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The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wharton School Publishing; Book and CD-ROM edition (August 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131467506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131467507
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"C. K. Prahalad argues that companies must revolutionize how they dobusiness in developing countries if both sides of that economic equation areto prosper. Drawing on a wealth of case studies, his compelling new bookoffers an intriguing blueprint for how to fight poverty with profitability."
Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect,Microsoft
"The Bottom of the Pyramid belongs at the top of the reading list forbusiness people, academics, and experts pursuing the elusive goal ofsustainable growth in the developing world. C. K. Prahalad writes withuncommon insight about consumer needs in poor societies andopportunities for the private sector to serve important public purposes whileenhancing its own bottom line. If you are looking for fresh thinking aboutemerging markets, your search is ended. This is the book for you."
Madeleine K. Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
"Prahalad challenges readers to re-evaluate their pre-conceived notionsabout the commercial opportunities in serving the relatively poor nations ofthe world. The Bottom of the Pyramid highlights the way to commercialsuccess and societal improvement--but only if the developed worldreconceives the way it delivers products and services to the developingworld."
Christopher Rodrigues, CEO, Visa International
"An important and insightful work showing persuasively how the privatesector can be put at the center of development, not just as a rhetoricalflourish but as a real engine of jobs and services for the poor."
Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

From the Back Cover

The world's most exciting, fastest-growing new market? It's where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world's billions of poor people have immense entrepreneurial capabilities and buying power. You can learn how to serve them and help millions of the world's poorest people escape poverty.

It is being done—profitably. Whether you're a business leader or an anti-poverty activist, business guru Prahalad shows why you can't afford to ignore "Bottom of the Pyramid" (BOP) markets.

In the book and accompanying CD videos, Prahalad presents...

Why what you know about BOP markets is wrong
A world of surprises—from spending patterns to distribution and marketing

Unlocking the "poverty penalty"

The most enduring contributions your company can make
Delivering dignity, empowerment, and choice—not just products

Corporations and BOP entrepreneurs
Profiting together from an inclusive new capitalism

"C. K. Prahalad argues that companies must revolutionize how they dobusiness in developing countries if both sides of that economic equation areto prosper. Drawing on a wealth of case studies, his compelling new bookoffers an intriguing blueprint for how to fight poverty with profitability."
Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect,Microsoft
"The Bottom of the Pyramid belongs at the top of the reading list forbusiness people, academics, and experts pursuing the elusive goal ofsustainable growth in the developing world. C. K. Prahalad writes withuncommon insight about consumer needs in poor societies andopportunities for the private sector to serve important public purposes whileenhancing its own bottom line. If you are looking for fresh thinking aboutemerging markets, your search is ended. This is the book for you."
Madeleine K. Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
"Prahalad challenges readers to re-evaluate their pre-conceived notionsabout the commercial opportunities in serving the relatively poor nations ofthe world. The Bottom of the Pyramid highlights the way to commercialsuccess and societal improvement--but only if the developed worldreconceives the way it delivers products and services to the developingworld."
Christopher Rodrigues, CEO, Visa International
"An important and insightful work showing persuasively how the privatesector can be put at the center of development, not just as a rhetoricalflourish but as a real engine of jobs and services for the poor."
Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

More About the Author

C.K. Prahalad was Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Strategy at the Ross School of Business, The University of Michigan. He was a globally recognized management thinker. Times of London and Suntop Media elected him as the most influential management thinker alive today in 2007. He coauthored bestsellers in management such as Competing for the Future, The Future of Competition, and The New Age of Innovation. He won the McKinsey Prize for the best article four times and received several honorary doctorates, including one from the University of London and the Stevens School of Technology. He worked with CEOs and senior management at many of the world's top companies and was also a member of the Board of NCR Corporation, Pearson PLC., Hindustan Unilever Ltd., The World Resources Institute, and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).

Customer Reviews

Prahalad points out that companies who want to invest in BOP markets must make it part of their core business.
HBS Working Knowledge
This book proves by example the possibilities of doing good business, while helping the less fortunate at the same time.
M. Elder
The win-win formula of innovation here dares nothing less than helping the world's poorest poor while making a profit!
Russ Hall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 208 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on April 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here is a note I sent to the editor after buying the tradepaperback version.

Your editorial staff has done something so dumb I am astounded! (Also really $%^& mad.) The hardcover and trade paperback versions of CK Prahalad - The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid, are NOT the same. I assigned readings from this book to my class of 100 students. They went and bought the book and found that the case studies aren't there. On closer investigation I see that you shortened the case studies and renamed the chapters. Unfortunately the editing on the shortening is terrible and I simply can't ask my students to read such badly written material.

You did several things wrong

1) You sell two books with identical titles and covers, which have different content

2) You edited very very badly

3) You did this on an award winning book with high visibility

As far as I can tell there is no way for anyone to figure out that the content is different except in the very rare case that they own both versions.

This is a black mark on the Wharton name. What were you thinking?

-james
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150 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lorenzi on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Fortune" is an interesting, inspiring book. The study of poverty eradication gets short shrift in most business schools but this book suggests that a lot of resources and a phalanx of graduate students (since most graduate students claim to be poor, perhaps they empathize better; at least they're cheaper to hire than business faculty) at Wharton and Michigan did a lot of digging for answers. This is a noble cause, well-financed, and maybe these two business schools will support these efforts with a revision to their MBA curricula. While teaching a man to fish is better than giving a man a fish, it is better still to teach a village how to raise fish (or capital, or critical mass, or some other key resource), and that is the fundamental if implicit message and philosophy here. Poor people don't need charity; they need access to and information about the tools of capitalism, and governments and other not-for-profits are not likely to do this as such actions would put them out of business. Read the "Twelve principles of innovation for BOP markets" (pp. 25 - 27) and you'll get the basic Reader's Digest, Harvard Business Review executive summary.

The mendacity of the claim, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," gets a lot of reinforcement here. Rather than help poor people, an early table (p. 11) shows that the government charges poor people more than rich people for the same water service. And the evidence, much of it discovered by Peru's Hernando De Soto, that governments delight in making entrepreneurship, innovation and capitalism almost a criminal offense, shines right through.

The false conceit exposed here is that governments are not likely to fix poverty, nor are NGOs, the UN, or other alphabetical, "not-for-profit" agencies.
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113 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Christian Hunter on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
...Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime". A famous Biblical quote, one that resonated with me strongly, and profoundly influenced my thinking on international aid, but more broadly, the problem of poverty, and the reticence of Capitalism in addressing it.

I'm a strong believer in capitalism, this wonderful book reinforced my belief in that system. It did so by showing how world poverty and consistently non-functional economies aren't because of capitalism, but for lack of capitalist attention.

Times have changed, technology and it's rapidly increasing efficacy in efficient delivery of products and services, necessitates that we change our attitude about heretofore neglected markets, and the nearly 5 billion people in them. "Inclusive Capitalism" as the author calls it.

Rich with important concepts like "Installment Sales" (which address the needs and constraints of low-income consumers), this book is a virtual blueprint for companies, as well as entreprenuers, who are interested in serving low-income consumers around the world.

The hardcover book also contains a CD. I usually skip viewing those, but I'm glad I didn't in this instance. Prahalad gives the introduction, then roughly a dozen case studies follow. From Appliance sales companies in Brazil, to a Cement company in Mexico; seeing the passion on the faces of their customers, how the companies have changed their lives, it is incredibly touching. You aren't watching customers, you're watching "evangalists" that would make your most devout American iPod fan seem like an unsatisfied customer.

I recommend this book highly.

Enjoy,

Christian Hunter

Santa Barbara, California
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Emc2 VINE VOICE on June 24, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Last year this book became a best seller hit among the developmental community at Washington, D.C., to the point that all bookstores at Metro DC run out of it. With notorious and well publicized praising comments from Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates and the like, I bought it too, but just to discover all the frenzy was undeserved from the viewpoint of poverty eradication.

Undoubtedly Mr. Pralhad's research demonstrates there are plenty of opportunities to do good business among the poor at the BOP (bottom of the pyramid), for them to benefit from the products and services not available now, and for some of them to go out of poverty by becoming entrepreneurs (market penetration is always limited). I agree on these conclusions, as commented extensively by the previous reviewers, and without a doubt this book will become a reference in many Business Schools. But to assert that this strategy will eradicate poverty and bring development is plain sophistry. As Carl Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

Why sophistry? Regarding the poverty eradication claimed by Mr. Prahalad I will try to highlight some of the main flaws in his rationale and lack of sufficient evidence:

1. Despite the consideration of several cases from around the Third-World, most of the discussion and arguments to build the framework are related to India, excessively. The conditions of the poor in Latin America are quite different, and often, they have better public services available to them. On the other hand, many African countries have worst conditions. So you can not reach valid conclusions based solely on a country with such unique cultural and ethnical conditions.
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