The Roots of Progress

The Company

A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea

John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge

A history of the corporate form, from its origins in small partnerships through the development of joint-stock companies with limited liability trading on public equity markets.

I read this book immediately after A History of the Global Stock Market, and they cover much of the same ground: the origins of the modern corporation in 17th-century trading ventures; the birth of the railroads and how that drove an expansion of industry and of capital requirements; the development of modern capitalism in the 20th century. I learned interesting things about niche topics like the introduction of limited liability and the rise of professional management.

Recommended for anyone interested in financial or business history.

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