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Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation (Enterprise) (Enterprise (W.W. Norton Hardcover)) Hardcover – March 15, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fortune columnist Bing (Sun-Tzu Was a Sissy) condenses the 1,200-year history of Rome into a slim, wildly entertaining satire for businessmen, particularly those who happen to be fans of HBO's Rome. Irreverent without ever slipping into Dave Barry–style logical anarchy, the volume renders epic history in corporate-speak, providing enough substance and insight along the way to keep readers' attention. As Bing notes, much of Roman history consists of "wars, wars and more wars," and he skips over big chunks of it. "I give up," he shrugs, focusing instead on the decisions and personalities of the colorful leaders, from Romulus to Caligula. Most interesting are the author's discourses on why Rome's "corporate strategy" worked so well for so long ("corporations willing to kill people do better than those which are not") and why its "corporate culture" was sufficiently strong to rally its citizens/soldiers/employees for an endless series of battles. And while wryly acknowledging that the Romans' use of "murder as a business tool" may be excessive in today's environment, Bing endorses many of their strategies as sound: "In any corporate transformation, a good housecleaning is absolutely called for." Word to the wise: if the guy in the next cubicle is reading Rome, Inc., watch your back—especially if it's the Ides of March. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

If the guy in the next cubicle is reading Rome, Inc., watch your back—especially if it's the Ides of March. -- Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Series: Enterprise (W.W. Norton Hardcover)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton; 1 edition (March 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393060268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393060263
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a laugh-out-loud funny take on the rise and fall of the Roman empire--or as Bing has it, the world's first multinational corporation. Sure, pundits and historians compare Rome and the United States all the time. But Bing makes it work, because his angle is a fresh one. Organizations, hierarchies, crazed leadership practices--these don't change much over time, and Rome, it turns out, really is a perfect template for the ravenous corporations and pyschopathic CEOs of our era. Bing does all of this with such a perfect voice and a lightness of touch that you don't realize you're actually learning a great deal along the way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was a funny, well written read. I really enjoyed it. It wasn't exactly a scholarly work, but didn't claim to be either, in several places suggesting you research more on your own if you want more info. If you're familiar with the outline of Roman history and in business, or either one of the two, you will probably enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a classicist currently at work among the titans of Silicon Valley, this book really hit home for me. Bing can be irreverent at times, often telling the reader about names that 'you don't need to know about,' which only serves to annoy the reader and spike his curiosity. That said, this is one of the more brilliant books that I've read all year, and because it functions as a great refresher on Roman history, I am likely to turn to it again. I strongly recommend that you *not* buy the audiobook if you have a background in Latin or in Roman History. The performer makes a lot of painful mispronunciations. The worst was the persistent pronunciation of Marius as 'Marry Us.' In sum, a short, hilarious take on history, with a few effective lessons/reminders for members of the executive world.
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Format: Paperback
This is historical humor written in the style of Richard Armour. The attempt to liken Rome and other political entities, like the Huns, to modern corporations doesn't quite work, but the book is saved by its entertaining style. Bing analyzes each Roman leader in light of qualities of a modern CEO. Citing the ruthless nature of corporate management, he points out that Romulus, the founder, murdered his brother and engineered the rape of his neighbor's women. He makes Augustus out to be the best CEO of all time as his governing paradigm survived for centuries in spite of some very bad emperors. Later Huns and Goths attempted reverse takeovers. For periods covering the foundation of Rome and the last century of the republic, it's actually an informative light history. At that point the author must have gotten tired as the book peters out. Credibility of the conclusion that the political legacy of Rome was assumed by a corporate Christianity requires much more development than given here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book thinking I'd heard it mentioned in Dan Carlin's wonderful Hardcore History podcast on the fall of the Roman Republic and he did reference it I'm sure in talking about the Roman client system and how that worked in governing the empire. This book turned out to be not about Roman History though so much as another business self help book. Totally my fault for not reading the reviews and just clicking buy. Research your books and you will be happy with what you get. That being said it was well written in a clear simple style, just not what I had been hoping for.
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Format: Hardcover
Like another reviewer, I usually do not find Stanley Bing's writing interesting. I find his writing more of inside jokes and tending toward rambling proses.

Having said that, I really enjoyed his latest endeavor, this time about the Roman Empire. Instead of the usual historical perspective, he draws analogy from the empire's rise and fall to today's businesses, casting new light on the history. A funny and insightful book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent volume that explains the economics of ancient Rome. Some humorous anecdotes and superb comparisons with modern era economic practices. Grew as a supplementary / assigned reading for business majors and students studying ancient Rome.
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Format: Hardcover
I laughed my way through Stanley Bing's new book like I did for all of his old ones (Sun Tzu Was a Sissy is especially good). Rome, Inc. has all the stuff he's known for, straight-to-the-point business advice no one else is brave enough to say out loud and a hilarious way of phrasing things. But the best thing is that now I remember the Roman history I supposedly learned in college! Bing gives you a really great short summary of the "Rise and Fall" of Rome. I could (and probably will) read this book over again!
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