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Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, 2nd Edition Paperback – November 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; Revised and expanded second edition edition (November 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160358000X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603580007
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Abrams tells a wonderful story, full of ideas about our society. We all need the South Mountain Company--and its human lessons."--Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner

About the Author

John Abrams is co-founder and president of South Mountain Company, a design/build and renewable energy company on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In 1987, South Mountain Company was restructured to become employee-owned, and so began the adventure that led Abrams to write his first book, The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place. With added experience and research, Abrams has revised the book, renamed Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, so that it can better serve as a primer for employee-ownership. In 2005 Business Ethics magazine awarded South Mountain its National Award for Workplace Democracy.



William Greider is the national affairs correspondent for The Nation and the author of a number of best-selling books including The Soul of Capitalism.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rodney North on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've now read both editions of this book and can strongly recommend either for every current or future entrepreneur or small business leader who is trying to look beyond the bottom line.

There are at least 5 stand-out qualities that separate this from other business books, including those on socially responsible business:
- It's actually written by the man who led the remarkable accomplishments of this impressive company. It's not ghost-written nor the product of an outside observer who is one or two steps removed from the real work & struggles.
- John Abrams is a really good writer. You won't just benefit from reading this. You'll enjoy it.
- Unlike many successful business leaders who want to write a book, John is notably humble. This is not a vanity project. It's about the company and what they did differently, why, and how it turned out. It also offers useful concrete examples of other companies that have modeled unusual and encouraging humane business practices.
- It's full of meaningful, helpful details of real decisions or practices that will help the business leader. It's not just a new theory stretched out over 150 pages and filled out with vague anecdotes and other fluff.
- The South Mt Company has made - and successfully executed - many unorthodox decisions, like consciously choosing NOT to grow, and to turn the ownership and control of the company over to the employees. And when you read why and how they did it, and how it turned out, you might reconsider what a business can be for and what is possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Gainsboro on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading John Abram's "the Company We Keep" and found it truly inspriational. As the founder of two building companies that have struggled to bring many of the ideas discussed in this book, I truly appreciate the challenges faced and opportunities seized John describes so eloquently. He has figured out the right balance of fun and utility. The book is full of practical examples and real world applications. It is a must read for anyone considering creating or converting to an employee owned business. I highly recommend it and hope he continues to document his ever evolving story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Alexander on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. It is a revision of Abrams' 2005 book, The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community and Place, which I read when it came out. He takes you through the history of South Mountain, a 32 year old design/build company he founded and examines the eight cornerstone philosophies and practices that underpin South Mountain and any green business that wants to harness the power of employee ownership, workplace democracy and community commitment. I met Abrams at the Green Business Conference in San Francisco in 2005. He is a wonderful, warm, down to earth human being and highly experienced business person. I love small business and how it can positively impact individuals and communities, and I could not book his book down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Nachtigall on March 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found it very interesting and helpful. the author knew what he was taking about as he had experienced and was still esperiencing his company's employee participation.
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