Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Review: Screw Business as Usual

Screw Business As UsualScrew Business As Usual by Richard Branson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So now comes Sir Richard with a critique of modern business practices that only he could produce. In exhorting readers to "Screw Business as Usual" Branson is calling upon us to reinvent capitalism in a more ethical, more just, and less destructive way.  His primary theme here is that Capitalism 24902 (named for the number of miles in our globe's circumference) must serve the world and not deplete it.  "Doing good is good for business" he says over and over... and then he proves his case.  He tells dozens of stories of business leaders who break the model, screw business as usual, and go on to greater wealth and influence than they could have done with traditional methods. And he uses himself as a case-in-point to great effect.  With his example, we learn how a great leader like Branson thinks and makes decisions - and then it all seems more attainable somehow.

Screw Business as Usual is a call to action that is truly motivating.  While reading, I made some new personal commitments in terms of how I organize my little one-woman consulting firm.  Not much in the grand scheme of things, but it is my bit to do and I will do it.  It amuses me that my financial adviser is always surprised when he is telling me that the socially-responsible mutual funds I insist on using seem to be outperforming the market. 

If I had had four and a half stars to give, I would have, and I nearly went with a five.  Though the book was a bit slow in the beginning, once I got to Chapter 3 or so it became a real page turner and I enjoyed the reading immensely.  I have scribbled more wows, far-outs, and yeses into the margins of this book than I have done since those college days when every idea was new and exciting. If that ain't a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon I don't know what is!

I admit it - I love Richard Branson.  Always have.  His fresh approach to everything is inspiring.  His courage, ability to overcome odds, masterful entrepreneurship, and team-building skill earned him billions.  He seems to move through life like a chess grand master moves across his board.  Except that Branson is having more fun. So glad he invites us along for the ride.

My two-page summary is available for free download here.

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