Screw Business As Usual: Turning Capitalism into a Force for Good

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Penguin, Dec 8, 2011 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
RICHARD BRANSON, one of the world's most famous and admired business leaders, argues that it's time to turn capitalism upside down-to shift our values from an exclusive focus on profit to also caring for people, communities and the planet.


As he writes:
"It's a vibrant and definite sea change from the way business was always done, when financial profit was a driving force. Today, people aren't afraid to say, Screw business as usual!-and show they mean it.

"It's amazing how I keep coming across the same message, from bustling global cities to the townships of South Africa to small villages in India to G8 climate conferences.

"It's no coincidence that so many people are talking about the same thing. There's a real buzz in the air. Change is happening.

"People often associate me with challenges, with trying to break records while sailing the Atlantic or flying in a jet stream in a balloon or going into space with Virgin Galactic. But this book isn't just about fun and adventure and exceeding one's wildest dreams. It's a different kind of business book. It's about revolution. My message is a simple one: business as usual isn't working. In fact, business as usual is wrecking this planet. Resources are being used up; the air, the sea, the land are all heavily polluted. The poor are getting poorer. Many are dying of starvation or because they can't afford a dollar a day for lifesaving medicine.

"But my message is not all doom and gloom. I will describe how I think business can help fix things and create a more prosperous world for everyone. I happen to believe in business because I believe that business is a force for good. By that I mean that doing good is good for business.

"Doing the right thing can be profitable. I will show how this works step by step in the following pages. It's the core message of this book. I often say, 'Have fun and the money will come.' I still believe that, but now I am saying, 'Do good, have fun and the money will come.'"


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Virgin CEO Richard Branson (Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen, and Blasting into Space, 2011, etc.) offers a stirring vision for a "new capitalism" that makes doing good for society a top ... Read full review

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Overall, I found the book to be very disappointing. Generally, it's filled with pie in the sky stuff that only a billionaire who really doesn't have to worry about whether or not something actually works could pursue. That said, I don't disagree with some of his ideas, many of which would be nice if they in fact could catch on. I just doubt that the masses will ever be able to embrace what he says we should all be doing. Sure, we all want a perfect planet. Sure, we all want to help our brother. Sure, we all want to lift up the poor. But the book does not give credit seemingly at all to the fact that "business as usual" has led to the greatest rise in standards of living in history of civilization. Capitalism as we know it may not be perfect, but I think it's a lot better than Branson and his ilk are able to admit. One last observation: I have never read a book in which the author name drops so gratuitously. It really detracts from the message, as well dent my respect for Branson. 


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About the author (2011)

Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group. With around 200 companies in more than 30 countries, the Virgin Group has now expanded into leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance, health, and renewable energy. Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and his books on business, Screw It, Let's Do It and Business Stripped Bare, are all international bestsellers.

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