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Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  13,771 ratings  ·  842 reviews
An engrossing, insider’s account of how a teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies—rivaling Walmart & Amazon—and forever reshaped the global economy.

In just a decade and half Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Ecco
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susmita Its a good book, have started reading it. Worth the buy and to jot down how to go about building a product and having the product vision.

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Lots of interesting materials but just a poorly written and structured book. Needs serious editing and clean up.
Maciej Nowicki
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The impact of Alibaba is not fully appreciated outside China as much as it is within China. Outside China, people may have known the big IPO of Alibaba ($25 billion in 2014) and perhaps some odd founder but I don’t think they understand how much the Internet has changed people’s lives and, particularly, companies such as Alibaba boosted that process. Without the internet, it’s hard to imagine how China would have evolved over the last few decades and how the private sector would have driven the ...more
Michael Payne
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Never underestimate Jack Ma. Those 4 words are the repeated storyline of this book. While this "school teacher" may come across as humble and common, his fondness for Forest Gump is foretelling. For those who liked The Everything Store story of Amazon, this book is the best English account of the unlikely tale of Alibaba and a Gump-like character known to the world as Jack Ma. Read this book and you will find that China has quite a few insights to teach the west about online shopping. Far more C ...more
Harish Challapalli
Alibaba- The house that Jack Ma built.

Alibaba- The bio that Duncan Clark spoilt.

Thanks to Duncan Clark for making jack ma’s bio so boring.. the writing was very poor.. I have seen some talks of jack ma, those were very inspiring.. I wanted to learn more about him and very interestingly started this book. My interest was spoilt almost in the beginning itself.. the basic structure of the bio itself was not planned properly..a half baked narration..

I think some author like Walter Isaacson must do
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a company biography of the Alibaba group in China. In parallel, it is an official biography of Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur and former English instructor who is behind the growth of Alibaba. The book is written by a former Morgan Stanley analyst who got to know Jack Ma during the time when he advised Alibaba. The book is largely descriptive and follows the firm from its inception up through its recent IPO. There is even a concluding section updating the group since the IPO. The over ...more
May 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-25-stars, audiobook
Take a look at the title of the book: "Alibaba : The House That Jack Ma Built". Now ask yourself: what will this book be about?
A. Alibaba, the company founded by Jack Ma
B. Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneurial tycoon
C. The situation in China wrt entrepreneurship, online businesses and the Internet.
D. The various e-commerce businesses in China, whether those in direct competition with Alibaba's sites or those providing supporting services such as online payment, logistics, etc.

The answer shall be
Arun Divakar
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. However, the majority of people will die tomorrow night .”

Jack Ma’s quote finds resonance with any team/organization striving towards a lofty goal. There are days in your professional life when you are on the verge of throwing it all away and walking off and a lot many of us do just that. But still a few still persevere and this hard work eventually finds it’s worthy rewards. Alibaba’s rise to prominence in China
Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built is a biography of Jack Ma, founder of the "Amazon of the East" Alibaba. The book is written by a former Morgan Stanley employee, Duncan Clark, who has had a close relationship with the company since its inception in the late 1990's. Alibaba is a decent biography, chronicling the rise of Alibaba and the "Jack Magic" its multilingual and entrepreneurial founder brought to the table. Jack is an interesting character, as he has lead his company through the incep ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading Porter Erisman's "Alibaba's World" recently, this book by Duncan Clark is a useful continuation of the Alibaba story for me. Not continuation in the literal sense (since it also covers the period from startup to the second IPO) but rather it adds layers of information which I found useful.

While Erisman actually worked at Alibaba, Duncan Clark on the other hand only consulted for it. As such, I found Erisman's book much more anecdotal (based on his personal experiences), whilst Clar
A Man Called Ove
2.5/5 A decent book on the story of Jack Ma and Alibaba. Wish it had been better edited - too much namesdropping and irrelevant info of those ppl.
Secondly, this story is more of the story of conflicts with one organisation after another. What about the inside view, not in the gossip sense but in a positive sense ?
On the plus side, the book was a good introduction to how China works. The extreme regulation on political dissent and censorship reminds of Islamic theocracies. Also, as the author men
Mala Ashok
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
A full account of Jack Ma's rise to the internet mogul that ALibaba has made him.
The book was well-written but lacked humpor. I found it tough reading.
Francisca Painhas
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good book that also gives quite an introduction to the Chinese business and entrepreneurial reality as well as challenges.
Akash Khandelwal
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
The fact that Jack Ma is a visionary who has really championed the internet revolution in China is well known. I bought the book with a lot of intent and curiosity, only to get disappointed. The book is badly structured and lacks an overall narrative - leaving the book as a set of disjointed anecdotes (which are independently interesting). Wish author had spent more time in editing and storytelling...could have been a really interesting read.
Prateek Gupta
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first 100 pages feels like a stint from Ocean Eleven. Jack Ma built an industry where internet penetration was non existent. With government watching every step you take, Alibaba transformed how small businesses function in an isolated country. With fierce competition from local players and eBay on the horizon, Jack Ma was able to defend the bastion and led the company to a record breaking IPO.
The last 50 pages are average and hence I had to bring down one star.
I would highly recommend this
Tom Zacharski
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting perspective on the whole Chinese Internet market, not just Alibaba. I learned quite a bit about American companies’ struggles in China, the history of e-commerce battles between Alibaba and eBay, and also how Yahoo’s history was in many ways a story of a successful investment in Alibaba followed by massive mismanagement by the CEO. Add to that the colorful personality of Jack Ma and the involvement of Softbank (its CEO, Masayoshi San has a very different philosophy to Jack) an ...more
Subhodip Panda
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Alibaba is not a story it is a strategy" the ending lines reverberate the current path the businesses are going on. The investor capital forges the power to launch the cannon which goes through the air of offers and discounts to drive out the competitor from the market. The current economic scenario of loss making businesses to become profitable is the distant future. The free and discounts distorts the market in a way that competition is bound to be destroyed.This is the strategy that Alibaba ...more
Mikko Ikola
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story about the history of internet and ecommerce in China, and how Jack Ma succeeded to be the father-like winner in the competition.

The book tells interesting story of Jack’s early entrepreneurship ventures (China Pages) that didn’t succeed and what he learned from there. Having visited Hangzhou personally it was captivating to read the encounters happened to Jack near West Lake

The book also covers chronological development of China’s dot-com-boom ventures in early 2000. As a westerner y
Shoaib Malik
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very detailed account of China’s dotcom era and the rise and fall of the many. I liked the super-fast pace of the book, which is probably because there was so much to cover in such a short period of time. One of the few books I couldn’t let go till I had read it cover to cover.

It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand how China’s dotcom became the global engine that it is today and what to expect if Alibaba comes to your country.
In my own context, it was a very interesting read, gi
Anurag Ram Chandran
Jan 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
In Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, Duncan Clark has an eclectic collection of what could have been interesting stories IF written and structured well. Unfortunately for the reader, this book disappoints. Clark never really builds a narrative, and despite what seems like an earnest effort, is unable to give us the much-needed depth into who Jack Ma is. In my opinion, the book is a very mediocre initial foray into the charismatic entrepreneur and his baby, Alibaba. I would recommend holding ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
More like 3.5 stars. I’m a big fan of Jack Ma and Alibaba, but this biography just didn’t do a great job of introducing the reader to him. It was adequate, but focused on a lot of pointless details in some places, and short on facts and analysis on other places. It is especially hard to see how replicable what he did really is. The book felt sometimes fawning to a degree which really calls into question overall objectivity, too.
Pooja Upadhyay
Oct 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Damn, why would a writer make such a nice read as if writing clutter down the wall on street. I never understood the point of having those notes at the end of book. I mean when someone is trying to speed read at 350 wpm, I would flip pages back to end of book 37 times, for a chapter of with pages not even 36. The rise of Alibaba could have been a joyful story but unfortunately writer just forgot how to write. Never reading any books by Duncan Clark again.
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This actually ended up being a really great book outlining the state of Internet companies ecosystem in China: not only about Alibaba but also about Tencent, Baidu, Sina, etc and how Alibaba is positioned in this ecosystem. More informational than I thought
Ashik Uzzaman
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finished listening to Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark in Audible. I would recommend this book highly if you want to know how software giants got built outside of Silicon Valley. This book does give a great deal of insight into Jack's personality, his work ethic, how he motivates his employees as well as gains the trust of business clients and customers. How he dealt with his competitors - Yahoo and eBay, for example - as they tried to break into the Chinese market. The grow ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Interesting story, average writing, and terrible narration (Audible).

Story: Jack Ma is such an icon- a 100% made in China businessman who built an empire that is aimed to last 102 years. Jack Ma's story from rag to riches is inspiring because China has such a special environment that no one could say he copies what works in Silicon Valley and applies to China. It doesn't work that way. The haggle culture, the counterfeit threats, the lack of early technology, the Socialist government censorship.
Whitlaw Tanyanyiwa Mugwiji
The House that Jack Ma Built is a story of Alibaba and Ma Yun (Jack Ma). Jack Ma as he is known outside China, is one of the most well known, if not the most well known Chinese tech entrepreneur. But, unlike other well known tech entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, Tim Berners Lee, Steve jobs, Jerry Yang, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page etc, who have a gackground in computer programming, Jack Ma started his carreer as an English teacher.

He was an ordinary child and student growing up. Born in 1964 to a
Samson Sunny
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I don't know how most of the great people become rich or success with nothing in their hands. Alibaba a great success story of Jack Ma. He is just a normal person in China had a great interest in learning English language. He practised every morning for 9 years to learn English and finally he became an english teacher.

His visit to US made him to start his own business in China. Online business in China was very difficult at that time. China was isolated from other major countries because of its
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book follows the route that Jack Ma took from modest beginnings to being one of the richest men in Asia. An insightful read into the difficulties by an individual working to bring the internet and advancing computer technology into China. Jack Ma's first attempt failed basically due to trusting some rather unscrupulous individuals. He waited and almost waited too long before making his second attempt.

This book does give a great deal of insight into Jack's personality, his work ethic, how h
Arunbalaji Mohanraj
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is really a great book to know about Jack Ma and the story behind the rise of Alibaba. Duncan Clark made great efforts in pointing down each and everything to give us a detailed theory behind the Alibaba empire. At his young age, he learned English with the help of foreigners who visited China when the Open Door Policy was launched. Every morning, he used to visit the lake to give a free tour for the visitors and learned English with the help of them. Later he changed his childhood name, Ma Y ...more
Manik Patil
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: MBA students, financial analysts
Who should read it?

This is a good book for those, who are unaware of Alibaba's humble beginnings and/or trying to get a handle on Asian STATs. For the uninitiated, alike the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google/AlphaBet) in the US, or nowadays MAGA (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon), there is a similar acronym - STAT, which stands for Samsung, Tencent, Alibaba, and Taiwan Semiconductor. Alibaba plays a dominant role in one of the biggest markets as an online retailer.

Certainly a must-read
Tõnu Vahtra
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. However, the majority of people will die tomorrow night .”
Alibaba is definitely a controversial phenomena when looked from European perspective and Jack Ma was basically the guy who brought Internet to mainstream China (took along a laptop from his US visit and founded China Pages and started promoting web pages to local companies at a time when almost nobody except military and big universities had Internet). He
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