The one-sentence summary
We can bring more meaning to our lives and help change the world at the same time by turning capitalism upside down – shifting from a profit focus to caring for people, communities, and the planet.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Capitalism 24902 is his name for this new approach – that’s the circumference of the earth in miles – something of a euphemism for putting your arms around the world.
- There is no Planet B, so we need to look after what we’ve got.
- It’s not so much about doing good, as doing better.
- Whereas most businesses concentrate on affluent customers, there is a ‘fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’, in which giving poorer people access to products and services at sensible prices represents a massive market.
- Meanwhile, business suffers from a ‘missing middle’, in which small entrepreneurs lack investment because they are too small for large investment and too big for microfinance.
- Social intrapreneurs can have a huge effect by driving socially responsible initiatives inside large companies.
ELEMENTS OF THE BOOK I PARTICULARLY LIKE
- Branson is nicknamed Yes by his team because when he latches onto an idea he wants to get on with it right away – a good business approach.
- The author is a fan of James Lovelock’s Gaia theory (named after the Greek goddess of the earth), in which the earth is viewed as a living organism. In its current condition, it is sick, so we need to amend our approach to it urgently.
- He disagrees with the old adage that “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Instead, he says that all all business is personal, all the time, and we should act accordingly.
- Virgin has a foundation called Virgin Unite. Their philanthropic methods are not simply to give out money willy-nilly. Instead they run it like any other business, making sure that their investments have the best possible social and environmental return, and trying to help ventures be self-sustaining as fast as possible.