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Kochland

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  970 ratings  ·  143 reviews
A Simon & Schuster audiobook. Simon & Schuster has a great book for every listener.
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Simon & Schuster UK
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Lori
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's well researched and information-dense, but still readable. Emphasis is on the Koch family making money rather than what buy.

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Bam cooks the books ;-)
The age of Goliath.

I read Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right shortly after the 2016 election. It was very eye opening about the role big money is playing in politics. One of the privately-held corporations named in that book was Koch Industries, so when Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America was published this year, I thought it would be important to find out more about their business and how they are
...more
David
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely hated reading every single page of this book - yet, with every page, I felt it was my duty as a concerned citizen to continue reading. There were several times I wanted to stop. But I didn't. I pushed myself to 'get it over with'... just so I would have the information.

I had already read Jane Mayer's terrific 'Dark Money' - and I hesitated about reading 'Kochland' because I felt that, in a way, Mayer already told me everything the average person needed to know about Charles Koch.
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Lee Woodruff
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
n an era when journalism has polarized into name calling on TV and what we call news can include a tweet, its refreshing to read a book thats the result of deep investigative journalism. Seven years in the making, the author set out to trace the rise of modern corporate America through the story of a powerful and secretive family corporation that most of us in America know little about. I first started hearing about the Koch brothers during the last election cycle and had no idea that the ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
The Koch Brothers are pure capitalism in interest and ideology and they are dynamic evil. Fueled by a strong libertarian philosophy they are the embodiment of every Marxist critique of Capitalism. It as if they were from central casting of Das Kapital. The use every bit of information while being as opaque to scrutiny as possible. they have gobbled up competitors, squeezed workers bent political systems, propagandized the public to feed there quest for profit, market share, monopoly ...more
Manny
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pro-EPA, anti-Capitalist, and anti-Koch position of the author is palpable. However, with that said, the book is well written and obviously well researched. Some of his assertions are off though in my opinion.

Leonard writes about how breaking the Labor Unions is tied to the divide between management and the workers. However if you look at the Union structure, and the salaries of the Labor Union Bosses you will see that they too are off from the standard worker. There was a time when Labor
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Bookworm
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you need a blow by blow of the various awful things the Koch brothers have done, this would be your book. Author Christopher Leonard takes the reader through a journey that shows us how the ruthlessness of the Koch family has continued to grow richer and richer at the expense of so many workers, the environment, good business, small businesses, etc. It's a lot to absorb.

Leonard looks at era by era, entity by entity and goes through what the Koch family and their various businesses do from
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Charles
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Long View for Good and Bad

As with much in our country today, there is likely to be a partisan divide over author Christopher Leonards examination of Koch Industries, a book that parts much of the veil on a company and a family that for decades has operated under the deepest secrecy. Because of its size and influence, this is a company that everyone should try to understand.

Leonard has written a book that portrays in high relief the strengths and weaknesses of pure capitalism. His profile
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Samuel Mwangi
The author comes off as biased (anti-capitalist, anti-Koch). That's his prerogative however it left a bad taste in my mouth. I've read books written by Mr. Leonard's mentor Steve Coll and was hoping for a similar writing style. The book is organized well and provides a lot of interesting details about Koch and his business practices. If the author's bias wasn't palpable this would receive 4 stars.
Jonathan Mckay
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
63rd book of 2019. 4.5 stars, heres how America runs.

Through personal experience I know tech and government. Finance has been reported on to death. But that leaves about 80% of the economy that remains a mystery.

Kochland shines a light on what feels like the everyday American economy, through the lens of a family empire that has steadily grown over the last 40 years. In this book the patriarchs libertarian leanings are simply an outgrowth of the company religion market based management.
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Trung Nguyen Dang
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely detailed business biography on Koch Industries as well as on Charles Koch.
Ben
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I worried that Leonard would go into too much detail, but he handles this issue well. Instead of exhaustively covering everything, he chooses a few areas---for example, union relations at the Pine Bend refinery and at a Portland warehouse, or the Waxman-Markey carbon cap & trade bill---and goes into them in detail. The areas all involve Koch Industries, though not necessarily the Koch brothers personally. The tone is even throughout, not strident. Nonetheless, the story is quite frightening. ...more
Lynn
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Points out the scary fact that, regardless of where one stands on impeaching Trump, he is no friend of the Koch family but Mike Pence has been for years. So due to the fact that Pence comes across (as did the ruthless, thieving Koch brothers and now just the remaining one, Charles) as more polite and much less temperamental than Trump, we may need to ask ourselves: are we just going to be moving from a monkey throwing his feces directly at us to a well-dressed, seemingly mild-mannered but ...more
Jennie
This book was 700 pages of stomach turning modern-day capitalism. Not exactly a fun reading experience, but I did find it really interesting once I got into it. The first third was more difficult to get through until the story of the company starts getting told through the perspectives of non-Koch family member employees. It was nice to have a few people to root for in a book filled with grade A assholes.
Suzanne
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coincidentally read this book the week that David Koch died and the Amazon rainforest fires ignited. A glaring example of the power of money and a difficult under the circumstances. At times, too many characters and detail to follow but kept my attention.
Samuel
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When reading a biography, or something of the sort, it's hard to keep your preconceived notions out of the way. Even harder is to struggle to resist making heroes and villains out of men.

But if you can struggle, then you definitely will end up amazed at the magnitude of Koch Operations, the sheer relentlessness of the organization, and the fundamental philosophies underpinning it.

The author does a great job weaving together, far reaching and complex narratives over many years. He provides a
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Scott
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loooong, extraordinarily well-researched tome about Koch Industries. So long and so detailed, in fact, that I found myself skimming more and more as I read. I was interested in learning more about Kochs political machinations, but most of the book focuses on (and succeeds at) explaining its complicated, sometimes shady business practices. ...more
Barbpie
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Horrifyingly scary. This was hard for me to get through because it was so densely packed with information. But I liked being introduced to real people whose lives have been ruined by their contact with Kochland.
Diogenes
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am totally convinced that probably seventy percent to seventy-five percent of our government is being run by Satan worshipers, [Maria] Brady said. Thats whats wrong with this country. (p. 630).

Little Maria Moron of Fantasyland, USA, and her scholarly wisdom, provide the perfect illustrative example of the disease afflicting this unraveling Republic.

Leonard painstakingly chronicles the history of the Koch brothers and their rising empire, as well as reveals the grand scheme of Koch Industries
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Arthur Goldgaber
I was interested in reading "Kochland" because I heard the author, Christopher Leonard, speak on the NPR show, "Fresh Air." The interview was interesting. He provided more information about Koch the company as opposed to the Koch brothers' political activities, which was featured in a book by the New Yorker staffer Jane Mayer, "Dark Money." By the way, Koch is pronounced as "Coke" not "Kotch." David Koch passed away recently, just after the book was published. He was not involved in running the ...more
Brian Katz
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book. The author wrote this book to attack the company Koch and its owners, but I read the book to learn more about the company as little is available as Koch is a private company.

The book covers many years and walks the reader through 40 years of business expansion, challenges, successes and failures. It reads something like the story about Berkshire Hathaway. The book also discusses Charles & David Koch and their political activities to influence policy and legislation
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Jason Orthman
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible narrative around Charles Koch, his family and business. Well written and researched. Some great business insights and learnings around the importance of opportunism, dedication and taking a long term view. Whether you agree or not with his political views and mode of conduct, its fascinating to see how he influences the broader debate. Excellent book. ...more
Robyn Hammontree
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welp, that was horrifying.
Mel
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most readers are not going to like this book. I will buy a copy then reread it some time next spring with Dark Money with a discussion group. This reveals a picture of powerful brothers with an agenda. It reveals in large degree how we got where we are. You probably will not agree with the Koch agenda but if it is to be defeated then it must be understood. Reading this to understand the libertarian/conservative position becomes essential.
Tina
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Charles Koch is not a good person and has done harm to our environment, economy and more. But this book humanizes those who inhabit Kochland. I'm impressed by how intelligent they seem, if horribly misguided.

Also, this book is really effing long. That's cool...it's just long.
"Dr" Kris
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Should 25 families control @50% of assets in the United States? Should the Koch brothers have such a dominating position to control assists and use them to achieve their own personal agenda? In many ways I hate this book. I hate what it makes me look at in myself, my own family, and people I know. I hate the idea that so many have so little so that so few can have so much. There is a lesson here about why politics and the world is the way it is today. I encourage those seeking change to read ...more
James
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Stephen King, at his scariest, is not as terrifying as this book. It is one of best and most thorough looks at Koch, way more than Dark Money. Truly a must read.
Sergio GRANDE
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said that an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man. This observation would seem to be particularly true of Koch Industries, which has been led by one CEO since 1967, Charles Koch

The other main shareholder is his brother David.

But the family company" is much more than that. Koch Industries owns a network of commodities trading offices in Houston, Moscow, Geneva, and elsewhere, which are the circulatory system of modern finance. Koch traders sell everything
...more
Antonio Nunez
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kochland is many stories in one book. It is the story of three generations of the Koch family, starting with Fred Koch, the founder, and his four intelligent, tall and handsome sons. Of these the eldest is a cypher who appears at the beginning and then vanishes. The second is Charles Koch, one of the great business managers and empire builders of the past century, a man driven by reason, ambition and self interest into creating the second largest private fortune in the world (he and David ...more
Anna
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting subject; poorly written book.
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15 likes · 8 comments
“One of the key lessons that Charles Koch took from the Austrian economists von Mises and Hayek was that markets never stood still. The status quo never survived. Markets always build up and then tear down. It was an evolutionary process that never ended, and companies that tried to fight the process would only be devoured by the forces of change in the end.” 1 likes
“He was also the father of four rowdy and brilliant boys, boys in whom he’d worked to instill the values that mattered most to him: intelligence, a hard work ethic, integrity, and drive.” 0 likes
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