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General Motors and IBM dismissed their chief executives and laid off thousands of employees. Sears cut staff, closed its catalog, and auctioned off divisions. American Airlines, Bell Atlantic, and Digital Equipment reengineered their operations. Chase and Chemical Banks merged, while ITT and AT&T divided themselves.Taken in isolation, each company action may appear to be the product of unique circumstances, but behind each merger, each breakup, each shake-up, is the growing power of investors. And the investors wielding this power are not the plutocrats of old but the managers of pension funds, bank trusts, insurance contracts, charity endowments, mutual funds, and 401(k) plans. Pooling the money of millions of small investors, these managers have built massive stakes in the nation's enterprises, and in recent years they have begun to flex their muscles in reshaping corporate direction and improving company performance.The old rules of investing used to be simple and clear: you bought shares and left the operation of the company to a group of professional managers; if you where unhappy with the firm's performance, you sold your shares and moved on. But with the rise of large institutional investors, the option of selling has become problematic. It's one thing to cash out when you own a hundred shares of a company; it's another thing entirely when you own a hundred thousand shares.So fund managers have adopted a new strategy--changing the corporation's policies from within--with dramatic results. "Investor Capitalism" documents the ensuing struggles among interested parties that have transformed the way in which business goes about its business. Michael Useem takes us inside the boardrooms and into the proxy battles to track the origins of this shift in corporate power and analyze what it has meant for corporations, shareholders, employees, and the American economy. His insights reveal a brave new world of business, which we ignore at our peril.