its deeds and misdeeds.”—Kirkus Reviews


  • Kevin Zhang

    Evidence of very extensive research on McKinsey's background. The book is also written in a way that is very entertaining: full of anecdotes and clippings from a variety of news sources. The only problem was the author made very pointed, but ill-supported generalizations at times (both about McKinsey and the consulting industry at large). I am a consultant and it was clear McDonald did a lot of research regarding the industry, but did not a true understanding of what consultants do.

Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business

by Duff McDonald

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Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, Duff McDonald