The Best Books for Business Owners of 2009

Poorly Made in China by Paul Midler
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Poorly Made in China by Paul Midler

In the rush to move manufacturing to China to save costs, few U.S. companies have come to terms with just how much they are giving up in the process. Midler, who worked as a middleman between American product companies and the factories in China that produce their goods, lets us follow him as he takes various executives from the West—a soap and shampoo manufacturer, a paper recycler, and even a diamond merchant—to meet Chinese partners. The dirty little secret is not so much the way factories treat their workers, Midler argues, but rather all the subtle ways that manufacturers will cut corners, sacrificing basic expectations of quality in a bid to boost margins. Read this book and you’ll be ready to ask a lot of smart questions on your next trip to Shenzhen. Recommended by Joel Spolsky.