- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 24 hours and 16 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: May 1, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007Z96FBM
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power Audiobook – Unabridged
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What I especially appreciated about this title was Coll's ability to provide both sides of the story, so that it is not just another attack on "Big Oil", but also gives credit to ExxonMobil in the areas where it surpasses its competitors in the quality of its operations (especially with regards to worker safety), and the reasoning behind some of their faults (such as Lee Raymond's refusal to acknowledge climate change arguments).
The book is in no way a puff piece for ExxonMobil, and actually concludes with a rather dire outlook on the future of its operations; but it is a fair and balanced history of one of the most successful--and reviled--companies in the world. Overall a great and informative read.
Private Empire is not a story about ExxonMobile, in that the book does not address the early history of either company in detail. There is a rough summary regarding the Standard Oil Trusts, but the story is told from the time of Raymond Lee and the Exxon Valdez spill forward, when Exxon grows into the modern behemoth that gives the book its title. The mergers of Exxon and Mobil, and ExxonMobil and XTO, are discussed in detail. While it was probably not his intent, he makes it sound like a job at the modern corporation would be a great get in the process.
The book delves into topics such as corporate governance, how the board of directors of the modern company operates (or does not), and goes in depth into the areas of the world where oil majors find themselves hunting for carbon wealth. The value of "bookable reserves," and how they impact the modern oil market are parsed, and how exactly the american energy economy works is laid bare.
Overall, if you are looking for a book that both tells a compelling success story of an american corporation, but will also educate you on what such success costs and can mean, then this is the book for you.