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The Four
Cover of The Four
The Four
The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY 
BESTSELLER


Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong. 

For all that’s been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway.

Instead of buying the myths these compa­nies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they’re almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)? Why does the stock market forgive them for sins that would destroy other firms? And as they race to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, can anyone chal­lenge them?

In the same irreverent style that has made him one of the world’s most celebrated business professors, Galloway deconstructs the strategies of the Four that lurk beneath their shiny veneers. He shows how they manipulate the fundamental emotional needs that have driven us since our ancestors lived in caves, at a speed and scope others can’t match. And he reveals how you can apply the lessons of their ascent to your own business or career.

Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand the Four.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY 
BESTSELLER


Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong. 

For all that’s been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway.

Instead of buying the myths these compa­nies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they’re almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)? Why does the stock market forgive them for sins that would destroy other firms? And as they race to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, can anyone chal­lenge them?

In the same irreverent style that has made him one of the world’s most celebrated business professors, Galloway deconstructs the strategies of the Four that lurk beneath their shiny veneers. He shows how they manipulate the fundamental emotional needs that have driven us since our ancestors lived in caves, at a speed and scope others can’t match. And he reveals how you can apply the lessons of their ascent to your own business or career.

Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand the Four.
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  • From the book Chapter 1

    The Four

    Over the last twenty years, four technology giants have inspired more joy, connections, prosperity, and discovery than any entity in history. Along the way, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have created hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs. The Four are responsible for an array of products and services that are entwined into the daily lives of billions of people. They've put a supercomputer in your pocket, are bringing the internet into developing countries, and are mapping the Earth's land mass and oceans. The Four have generated unprecedented wealth ($2.3 trillion) that, via stock ownership, has helped millions of families across the planet build economic security. In sum, they make the world a better place.

    The above is true, and this narrative is espoused, repeatedly, across thousands of media outlets and gatherings of the innovation class (universities, conferences, congressional hearings, boardrooms). However, consider another view.

    The Four Horsemen

    Imagine: a retailer that refuses to pay sales tax, treats its employees poorly, destroys hundreds of thousands of jobs, and yet is celebrated as a paragon of business innovation.

    A computer company that withholds information about a domestic act of terrorism from federal investigators, with the support of a fan following that views the firm similar to a religion.

    A social media firm that analyzes thousands of images of your children, activates your phone as a listening device, and sells this information to Fortune 500 companies.

    An ad platform that commands, in some markets, a 90 percent share of the most lucrative sector in media, yet avoids anti-competitive regulation through aggressive litigation and lobbyists.

    This narrative is also heard around the world, but in hushed tones. We know these companies aren't benevolent beings, yet we invite them into the most intimate areas of our lives. We willingly divulge personal updates, knowing they'll be used for profit. Our media elevate the executives running these companies to hero status-geniuses to be trusted and emulated. Our governments grant them special treatment regarding anti-trust regulation, taxes, even labor laws. And investors bid their stocks up, providing near-infinite capital and firepower to attract the most talented people on the planet or crush adversaries.

    So, are these entities the Four Horsemen of god, love, sex, and consumption? Or are they the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse? The answer is yes to both questions. I'll just call them the Four Horsemen.

    How did these companies aggregate so much power? How can an inanimate, for-profit enterprise become so deeply ingrained in our psyche that it reshapes the rules of what a company can do and be? What does unprecedented scale and influence mean for the future of business and the global economy? Are they destined, like other business titans before them, to be eclipsed by younger, sexier rivals? Or have they become so entrenched that nobody-individual, enterprise, government, or otherwise-stands a chance?

    State of Affairs

    This is where the Four stand at the time of this writing:

    Amazon: Shopping for a Porsche Panamera Turbo S or a pair of Louboutin lace pumps is fun. Shopping for toothpaste and eco-friendly diapers is not. As the online retailer of choice for most Americans, and increasingly, the world, Amazon eases the pain of drudgery-getting the stuff...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 27, 2017
    Behemoth tech companies are favorite subjects for Galloway, a serial entrepreneur and New York University business professor, when he talks on digital media panels, and actor Ross captures the author’s swagger in the audio edition of Galloway’s book. The effect is similar to hearing Galloway in full stride. The book’s thesis is that each of the four technology giants—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—appeal to consumers’ instinctual needs: Amazon sates the hunger for acquisition, Apple appeals to the need to create, Facebook plays on the need for love and human interaction, and Google satisfies the need for God. It may sound outlandish at first, but the book manages to be both fun and convincing, as Galloway details the eight key factors each company uses to establish dominance in the marketplace. The book ends with a sober warning about the “distortion created by the steady march of digital technology,” which Galloway believes is “dangerous for society.” Narrator Ross delivers this coda with a gravity that counters his earlier animation. The combination makes the audio edition of this timely book all the more forceful. A Portfolio hardcover.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2017
    Galloway, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, writes about four tech giants that have become today's digital-age influential powerhouses: Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. In common, these four companies share their accessibility and daily use by millions of people seeking their services and products. Galloway describes the rapid rise of the four through their strategic business models, and how each company has refined new services and products to serve more people around the world than any other company. Galloway also addresses setbacks that these giants have faced in their journeys, providing useful lessons for business leaders. In discussing how the four have defended their markets carefully and strategically against competitors, Galloway explores the rise of new retail giants in the field, such as Alibaba and Netflix. Readers interested in innovation and strategies in technology and business management will find this book to be a provocative and insightful look at four powerful forces that dominate our social, psychological, and economic states today.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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