The House That Jack Ma Built

Duncan Clark

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016, 287 pages

ISBN: 978-0-06-241341-3

Keywords: Biography

Last modified: Feb. 17, 2020, 12:11 a.m.

In just a decade and a half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded Alibaba and built it into one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend.

Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early adviser to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet's impact on the country to create an authorative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba's rise.

Clark tells Alibaba's tale in the context of China's momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.

  1. The Iron Trinagle
  2. Jack Magic
  3. From Student to Teacher
  4. Hope and Coming to America
  5. China Is Coming On
  6. Bubble and Birth
  7. Backers: Goldman and Softbank
  8. Burst and Back to China
  9. Born Again: Taobao and the Humiliation of eBay
  10. Yahoo's Billion-Dollar Bet
  11. Growing Pains
  12. Icon or Icarus?



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: April 25, 2020, 1:20 p.m.

Starts of as a idol-portrait of Jack Ma, continues to try and explain Jack Ma (and fails), then goes into a very dry and not very informative review of the dotcom landscape in China during the start of the century (mildly interesting) amd iterates a lot of stuff that you can find more details about on the Wikipedia.

I had high hopes for this book, as I am interested in Alibaba et al, and visited China in 2019, and saw the spread of technology that had transformed the society in the big cities. But this book fails to explain the Chinese characteristics, the Chinese IT industry and the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent).

Seems more like a book that was written to take advantage of peoples interest, than a honest attempt to explain anything. 


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