An explosive exposé of Samsung that “reads like a dynastic thriller, rolling through three generations of family intrigue, embezzlement, bribery, corruption, prostitution, and other bad behavior” (The Wall Street Journal).
LONGLISTED FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES AND MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
Based on years of reporting on Samsung for The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and Time, from his base in South Korea, and his countless sources inside and outside the company, Geoffrey Cain offers a penetrating look behind the curtains of the biggest company nobody in America knows. Seen for decades in tech circles as a fast follower rather than an innovation leader, Samsung today has grown to become a market leader in the United States and around the globe. They have captured one quarter of the smartphone market and have been pushing the envelope on every front.
Forty years ago, Samsung was a rickety Korean agricultural conglomerate that produced sugar, paper, and fertilizer, located in a backward country with a third-world economy. With the rise of the PC revolution, though, Chairman Lee Byung-chul began a bold experiment: to make Samsung a major supplier of computer chips. The multimillion- dollar plan was incredibly risky. But Lee, wowed by a young Steve Jobs, who sat down with the chairman to offer his advice, became obsessed with creating a tech empire. And in Samsung Rising, we follow Samsung behind the scenes as the company fights its way to the top of tech. It is one of Apple’s chief suppliers of technology critical to the iPhone, and its own Galaxy phone outsells the iPhone.
Today, Samsung employs over 300,000 people (compared to Apple’s 80,000 and Google’s 48,000). The company’s revenues have grown more than forty times from that of 1987 and make up more than 20 percent of South Korea’s exports. Yet their disastrous recall of the Galaxy Note 7, with numerous reports of phones spontaneously bursting into flames, reveals the dangers of the company’s headlong attempt to overtake Apple at any cost.
A sweeping insider account, Samsung Rising shows how a determined and fearless Asian competitor has become a force to be reckoned with.
About the Author
Geoffrey Cain is a foreign correspondent and author who has covered Asia and technology for The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Time, The New Republic, and other publications. A resident of South Korea for five years and a Fulbright scholar, he studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and the George Washington University. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“Samsung Rising reads like a dynastic thriller, rolling through three generations of family intrigue, embezzlement, bribery, corruption, prostitution and other bad behavior. . . . Wonderfully informative.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A brisk, balanced telling of the Samsung story.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A gripping read . . . Cain knows his material.”—Financial Times
“Essential reading for the 21st century . . . Samsung Rising is a masterclass in business bio-writing—one that reads like a cyberpunk thriller crackling with circuitry, lit by neon and fueled by soju.”—Asia Times
“[A] page-turner of a book . . . Of every book on this list, Samsung Rising is the one I devoured the fastest.”—Cult of Mac (2020’s Best Tech Books)
“Cain’s writing is appropriately damning of Samsung’s failures and admiring of its achievements, providing a comprehensive look at one of the most secretive and consequential companies in the world.”—The Verge
“Cain captures the drama of Samsung. . . . He pulls no punches, touching raw nerves of rivalries and repression and clashing egos in an account that’s unavoidably murky at times, but riveting current history.”—Forbes
“[A] riveting story . . . one of entrepreneurial derring-do and excruciating work habits mixed with scandals, vendettas and political intrigue.”—The Economist
“With Samsung Rising, Geoffrey Cain shines an incisive and entertaining light into the secretive world of the South Korean technology giant, whose ambitions and idiosyncrasies are shaping our digital lives in ways we probably can’t imagine.”—Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts
“Reads like a thriller, whipping us through the dramatic story of the world’s largest technology company.”—Daniel Tudor, author of Korea: The Impossible Country
“An extraordinary work of narrative business reportage . . . With the flair of a novelist, Geoffrey Cain tells the story of Samsung’s meteoric rise.”—Robert S. Boynton, author of The New New Journalism and The Invitation-Only Zone
“It’s often impossible to discern where Samsung ends and South Korea begins—and vice versa. Geoffrey Cain pulls back the curtain with this timely and uniquely intimate look at Korea Inc. in all its cacophonous wonder.”—William Pesek