Private Empire

by Steve Coll

I found Private Empire from looking at reviews of Kochland online. Like Kochland, Private Empire focuses on a single oil company, Exxon.

In an age where tech companies reign supreme, it’s hard to imagine that just twenty years ago, Exxon was by far the biggest public company in the world. And throughout the book, you see examples where the team at Exxon took their pride to heart. Management was staffed by engineers, they kept a low level lobbying effort (in Washington), and tried to excel at their core competency: getting oil out of the ground.

Unfortunately, in our current environment (figuratively and literally), Exxon’s new compentency needs to be around softer skills. Private Empires came out in 2012 when the stock was in the $80-90s range, these days, Exxon trades at $40-$60. Yet, there’s still a world in which our demand for fuel rises exponentially and we need people who are really damn good at getting oil out of the ground, and that would be Exxon.


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