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Betterness: Economics for Humans (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
|Length: 64 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
You do? You're in the woeful minority.
More likely, says Umair Haque, you're like two-thirds of your co-workers who are feeling uninspired, frustrated, and maybe even a little suffocated. You're the flip side of engaged. Haque would like that to change.
He wants to initiate a paradigm shift from negative to positive - in the way you feel about work but more importantly in the way business works. That's a big, heady challenge but Haque thinks there's much to gain if we say goodbye to the industrial age and focus instead on a new day that emphasizes the value of human capital.
It's a new paradigm that challenges companies to focus on achieving their own potential instead of engaging in competition to defeat rivals. The engine of business needs to recalibrate and begin striving for and measuring growth in human potential rather than financial profit, Haque argues.
"What if the future of commerce and enterprise is as different as its present is from its past? . . . I believe it can do so - and more vitally, that we must make it do so."
The new paradigm involves a shift to what Haque labels "Betterness." That's a place where instead of pursuing return for shareholders, business looks more at investing in human potential and concentrates on providing the essentials that enrich life - relationships, fulfillment, accomplishment and enduring achievement. These are emotional rather than financial rewards. And they're intrinsically more important, Haque asserts.
He has a list of companies he's watching that may be in the vanguard of change.Read more ›
As noted in my headline it is:
Fascinating: Although I am somewhat conversant in broad economic theory, I learned a tremendous amount in a short time. Even if you don't agree with everything that Umair says, I would be shocked if anyone without an advanced economics degree or background in Classical Greek would not learn something useful. (As well as some new vocabulary.)
Entertaining: The book is written with style, as well as a great bit of wit and humor for such a serious and grand subject. However, the language with which the book is constructed is beautiful. I felt as if I was reading fine literature much of the time as much as a business treatise.
Motivating: I suppose this would depend much on your view of what Umair is expressing here. If you agree, you will likely find yourself motivated to do something about it. If you don't agree...well, see point number 1. It's not a "meh" scenario.
Prior to my reading this book I was not a fan of Umair, mainly I suppose as I had very little awareness of him. That has certainly changed on both counts.
The fundamental assumptions of business as we know it include shareholder value creation, mass production, hierarchical management, and disposable goods made for consumers. The jobs that most organizations offer most people seem unfulfilling. The "visions" that companies have are typically unexciting. We measure a country's prosperity in terms of industrial output, GDP, but we ignore more important things like the emotional, social, intellectual, physical and ethical growth of humans.
The book goes on to suggest a better path to future prosperity, consisting of:
* Eudaimonia: a good life, which is meaningfully rich - with relationships, ideas, emotion, health, fulfilment, great accomplishment and enduring achievement.
* Poeisis: generating new wealth, and multiplying the Common Wealth, as opposed to net-destructive forms of competition such as rent seeking.
* Arête: virtue - habits and patterns of behaviour that seed and nurture eudaimonia, replacing "vision-mission-strategy-objectives" with "ambition-intention-constraints-imperatives".
* Kairos: critical junctures, when opportunities emerge and unexpected, unimagined, transformative new paths can be chosen.
The author's enthusiasm for his vision of the new future probably exceeds that of his average reader, but his diagnosis of the malaise of the present certainly resonates.Read more ›
Haque's vision of changed business will make me sit down and articulate how my business behaves in a world where we conduct "betterness" instead. So too, to evaluate who I do business with.
How are you doing "betterness"?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
https://www.facebook.com/groups/380398525366233/permalink/680776108661805/Published on July 3, 2014 by Martin Bohle
A compelling start to an idea that I would have liked more depth on. Output and consumption are rendered useless if not diametrically opposed to the concept of betterness. Read morePublished on February 18, 2014 by Jessica
I really enjoyed reading this.
It was stimulating and eye opening and a must read for all economists and anyone interested in new-models of economics
Haque describes a future I want for my children. Betterness trumps business in every way, unless you're part of the 1%.Published on February 8, 2014 by Jyri Paavilainen
I think Umair is one of the best thinkers on the planet today. His writing is clear and direct.
This could have been a longer work and I'd have lapped it. Read more
The book spends most of the time discussing that mere profits and GDP growth are not enough and that an economy that empowers humans should be the aspiration... Read morePublished on January 22, 2014 by Marcos Polanco
It shows one potential way the world may direct itself to get out of the current instability. It may be considered as an hypothesis explaining many current phenomena, that are now... Read morePublished on September 23, 2013 by Roberto Gejman Frank