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Business as Unusual: The Triumph of Anita Roddick Hardcover – January 1, 2001
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Flaunting a title like Business as Unusual, Anita Roddick's company biography is anything but your run-of-the-mill book on how to create, nurture, and run a successful company. While it does give a firsthand account of the birth of The Body Shop and Roddick's own particular leadership style of creative (and sometimes chaotic) passion, it doubles as a clarion call for business to tackle the big issues of life alongside the pursuit of profits, with heart, soul and conscience.
Roddick grew up in a large Italian immigrant family in small town in blue-collar England, where she was instilled with an intense work ethic and an irreverent, entrepreneurial spirit. Though she admits to having opened her first Body Shop as a way to make ends meet, Roddick developed the company around her zealous belief that, since there is "no more powerful institution in society than business ... it is more important than ever before for business to assume a moral leadership in society." Her concern for protecting the environment and indigenous people's cultures, and of seeing all of life as interconnected, have directed the growth of the company and inspired much of this book. Her account moves from an initial description of what she sees as the problem with "business as usual," through a history of The Body Shop as illustrating her philosophies on fostering passionate activism, building community, making it as a woman, and succeeding in business. Though Roddick's tone occasionally lapses into what might be interpreted as a rather self-righteous one (particularly in her references to most of the company's competition as merely "imitation"), it is driven by a feisty belief in her ideals. The chapter that describes The Body Shop launch into the U.S. market and its subsequent problems with intense competition is not exactly an American love-fest, but for those readers on this side of the Atlantic who don't take themselves too seriously, it's an informative and often amusing take on the trials of cross-cultural marketing. While praise of The Body Shop's good deeds to date is woven into much of what she discusses, Roddick is not afraid of being honest. Indeed, she presents some of the company's less flattering underbelly, such as a failed experiment in trading directly with an indigenous tribe and the unsuccessful "reorganization" of the company by an unresearched external consultant, which is far more daring than most business leaders are in discussing their corporate offspring. The book would have benefited from a more detailed and less defensive presentation of the media storm that surrounded the company from 1992 to 1994 (which comes dangerously close to being a diatribe), but Roddick's conversational writing style--extremely effective in relaying fervent dedication--doesn't leave room for a lot of legal analysis.
This is an entertaining read with a serious message, a lilting and somewhat whimsical manifesto. Not merely the story of one woman's pursuit of business success and the history and philosophy of The Body Shop, it is an invigorating guidebook for anyone eager to marry an entrepreneurial, principled spirit with a keen sense of social justice. --S. Ketchum
From Publishers Weekly
The founder of an upscale English cosmetics company well established on these shores, Roddick fervently believes that companies should be more than simply profitable: they "must actively do good" in the environment and for labor, serving as "incubators of the human spirit." Roddick has put her money where her mouth is by making the Body Shop one of the first companies to integrate recycling into its daily operations, and committing time and money to various environmental causes. In this rambling autobiography/ management tome, she tells how she founded her companyDone of the first to introduce a mix of organic products now offered by many (most notably Bath & Body Works). She also describes her successful court challenge to the BBC and ABC documentaries that nearly destroyed her company by suggesting that, contrary to her claims, her products were tested on animals. Roddick can be hard to take when she soapboxes about the need for businesses to change the world. Her keenest insights are on how passion and opportunism can launch a business; she also has much of value to say about how she refashioned her business in order to survive.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The way the book is presented is beautiful and enjoyable, one of the business-book-trend that i love, from the tom peters lots of pictures and wordings, to gary hamel new -leading the revolution-, this one comes with lots of -quotes- in GOLD COLOR pages. I beleive a book should have content and CONTEXT, the way the books is read, is now as important as the message. Design now play important roles in business books.
Yes, this is still a business book. I do not like the cover though.. ;-)
Roddick includes more then just socially responsible purchasing, the effects of big businesses, and NGOs- she also includes business strategies that have helped make her successful, essential criteria for becoming an entrepreneur, emotional strains, spiritual beliefs, and a great chapter regarding the ethics and management of the Body Shop.
This book is unlike other stuffy "how to in business" books, because it includes notes, quotes, ads, lists, and photos. Its full of informative pieces that are easy to read and you really glean wonderful information about becoming successful yet compassinate in business.
I am anxoius to read her other book as well but this one was a really wonderful read that exceeded my expectations. This would be actually a great book for a young adult with consciousness for environmental needs. It really was revolutionary how the Body Shop was created back in the 1970s, but its rewarding to see how new shops are embracing natural products, and giving back to the people. Please enjoy.
Roddick presents her story, "Business as Unusual" by modeling the same constructs that have underpinned the ethical, moral and business essences of "The Body Shop".
The sometimes humorous but always poignant captions, quotes and pictorial representations through out the writing, demonstrates the importance Roddick places on communication. The book also scaffolds the in depth discussion that is used to deconstruct "The Body Shop" story.
Roddick does ascribe and briefly describe basic no nonsense commonsense information and elements inherent for all business. She also explores a range of interesting anecdotes, practical problems and ethical values.
The reader is encouraged and dared to ponder and reflect on basic elements such as child care, gender discrimination and female beauty whilst being whisked away to analyse the heavier issues of the Amazon and Hemp.
Roddick concludes the writing by sharing ten lessons that describe practical information which she suggests may guide the reinvention of the "The Body Shop" of the future.
An "unusual" story; certainly worth a read; definitely challenges the creative mind and makes no bones about business responsibility to humanity and the environment.
I expected this book to be a chronicle of The Body Shop's rise, and while Roddick certainly shares plenty of anecdotes, the telling is pretty disjointed. Reading this book was a bit like riding on a wooden rollercoaster. She could have benefited from a good editor.
In the end, Business As Unusual is really more of a raw glimpse into Roddick's psyche, which certainly informed nearly everthing she did at The Body Shop. Specific business examples are punctuated by plenty of soapbox moments, and her preachiness can get a bit distracting (and awfully redundant) at times. But if you want to get to know this extraordinary woman, it's worth a read.
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Today, with over 1,800 Body Shops worldwide, and many a dissenting corporate CEO cursing at the very mention...Read more