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Screw Business As Usual
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Top Customer Reviews
Branson builds a strong case for the business world's potential to address social, economic, political and environmental issues by creating new business models and new ways of doing business. He does this not by some theoretical or pie-in-the sky fluff, but rather by stories of organizations and businesses that have done it. So his narrative is planted firmly in the real world and that is what is so inspiring and concrete - a departure from the usual nonsense that fills so many business, self-help and do-good tomes that fill the shelves these days.
Despite the underlying gravitas, the book is an easy read. The big picture is built by narrating stories about new organizations, leadership groups and businesses that are combining business and social causes. The cases are mostly related to what has been done in the Virgin Group, but also include stories about people that Branson knows personally, which includes a network of extraordinary breadth. He seems to be able to call virtually any world leader, politician, musician, movie producer or activist to form a team to deal with issues ranging from healthcare to poverty to environmental issues.
Reading a book in an interaction between writer and reader.Read more ›
Richard Branson has said what sorely needed to be said - that the function of business is to "do good", to solve some social problem and profits are a by-product of doing this well. He says bluntly "The focus on profit being king has caused significant negative, unintended consequences."
Branson is a billionaire and that means he has a Stentorian voice when speaking to MBAs and would be Masters of the Universe. He has also spawned - under the Virgin name - hundreds of wildly profitable enterprises and that means that lots of folks in the private equity and hedge fund world will pay attention to him even if they presently don't agree with him.
And his message is one that badly needs to be aired.
There is a pernicious doctrine floated by some economists and assiduously propagated by top business schools to the effect that it is the function of a business to concentrate on profits and "maximizing shareholder value" and any attempt to focus on social good is a dereliction of duty on the part of managers. Supposedly this "maximum profit" will enrich the shareholders who will then use it in private philanthropy for the good of society and do it better than the business could have.
There is a still more pernicious doctrine that uses "agency theory" to "align" the interests of managers with that of shareholders in this quest. The way to do this is to award senior executives massive blocks of stock.Read more ›
The writing itself however was execrable and (for me at least) detracted from the otherwise overwhelmingly positive and inspiring message of the book. Perhaps it was a conscious editorial decision to allow Branson's personal communicative style to predominate throughout - it certainly bears a chipper, upbeat and optimistic tone that would well be immensely engaging in the course of a conversation. In the form of a book however, it comes across as rambling, repetitive in the use of stock phrases, overly self-congratulatory, and don't get me started on the name-dropping. Large parts of it seemed to go over old ground that was covered in his earlier book Losing My Virginity e.g. his childhood and early enterprises, his friends and cohort of early change-makers etc. While the intent might have been to communicate a sense of simplicity, accessibility and disarming guilelessness, methinks the services of a good editor would have made a world of difference. After all, the book had a message to deliver, and I believe a better-organized way of relating it would serve as better and clearer guidance. As such, it could have been a lot shorter and more impactful without losing the essence and enthusiasm of Branson's voice in the telling.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We live in a world that is ending, as we know it, and something new is emerging. In Screw Business as Usual Richard Branson, in his own cheerished way, gives us a bath of awareness... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alvaro Trigueros
Given as a gift to my son for Christmas and he really liked it.Published 14 months ago by Barbara Passmore
I am a big fan of Branson and thoroughly enjoyed his book. It's an easy read and he keeps it light and entertaining.Published 14 months ago by TeamOMalley
If you are a successful business man, this is a book that would transcend you to think just like Richard Branson. Read morePublished 20 months ago by rongyi du
This will give you a optimism for doing the right thing in business. Richard is a hero to me for his risk taking and courage to screw business as usual.Published 20 months ago by Rodney
Half done on my third book of Branson. I love his attitude and it reconfirms the way I also believe business should be done.Published 21 months ago by Paul Wynia
This is a gift I give to many of my executive friends who are trying to gain insight around the role they play as a corporate leader and person of humanity. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mickey Mikeworth