Lindy Woodhead

In the Eye of the Shareholder

Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Business

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Oxford University Press 416pp £25 order from our bookshop

Geoffrey Jones teaches at Harvard Business School, where he holds the title of Isidor Straus Professor of Business History. He has previously written about Unilever and his new book, Beauty Imagined, is being promoted as the ‘first authoritative history of the global beauty industry from the nineteenth century to the present day’.

In what will no doubt be essential reading for the students at HBS – a training ground for prospective management of the corporate giants who produce most of the world’s beauty products – Jones explains that many of the ideas in Beauty Imagined were ‘tested and honed in the school’s classrooms’, citing case studies on Shiseido, Natura, L’Oréal and Coty amongst others. He offers his readers swathes of impressive statistics, including several hugely detailed charts showing the ‘who’s who’ in cosmetics today – the top four being Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive.

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