The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public

Lynn A. Stout

Language: English

Published: Mar 15, 2012


Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize shareholder value.” In this pathbreaking book, renowned corporate expert Lynn Stout debunks the myth that corporate law mandates shareholder primacy. Stout shows how shareholder value thinking endangers not only investors but the rest of us as well, leading managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings; discouraging investment and innovation; harming employees, customers, and communities; and causing companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and irresponsible behaviors. And she looks at new models of corporate purpose that better serve the needs of investors, corporations, and society.



“A must-read for managers, directors, and policymakers interested in getting America back in the business of creating real value for the long term.”
—Constance E. Bagley, Professor, Yale School of Management; President, Academy of Legal Studies in Business; and author of Managers and the Legal Environment and Winning Legally

“A compelling call for radically changing the way business is done…, The Shareholder Value Myth powerfully demonstrates both the dangers of the shareholder value rule and the falseness of its alleged legal necessity.”
—Joel Bakan, Professor, The University of British Columbia, and author of the book and film The Corporation

“Lynn Stout has a keen mind, a sharp pen, and an unbending sense of fearlessness. Her book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the root causes of the current financial calamity.”
—Jack Willoughby, Senior Editor, Barron’s

“Lynn Stout offers a new vision of good corporate governance that serves investors, firms, and the American economy.”
—Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, Business and Society Program, The Aspen Institute

About the Author

Lynn Stout is the Marc and Beth Goldberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. Her work on corporate theory was cited by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent in Citizens United.