Publisher: Random House Publications
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Screw ‘Business As Usual’ is the 372 page outcome of the awakened social responsibility in the ever energetic entrepreneur, Richard Branson. Branson emphasizes here on how ‘doing good is good for businesses’. He not only asserts so but also justifies his words by giving many examples. He also warns people who do business solely for profits that they would cease to exist in the long run.
In the preface, Branson’s house in his private island was burnt down by Hurricane Irene. Kate Winslet rescued his mother, and his family and friends survived. Everyone lost all their possessions and was standing in their underwear and bare feet. But Branson asked them not to worry. He had a plan. Let’s build a new house, so lets discuss about it and have fun. Why should people worry when their houses get burnt down? Keep it simple silly.
The book starts with a thought. For the world to benefit, everyone in this planet should take up the responsibility of taking care of everyone else in this planet. Now this is a great thought. But what it lacks is a cool name. So when Virgin Unite had their brainstorming session (with drinks), someone told Branson about the circumference of the earth being 24902 miles. So here it comes, Capitalism 24902.
One by one, businesses that are parts of the virgin empire, even those which did the slightest amount of good to the society are mentioned and applauded. Despite of all his vaunting, the good part is, he persistently makes a point that businesses prosper if they do good to society. This is to be understood by all businessmen.
Now is the time to get serious. Various organizations which work for a number of social causes, mainly fighting HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, malaria, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases are mentioned. The way they work and their reception by the society and the governments are shown. Their hard work, results and the benefits that they provide to a number of people are very touching and inspiring. Many significant examples of social-entrepreneurship like the Bangladesh micro finance by Muhammad Yunus, the GroFin project by Shell Foundation, etc., are explained making this a collection of successful social projects which is a great source of motivation for doing good to the society.
Like how the Queen in Buckingham Palace told Archbishop Desmond Tutu (mentioned in this book), I am telling you, Richard Branson is a chronic name-dropper. I don’t know what Madiba (Nelson Mandela’s Xhosa clan name), Kofi Annan, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and Jewel think about it, but it’s alright. He is a name-dropper.
He ends this book in case studies. Quite interesting ones, though not much of detail. Here are businesses that follow Capitalism 24902 making their way through all the challenges, towards their success and thereby creating a win-win situation between them and the society.
This book is more relevant for already successful businessmen. A bar of inspiration and required realization wrapped in excessive self-praise. Read with patience. A book with a vision. Recommended for all businessmen.