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Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place

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Part memoir and part examination of a new business model, the 2005 release of The Company We Keep marked the debut of an important new voice in the literature of American business. Now, in Companies We Keep, the revised and expanded edition of his 2005 work, John Abrams further develops his idea that companies flourish when they become centers of interdependence, or "communities of enterprise."

Thoroughly revised with an expanded focus on employee ownership and workplace democracy, Companies We Keep celebrates the idea that when employees share in the rewards as well as the responsibility for the decisions they make, better decisions result. This is an especially timely topic. Most of the baby boomer generation--the owners of millions of American businesses-- will retire within the next two decades. In 2001, 50,000 businesses changed hands. In 2005, that number rose to 350,000. Projections call for 750,000 ownership transitions in 2009. Employee ownership--in both the philosophical and the practical sense--is gathering steam as businesses change hands, and Abrams examines some of the many ways this is done.

Companies We Keep is structured around eight principles--from "Sharing Ownership" and "Cultivating Workplace Democracy" to "Thinking Like Cathedral Builders" and "Committing to the Business of Place"--that Abrams has discovered in the 32 years since he cofounded South Mountain Company on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Together, these principles reveal communities of enterprise as a potent force of change that can--and will-- improve the way Americans do business.

352 pages, Paperback

First published November 8, 2008

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John Abrams

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha Glenn.
55 reviews9 followers
April 28, 2015
First half was great, second half was a bit draggy for me as it relied mostly on examples of his company & did pull as much from other industries. Overall though a very knowledgeable and well-written book!
Profile Image for Evans.
90 reviews
February 18, 2018
Great insight into the Co-operative model from a different industry. Dug it.
Profile Image for Moses.
122 reviews7 followers
July 9, 2010
Fantastic book. Great to know that a company out there cares more about its community then just making money. South Mountain has a fantastic model for employee ownership, and it should inspire companies out there to do the same.
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