On Alfred Chandler Jnr.

I was saddened to hear of the death last week of American, Alfred Chandler Jr., aged 88. Chandler was widely regarded as the father of business history, particularly industrial history.  He was the author of the ground-breaking Scale and scope: the dynamics of industrial capitalism.

I came across “Scale and Scope” in my Economics degree in Sydney (many years ago!) in a unit on economic history. The book was brilliantly researched, beautifully written, and became the stimulus for my interest in industrial archaeology. That interest remains with me today as a member of the UK-based Association for Industrial Archaeology.

I remember reading Chandler and feeling how alive he made economic history, very much a skill on a somewhat dry subject. Compared to the torturous Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Chandler’s work was a real pleasure to read.

“A pleasure to read” – a motto that should be at the forefront of all writing today, whether it is in academia, business, e-mail or on the web.


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