The East India Company: The World’s Most Powerful Corporation
By Tirthankar Roy (with an Introduction by Gurucharan Das)
Published by Audible Studios
Read by Virkas Adam
I decided I wanted something different to listen to and when I stumbled across a copy of this book, I decided, “Why not?” I had to admit I did not know much more about the East India Company than is mentioned in grade school, where somehow my teachers not only failed to mention that the company provided the template for modern multi-national corporations, but for modern drug cartels as well. It sounded like an interesting subject and I was not disappointed.
Tirthankar Roy is one of the leading teachers of the economic history of India and has had a profound impact on how that subject is studied and taught worldwide, so I was happy to listen to what he had to say on the subject.
This book is actually part of a larger series on “The Story of Indian Business” published by Penguin and I may well look into the rest of the series, but this volume stands easily by itself, tracing the period of the formation of the East India Company, it’s rise to great power, arguably greater than any other corporation in history, to its eventual dissolution. The author tells the story well, in sufficient detail and yet in an easy to understand manner so you do not have to be an economist to understand what he is telling us.
Furthermore, he does so in an amazingly interesting manner. So, whether you are interested in the historical aspects discussed, the economic ones, or even the anthropological details, it is all here in a well presented text.
Virkas Adam reads with a pleasant voice and a mild Indian accent that embellishes, rather than detracts from the text. For those people who may have ever called Tech Support for their computer and found themselves talking to someone in a call center in Mangalore, this is NOT one of those experiences. No one should have any trouble with Virkas Adam’s accent. While distinctive, it is very mild, the Indian equivalent, perhaps, of the Middle American accent (you know, that part of the United States where people claim they have no accent… or rather that part of the US where people make that claim, but is not Mississippi)
In fact, I highly recommend, both this book and its reader to anyone even mildly interested in the subject. An excellent presentation.