McKinsey Consulting’s hidden influences brought to light (coming Oct 2022)

Promo for a book by Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe is now available.

Bruce Dickson
4 min readSep 19, 2022


Book title: When McKinsey Comes to Town

Matt Stoller of the anti-monopoly blog, BIG on Substack, has made me aware McKinsey has been intimately involved in the amoral spread of monopoly and wealth extraction technology practices, in the US and around the world ~ bd

ABOUT the book:

An explosive, deeply reported exposé of McKinsey & Company, the international consulting firm who advises corporations and governments,. The book highlights the often drastic impact of its work on employees and citizens around the world

“Meticulously reported, and ultimately devastating, this is an important book.” — Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Pain and Say Nothing

McKinsey & Company is the most prestigious consulting company in the world, earning billions of dollars in fees from major corporations and governments who turn to it to maximize their profits and enhance efficiency. McKinsey’s vaunted statement of values asserts that its role is to make the world a better place, and its reputation for excellence and discretion attracts top talent from universities around the world. But what does it actually do?

In When McKinsey Comes to Town, two prizewinning investigative journalists have written a portrait of the company sharply at odds with its public image. Often McKinsey’s advice boils down to major cost-cutting, including layoffs and maintenance reductions, to drive up short-term profits, thereby boosting a company’s stock price and the wealth of its executives who hire it, at the expense of workers and safety measures. McKinsey collects millions of dollars advising government agencies that also regulate McKinsey’s corporate clients. And the firm frequently advises competitors in the same industries, but denies that this presents any conflict of interest.

In one telling example, McKinsey advised a Chinese engineering company allied with the communist government which constructed artificial islands, now used as staging grounds for the Chinese Navy — while at the same time taking tens of millions of dollars from the Pentagon, whose chief aim is to counter Chinese aggression.

Shielded by NDAs, McKinsey has escaped public scrutiny despite its role in advising tobacco and vaping companies, purveyors of opioids, repressive governments, and oil companies. McKinsey helped insurance companies’ boost their profits by making it incredibly difficult for accident victims to get payments; worked its U.S. government contacts to let Wall Street firms evade scrutiny; enabled corruption in developing countries such as South Africa; undermined health-care programs in states across the country. And much more.

Bogdanich and Forsythe have penetrated the veil of secrecy surrounding McKinsey by conducting hundreds of interviews, obtaining tens of thousands of revelatory documents, and following rule #1 of investigative reporting: Follow the money.
When McKinsey Comes to Town is a landmark work of investigative reporting that amounts to a devastating portrait of a firm whose work has often made the world more unequal, more corrupt, and more dangerous.



“Two of the finest investigative reporters in the business got behind the wall of secrecy erected by one the world’s most influential companies. WHEN MCKINSEY COMES TO TOWN is a revelatory — and disturbing — portrait of a powerful firm whose vaunted reputation is belied by its actions.”
— Jane Mayer, New York Times bestselling author of THE DARK SIDE and DARK MONEY

“In government and the private sector, in the United States and around the world, the influence of McKinsey is difficult to overstate. Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe penetrate the firm’s vaunted culture of secrecy to expose the complicity of business consultants in abetting the conduct of unsavory clients — from despots to opioid pushers — and the malign ways in which McKinsey’s “scientific management” ends up impacting all of our lives. Panoramic, meticulously reported, and ultimately devastating, this is an important book.”
— Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of SAY NOTHING and EMPIRE OF PAIN

“Bogdanich and Forsythe show how McKinsey, rather than optimizing social welfare, optimizes corporate profits and greed. In doing so the Firm has become a super spreader of corporate misdeed and contributed to America’s growing inequality problem. Hypocrisy, avarice, ridiculous power points, aiding and abetting the world’s polluters and drug companies. Every page made my blood boil as I read about McKinsey’s flawed reasoning and the vast profits made from ethically dubious work for governments, polluting companies and big pharma.”
— Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in economics 2011 and University Professor, Columbia University

“After the publication of When McKinsey Comes to Town, the secretive consulting firm is going to need its own management consultant to address the damage. The book is a devastating account of McKinsey’s influence at the top levels of government and industry. In arresting detail Bogdanich and Forsythe show how McKinsey has enabled — and profited from — one bad actor after another, from American opioid and cigarette makers to Russian oligarchs and state monopolies to Saudi Arabia’s accused murderer-prince, Mohammed bin Salman, even while boasting that it’s making the world a better place. The book is a tour de force of investigative reporting.”
James B. Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Den of Thieves and Bloomberg Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University



Hardcover | $32.50
Published by Doubleday
Oct 04, 2022 | 368 Pages | 6–1/8 x 9–1/4 | ISBN 9780385546232



Bruce Dickson

Health Intuitive, author in Los Angeles, CA