Ouch: New book smacks McKinsey …

McKinsey does a relatively good job of staying out of the press.

But, a book called “The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business,” is being released today that may stir the pot a bit.

Early reviews indicate that the book dishes some serious smack at my former employer.


Here are some of the lowlights …

According to an NYT review by Andrew Ross Sorkin …

The book, by Duff McDonald, chronicles McKinsey’s rise but also raises an important question about it that is applicable to the entire netherworld of consultants, advisers and other corporate hangers-on: “Are they worth it or not?”

Mr. McDonald’s book explores the remarkable and intriguing disconnect between the advice McKinsey offers and the ultimate results.

It often goes unmentioned, but McKinsey has indeed offered some of the worst advice in the annals of business.

Enron? Check.

Time Warner’s merger with AOL? Check.

General Motors’s poor strategy against the Japanese automakers? Check.

It told AT&T in 1980 that it expected the market for cellphones in the United States in 2000 would amount to only 900,000 subscribers. It turned out to be 109 million.

The firm provided advice that some experts say led to the first too-big-to-fail bank failure in the 1980s, that of Continental Illinois Bank.

McKinsey’s work for the National Health Service “failed to move the stultified British bureaucracy an inch

At least Sorkin concedes “In fairness, McKinsey’s involvement in some of the more memorable corporate catastrophes may simply be the law of big numbers: given that it advises the world’s biggest companies on some of their most challenging problems, invariably it is going to be involved in some duds.”

You think?


BTW: The article says: “More current and former Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s are alumni of McKinsey than of any other company.”


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One Response to “Ouch: New book smacks McKinsey …”

  1. Jody Wise Says:

    But without your McKinsie background I would never know the profound truth that all problems can be figured out (or at least articulated in) a 4×4 block ;-)

    Jody Wise Prudential Rubloff Properties Cell: 773.251.0143 eFax: 773.572.6581 jwise@rubloff.com

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