CHARLES FISHMAN – The Wal-Mart Effect

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From library

Updated version of this very interesting book about Wal-Mart.  I was keen on reading this for two reasons, well three.  I like a good book on business.  Sam Walton was often held up at my last company as a model of efficiency, modesty and prudence, so I wanted to see where that came from.  And we’ve just had an ASDA open on the High Street, which does seem to have had an effect on other businesses.

So, there wasn’t much about the history of the company, although a fair bit about how the company structure and culture has changed over the years.  The business stuff was there, but not overly so – so it was still understandable for the lay reader.  And the stuff about how Wal-Mart changes both its local and the global economy was fascinating.  It has a knock-on effect even on rivals or companies who don’t supply it.  Plenty of case studies gave a good feel for what happens on the local scale, and the effect of price lowering has certainly had an effect on a global scale too.

There were positives – Wal-Mart is starting to work at monitoring environmental effects and human issues in their supplying factories.  But still, when the new ASDA opened here, a local independent mini-market went bust almost immediately, and the other large supermarket in the high street is straining to provide price point offers that are new and sometimes almost ridiculous.

I would have liked more on the effect in UK and European communities but I’m sure I’ll find another book about that!

M.C. BEATON – Agatha Raisin and the Well-Spring of Death

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Borrowed from Ali

Book whatever in the Agatha Raisin series and I think it’s settling in well.  I enjoyed this one and I liked the comments subtly made about the Cotswolds, tourists and "incomers" as well as the jolly plot.  Agatha is a bit more human now and there were some quite sweet bits, eg when Roy takes to the countryside and decides he’s a "pagan".  I did guess whodunnit and I got the parish council a bit mixed up; there was a genuine surprise at one point and I enjoyed it overall more than some others in the series.

Passed to Gill already!

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