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The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  381 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Charles Koch may very well be the most successful businessman people have never heard of. Under his leadership, Koch Industries has become a dynamic and diverse enterprise that Forbes called "the world's largest private company."

This groundbreaking audiobook includes the same material used by leaders and employees of Koch companies to apply Marker-Based Management (MBM) t
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Your Coach In A Box (first published 2007)
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Disclosure: I have done business with Koch Industries for over 30 years. The copy of this book was given to me by a Koch employee. It is the only publication by Cnarles Koch I have ever read.

Forget all the vituperative broadsides against the Koch brothers, the accusations of their funding the Tea Party, the cover story on Bloomberg Markets, Charles Koch is a genius when it comes to business. He had to have something going for him to plough through undergraduate and post-graduate courses at MIT a
Scott Fabel
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do some consulting for one of the Koch Industries companies, Invista. I taught a course at its Wilmington, DE facility and then again at its headquarters in Wichita, KS. I was struck by the incredible ways in which the employees treated me--and each other! While in Wichita, I learned a lot more about Koch Industries and its business philosophy. I happened to visit the company story while in Wichita, and I saw that the CEO had written this book. I knew th ...more
I borrowed this book from a friend because I have been looking into many private companies. Koch Industries is the largest private company in the world.

First of all, I really enjoy books that seem to be working with general wisdom, applicable to any sector of society or society at large. I have enjoyed the Jim Collins books for that reason but I really liked Koch’s idea of studying history, economics, philosophy and more to develop his ideas of building a strong company. Actually Michael Polanyi
Tadas Talaikis
Neoconservative provides F.Hayek quotes and then next chapter glorifying meritocracy. Hereditary meritocracy in this case.

"People should profit according to what value they provide in society." It's ok, but problem with Tea-party meritocracy system ultra-capitalists is that they miss one major thing, value isn't always determined by monetary value.

Not including the praise for "honesty", when anyone can search internet and see the true reality of such "value creation not by political means".

Chris Ouyang
Upon writing this review, Koch Industries is actually the US's second largest private company, behind Cargill. Like Cargill, most people have no idea what Charles G. Koch's Koch Industries does. However, Koch Industries is, perhaps, the world's most maligned private company; whether that's entirely justified or wholly not depends on who you ask. Regardless, it is living, breathing evidence of the successful business philosophy detailed within The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management B ...more
This book was interesting and clearly had good ideas. But like most business books, I found it maddeningly vague. Maybe it's the lawyer in me that wants careful definitions of everything, even when they are unwise or impossible. But I still feel like I am missing something when I read most business type books. This is no exception. That said, his holistic approach to business largely makes sense and has clearly worked well.
Jeffrey Howard
Charles outlines Market-based Management, a proven process for taking the principles that lead to prosperity in society, and has applied them to organizations in a way that gets results.

Despite being business buzzword heavy, he outlines a holistic approach to management, consistent with the freedom philosophy.

Praiseworthy businesses exist to provide services and goods which create value for individuals and society. Those organizations which fail to do this in the long-term, disappear. (If only
A fast read but a good one. It is easy to understand and filled with helpful principles. I'm looking forward to learning more about it. What they do at KII works and I have seen how Charles Koch's Market-Based Management transfers over to the non-profit. It really creates an exceptional environment to work in.
This is a fairly awful book. I didn't disagree with anything Koch wrote, but the problem is that (1) he's a poor writer, and (2) he's not saying anything profound.

His writing just careens back and forth between points. I was trying to highlight the book and take notes, but it just defies logical organization. The chapter titles don't clearly match the contents, and he vacillates wildly between topics.

Additionally, even if it the book made sense, he's just not saying anything profound or interest
As Charles G. Koch explains in the Preface to this book, Market-Based Management (MBR) has enabled Koch Industries, Inc. (KII) to become one of the largest and most successful companies in the world, with a 2,000 fold growth since 1967, now employing 80,000 people in 60 countries, with $90-billion in revenue in 2006. MBR consists of five dimensions: vision, virtue and talents, knowledge processes, decision rights, and incentives. No surprises there, nor are there any head-snapping revelations th ...more
Conceptually (and for Mr. Koch, practically) this book is full of though processes, mind models, values, and ideas that could, if applied across organizations, increase company effectiveness, not just profits. That being said, for a non-economist, it can be a hard read, especially when getting into some of the formulaic ideas. Other than that, there is enough personalized story and practical application to make the book worth the read.
Mike Thoennes
If you believe in the Free Market principles of prosperity and value creation, then this is a book to read and understand. I appreciate that Charles Koch has made a study of free market mechanics and brought it together in a fast read to challenge and inform my thinking. To really get to the gist, you will need to go to the original works behind this summation, but this is a gate way to prosperity thinking. A valuable read.
Adam Naujock
Philosophical Business book

Overall a good business management book, heavy on the theory and philosophy. Only 4 stars because I couldn't quite think of it as an instant classic, but I would recommend it because it opened me up to a new way of looking at the genre. I'm going to read some of the works cited in the bibliography/appendix because it lists many good resources.
David Greenberg
Deane's review hits the nail on the head, so I will not try to rehash her critique. This book provides an interesting story on how Charles Koch used his knowledge of free market economics to perfect a business method. That story is worth the read. It is only the introduction. Afterwards is the system itself. As any free market economist would tell you—including most quoted in the book—systems are imperfect. The system he proposes is like nearly every other business practice book I've read, and i ...more
My company gave me this book and we actually had "book club" at work where we discussed the principles this book discusses and how to effectively use those approaches in our respective areas. I worked in one of the companies that Charles Koch built using these ideas. I found this book to be encouraging and helpful as I made the decision to go back to school full time for my career focus shift to biomedical engineering.

This book really explains the philosophies that Koch Industries adheres to an
Jessel Badal
Market Based Management. Evolve and adapt your business to current technology. Focus on opportunity costs vs sunk costs. Provide value for society and the customer. Measure long term profit and value vs short term. Create proper incentives for employees.
Given all the negative press surrounding the Koch brothers, this book is not controversial. The author presents his philosophy on why companies should exist and to what end. What surprised me is that in several places he mentions maximizing a company's and a person's contributions to society, along with strict adherence to regulations. Those beliefs, coupled with the way that Koch Industries evaluates their employees and business opportunities, seem to reveal an open mindedness to the way that a ...more
I'm not sure how anyone can claim to have read the book without politics, as the introduction explains the book as a comment on the political experience of the firm. The lesson that is supposed to be learned here, per the introduction, is that a dilettante in the humanities can take whatever information was swept together in some undergraduate reading, apply it to business, and circle back to sound humanistic conclusions. Why that is a disaster should not require any head scratching. Meanwhile, ...more
James Short
common sense knowledge for any person, applicable to a manager, gambler, fry cook.
Michael Graber
The Science of Success is more of a book of business philosophy rather than a book of hard science. In this spirit, Charles Koch outlines the principles of Market-Based Management, which is an inspired Free Market world view that empowers managers and employees to add and create value, live up to their highest self, and run companies on both hard and soft metrics. Business owners and leaders should read. Despite the distorted view of this work in the media, it is deeply sensible and offers the m ...more
Success at what cost?
Kock is CEO of the world's largest private company in the world, Koch Industries. The book is about market based management and how its application has grown KII. A $1000 investment in KII in 1960 would be worth 2 million today (2006) assuming reinvestment of dividends. Obviously Koch is onto something. The book is both technical and general. It gives general direction but little in the way of specifics, which is by design. Although short, the book is packed and requires thinking.
Read for Certificate in Management for Technical Professionals course. Koch takes a more classic approach to business grounded in the Science of Human Action. I found chapter 1 unnecessary and uninteresting but it begins to pick up in chapter 2 and takes off in chapter 3. It would be interesting to work for Koch Industries and see this approach first hand. There are many forward thinking but classic ideas presented here.
Written by the President of Koch Industries, it gives a lot of insight on how the company has been so successful. The fact that the company has recently made an effort to make the work environment ideal shows results in its productivity. The information is practical, and since I do not know much about business, I learned a lot about the balance between ethics and economic success.
Feb 06, 2015 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Dan Murray
Very, very interesting attempt by Koch Industries CEO to explain the management processes that have made the company grow and prosper. Would like to have had this book written 20-25 years ago -- could have put it to use in a prior incarnation. Also would like to see a follow-up (it's eight years old) on how the management style/philosophy is seen by company insiders.
Filipe Coimbra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2012 Sean added it
I am a Libertarian, so I am partial to the brothers Koch. I am a businessman, so I am interested in the insights of successful businessmen. I am a reader, so I am a sucker for short management books.
This one is a little different in that it advocates a more systemic approach. But it is, in the end, a short management book.
Karina Zannat
An amazing book on personal philosophy required to find success, market based management models, and the growth (and failures) of Koch industries. Author's lofty ideals in the business world are a little unrealistic given human nature and existing corporate culture, but a fantastic book regardless.
Patrick Budd
Very principled book for anyone that works in an enterprise environment. Koch makes very necessary, valid, and fundamental points that are true to my values. It's hard to argue his thesis based on the success of Koch Industries. The Koch brothers are certainly businessmen that I idolize.
Overall I thought this was a good book about organizational management concepts. This is a very straight-forward read and is not laden with unnecessary jargon. I do wish it had been a bit more detailed about some of the concepts.
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