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

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A riveting and timely intellectual history of one of our most important capitalist institutions, Harvard Business School, from the bestselling author of The Firm.

With The Firm, financial journalist Duff McDonald pulled back the curtain on consulting giant McKinsey & Company. In The Golden Passport, he reveals the inner workings of a singular nexus of power, ambition, and influence: Harvard Business School.

Harvard University occupies a unique place in the public’s imagination, but HBS has arguably eclipsed its parent in terms of its influence on modern society. A Harvard degree guarantees respect. An HBS degree is, as the New York Times proclaimed in 1978, "the golden passport to life in the upper class." Those holding Harvard MBAs are near-guaranteed entrance into Western capitalism’s most powerful realm—the corner office.

Most people have a vague knowledge of the power of the HBS network, but few understand the dynamics that have made HBS an indestructible and powerful force for almost a century. As McDonald explores these dynamics, he also reveals how, despite HBS’s enormous success, it has failed with respect to the stated goal of its founders: "the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways." While HBS graduates tend to be very good at whatever they do, that is rarely the doing of good.

In addition to teasing out the essence of this exclusive, if not necessarily "secret" club, McDonald explores two important questions: Has the school failed at reaching the goals it set for itself? And is HBS therefore complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism? At a time of pronounced economic disparity and political unrest, this hard-hitting yet fair portrait offers a much-needed look at an institution that has a profound influence on the shape of our society and all our lives.

Title:The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite
ISBN:0062347179
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:672 pages
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    The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite Reviews

  • Juliana Philippa
    Apr 11, 2017

    Heard about the book from article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/10/bu... The book is filled with anecdotal evidence of Mr. McDonald’s argument. In once instance, he draws from a paper Mr. Jensen...

  • Kylewelch
    May 05, 2017

    Despite having my own issues with HBS, I have found this book to be simply a bad read. An uninformed, superficial interpretation of the school that is simply not worth the effort. Duff's book reads as...

  • Marks54
    May 20, 2017

    (I rated this a "3" but feel it more a "2.5". I enjoyed it enough to finish it but have issues. McDonald is a journalist who wrote a nice book on McKinsey. I had hoped he would do the same with HBS bu...

  • Mbogo J
    Jun 11, 2017

    Duff McDonald was in need of a good punching bag and he found it in Harvard Business School. Once he had set it up to the right height he punched the hell out of it. I have read these set of books bef...

  • Chris
    Jun 06, 2017

    Author Duff McDonald dislikes HBS. As in he really dislikes it. What it stands for, what ideas it espouses, what it lacks in ethics. This book is a well-researched, well-articulated takedown of HBS. T...

  • Zach Church
    Jun 22, 2017

    A business school history is a little specific. I work at a business school so this felt worth reading, and it was. It starts very slow. While there is some foundational value to understanding the ear...

  • Stephen Yoder
    Jun 06, 2017

    I enjoyed this book, but the size was something I just couldn't get over. I kept wondering if Mr McDonald (along with a cold-hearted editor) could have pared this book down a bit. The writing is quite...

  • Sean
    May 21, 2017

    Smug in its tone and almost deliberately critical, The Golden Passport nonetheless advances a needed dialogue on the role of business education and education more generally. Parsing through the histor...

  • Mary Nee
    Jun 08, 2017

    McDonald has written a long history of the Harvard Business School (HBS) that can be summed up easily. McDonald showcases how the delicate experiment of a business school at Harvard triumphed with que...

  • Dan Leo
    Jun 22, 2017

    A thorough-going history of the school that, since 1908, has provided the world with a large percentage of its de facto leaders – not so much leaders in the realms of politics, but the leaders of th...