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The Fish That Ate the Whale

288 pages, 2013

business & management

business & management

1082 books
biographies & memoirs

biographies & memoirs

997 books


999 books

Samuel Zemurray (1877-1961) was a Jewish immigrant who grew up in abject poverty, selling fruit on the streets of New Orleans. He eventually became the president and chairman of the United Fruit Company, a powerful American corporation that sought to establish economic control over Central America and foreign nations through the exploitation of farmlands and workers. 

However, Zemurray was more than just a ruthless capitalist, as many argue that he played an instrumental role in pushing for political reforms within these Latin American countries.

The Power of Ambition

In The Fish That Ate the Whale, Rich Cohen shows us the power of ambition through the life of Samuel Zemurray. Zemurray started as a penniless immigrant and became a banana kingpin. His story is a reminder that with hard work and determination, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Understanding the Banana Trade

Ever wondered about the history of the banana trade? This book gives you a fascinating look into it. Cohen explores the rise and fall of the United Fruit Company, and how Zemurray played a significant role in shaping the industry. It's a captivating story that will make you see bananas in a whole new light.

The Impact of Business on Politics

One of the key takeaways from the book is how business can influence politics. Zemurray's business dealings had significant political implications, particularly in Central America. It's a thought-provoking look into the power and influence of big corporations.

The Complexity of Success

Success isn't always straightforward. Cohen paints a complex picture of Zemurray's life, showing us that while he achieved great success, it came with its own set of challenges and controversies. It's a reminder that success can be a double-edged sword.

The Importance of Adaptability

Zemurray's story is also a lesson in adaptability. He was able to navigate through various challenges and changes in the industry, showing us the importance of being flexible and adaptable in business. It's a valuable lesson for anyone looking to succeed in today's fast-paced world.

Quotes 5

The Fish That Ate the Whale is a compelling narrative that provides a fresh perspective on the rise of the banana industry.

Daniel PinkDaniel Pink - Bestselling Author

Rich Cohen's book is a fascinating exploration of the life of Sam Zemurray, a man who shaped the modern banana industry.

Jon Lee AndersonJon Lee Anderson - Biographical Author

The Fish That Ate the Whale is a captivating tale of ambition, power, and the rise of a banana empire.

Walter IsaacsonWalter Isaacson - Historical Biographer

Rich Cohen's book is a riveting account of the banana king, Sam Zemurray, and his extraordinary life.

David GrannDavid Grann - Investigative Journalist

The Fish That Ate the Whale is a masterful narrative of the banana industry and the man who dominated it.

Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell - Public Speaker
Daniel PinkJon Lee AndersonWalter IsaacsonDavid GrannMalcolm Gladwell


authorRyan Holiday

Ryan Holiday

Andrew Wilkinson

Andrew Wilkinson

designerentrepreneurtechnologyventure capitalist
Nat Eliason

Nat Eliason

Patrick O'Shaughnessy

Patrick O'Shaughnessy

entrepreneurinvestormedia personality
authorEric Jorgenson

Eric Jorgenson

entrepreneurventure capitalistauthor

The Fish That Ate the Whale found in libraries

204 books

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