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The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business Hardcover – January 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422158586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422158586
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Umair Haque’s The New Capitalist Manifesto is worth reading; primarily, because in it, he undertakes an exploration of a new (and in many people’s minds, a badly needed) form of capitalism...his book presents his ideas with panache.” — Globe & Mail

“a wake-up call and a compelling vision of a desirable future” — Strategy & Business

"…a wonderfully written book that helps readers become the change they want to see, declaring that ‘Though the pages that follow are filled with examples … I don’t want you to follow an example, but to be the example.'" — Jack Covert, 800 CEO READ

"This is a good book. And you should read it, mark it up with a pencil, and then read it again." — Triple Pundit

About the Author

Umair Haque is the Director of the London-based Havas Media Lab and heads Bubblegeneration, a strategy lab that helps discover strategic innovation. He studies the economics of the future: the impact that new technologies, management innovations, and shifting consumer preferences will exert tomorrow on the industries and markets of today.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book for anyone with a practical or academic interest in business, economics, or entrepreneurship.
Andrew Smith
Much as it pains me to say it, as a long-time reader and fan of Umair Haque's excellent HBR blog, I was left slightly disappointed by this book.
Dan Gray
As the world considers its financial way forward, economist Umair Haque proposes a radical reinvention of capitalism.
Rolf Dobelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Dan Gray on May 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Much as it pains me to say it, as a long-time reader and fan of Umair Haque's excellent HBR blog, I was left slightly disappointed by this book.

For all its good content (including a great foreword by Gary Hamel), it fell short of what I was expecting and hoping for - namely, Umair using the extended medium of a book to take his basic thesis to the next level and tackle some of the (IMNSHO deeply misguided) critics of his blog, who prefer to spend their time demanding 'linear' proof of causality, rather than appreciating the complex system of changing frame conditions in which business is now operating.

Umair's cause isn't helped by some extraordinarily poor editing, which sees not only key ideas and concepts, but occasionally entire paragraphs of text repeated verbatim on facing pages. As a result (rightly or wrongly), you're left with the impression of a book that achieves its 200-odd page count with unnecessary padding, rather than with the further development of his argument.

Ultimately, I have to agree with the essence of Philip Loden's review. If you want the benefit of Umair's thought-provoking perspectives, go visit his blog. If you want to get to grips with the why, the what and the how of creating "thick" (sustainable, shared) value in more detail, then I feel there are other, better books for the job - Jonathon Porritt's "Capitalism As If The World Matters" and the magnificent Ray C. Anderson's "Business Lessons From A Radical Industrialist" to name but two.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Philip Loden on March 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you need to be told that our current corporate system is broken, that the world can afford less and less to ignore negative externalities, that radical innovation can disrupt an industry, that feedback loops based on customer input can dramatically improve the way you do business, and that taking pride in who you are and what you do can produce better outcomes than making quarterly earnings the measure of all things, then read this book. If you already believe these things, have actually heard of the Innovator's Dilemma, and instead are looking for ways to implement these principles or detailed case studies of companies that already have, then keep looking.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 16, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Growth in developed countries has been steadily slowing for the last half-century, and this is a lasting, historic shift more significant than a crisis, correction or crash, according to Umair Haque in this book. The global poor have been subsidizing the rich to fuel overconsumption, and the natural world, communities and society have been marginalized.

The problem is that under industrial-era practices, businesses have been able to extract what the author calls "thin value" profits by shifting costs onto someone else. The new types of enterprises which will thrive in the 21st century will be "constructive capitalists", which will do some or all of the following:

* Renew resources instead of exploiting them
* Be more responsive to supply and demand by allocating resources democratically
* Use "philosophies" that create value rather than "strategies" that extract value
* Creating new arenas of competition rather than dominating existing ones
* Seeking payoffs that are meaningful in human terms, not just financial ones

The book goes on to describe ways in which some companies are already making the shift. Walmart has taken on challenging new sustainability goals. Nike has adopted new design principles to reduce waste and maximize recycling. Lego has opened up the design of its products to users. Google aims to stay competitive by liberating data instead of trying to lock users in. Tata has created an entirely new category of car with its Nano, and Apple has done similar things with its products. Nintendo's Wii is turning video games into a focal point for social interaction.

The book is written in a bold, provocative style similar to that of Gary Hamel (who has written the Foreword).
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Claus Gehner on April 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the final chapter of "The New Capitalist Manifesto", Mr. Haque makes a number of "humble suggestions" (Mr. Haque's marketing hyperbole throughout this book is anything but "humble") as to what "constructive capitalism" is:

"It'a time to replace [old-style capitalism] with a better kind of capitalism, that is intelligent, beautiful, just, virtuous -- and that does deliver the goods".

"It is to profit more from less economic harm, instead of being trapped to profit only through more harm."

The above "humble suggestions" are typical of the breathless, hyperbolic, meaningless, feel-good slogans which makes up the bulk of this book. Mr. Haque unleashes a flood of undefined terminology (thick value vs. thin value, betters vs. goods, authentic economic value, meaningful value, socio-productivity, socio-efficiency, socio-effectiveness, and on and on), which he uses in circular definitions, one undefined term supposedly defining the next layer of undefined terms.

Mr. Haque correctly points to some of the most egregious failings of laissez-faire capitalism, such as the need for endless growth of consumption of shoddier and shoddier products and services, which does irreversible harm to the environment, concentrates wealth and power in a very small elite, and does little or nothing to increase well-being and "happiness".

However, the psycho-babble of his breathless marketing hype, and the inane examples he cites of companies which supposedly show an emergence of his "constructive capitalism", only serves to reenforce the impression that Mr.
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