The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite

Duff McDonald. Harper Business, $35 (688p) ISBN 978-0-06-234717-6
Exploring how Harvard Business School became a ticket to the highest echelons of money, power, and influence, McDonald (The Firm) chronicles the school’s history in an irreverent, cynical, and frequently funny exposé of its pretensions. He begins by describing the school’s founding in 1908 to, in one professor’s words, raise “the oldest of the arts” into the “youngest of the professions.” Despite these high-minded words, McDonald explains that HBS was launched largely to provide a credential for business-destined blue bloods who required the prestige of a Harvard degree. HBS eventually matured, but McDonald deftly skewers the vacuity at the core of the MBA curriculum, lamenting “how many members of a highly intelligent faculty have to resort to bold claims of discovering that which we already knew.” He also questions why the school doesn’t do more to shape the ethics of business, devoting chapters to ignominious graduates like Jeffrey Skilling of Enron and to the growing gap between the pay of ordinary workers and CEOs. This institutional history refreshingly substitutes skepticism for reverence, questioning the limits of business education and of capitalism in general. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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Ebook - 672 pages - 978-0-06-234718-3
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