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The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits Paperback – February 6, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0131877290 ISBN-10: 0131877291 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"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 --Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The world's most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world's billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. Not only can it be done, it is being done--very profitably. What's more, companies aren't just making money: by serving these markets, they're helping millions of the world's poorest people escape poverty.


C.K. Prahalad's global bestseller The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, now available in paperback, shows why you can't afford to ignore "Bottom of the Pyramid" (BOP) markets. Now available in paperback, it offers a blueprint for driving the radical innovation you'll need to profit in emerging markets--and using those innovations to become more competitive everywhere. This new paperback edition includes eleven concise, fast-paced success stories from India, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela--ranging from salt to soap, banking to cellphones, healthcare to housing. These stories are backed by more detailed case studies and 10 hours of digital videos on Simply put, this book is about making a revolution: building profitable "bottom of the pyramid" markets, reducing poverty, and creating an inclusive capitalism that works for everyone.


Preface  xi

About the Author  xix


Part I: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid  1

Chapter 1: The Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid  3

Chapter 2: Products and Services for the BOP  23

Chapter 3: BOP: A Global Opportunity?  47

Chapter 4: The Ecosystem for Wealth Creation  63

Chapter 5: Reducing Corruption: Transaction Governance Capacity  77

Chapter 6: Development as Social Transformation  99


Part II: Business Success Stories from the Bottom of the Pyramid  113

Financing the Poor  115

Aravind Eye Care—The Most Precious Gift  131

Energy for Everyone  137

Agricultural Advances for the Poor—The EID Parry Story  149

Retail for the Poor  159

Information Technology to the Poor  169

The Jaipur Foot Story  187

Health Alerts for All  191

Transparent Government  201

The Annapurna Salt Story  213

Homes for the Poor—The CEMEX Story  221

From Hand to Mouth—The HHL Soap Story  235


Part III: On the Web at

Video Success Stories

            Casas Bahia


            Annapurna Salt

            Hindustan Lever

            Jaipur Foot

            Aravind Eye Care

            ICICI Bank

            ITC e-Choupal

            EID Parry



            Andhra Pradesh


Full Success Case Stories in pdf format

            The Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid

            Known Problems and Known Solutions: What Is the Missing Link?

            Known Problems and Unique Solutions

            Known Problems and Systemwide Reform

            Scaling Innovations

            Creating Enabling Conditions for the Development of the Private Sector

            The EID Parry Story



Biographies of the Researchers/Writers of the Success Case Stories from The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid  247

About the Video Success Stories  255

Index  257



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wharton School Publishing; 1 edition (February 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131877291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131877290
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

I hope this book starts to change the thinking patterns of society.
Unfortunately the editing on the shortening is terrible and I simply can't ask my students to read such badly written material.
J. Davis
Prahalad points out that companies who want to invest in BOP markets must make it part of their core business.
HBS Working Knowledge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 213 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?

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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 123 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.


Christian Hunter

Santa Barbara, California
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35 of 36 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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