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The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business

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Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work for business, people, soci Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work for business, people, society, or the future. In The New Capitalist Manifesto, economic strategist Umair Haque argues that business as usual has outgrown the old paradigm of short-term growth, competition at all costs, adversarial strategy, and pushing costs onto future generations. These outworn assumptions are good for creating only “thin” value—gains that are largely illusory and produce diminishing returns every year. For “thick” value—enduring, meaningful, sustainable advantage that deeply benefits the larger society—Haque details five new cornerstones of prosperity in the twenty-first century: •Loss advantage: From value chains to value cycles •Responsiveness: From value propositions to value conversations •Resilience: From strategy to philosophy •Creativity: From protecting a marketplace to completing a marketplace •Difference: From goods to betters The New Capitalist Manifesto makes a passionate, razor-sharp economic case that these methods will produce a more enduring prosperity for business as well as society.


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Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work for business, people, soci Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work for business, people, society, or the future. In The New Capitalist Manifesto, economic strategist Umair Haque argues that business as usual has outgrown the old paradigm of short-term growth, competition at all costs, adversarial strategy, and pushing costs onto future generations. These outworn assumptions are good for creating only “thin” value—gains that are largely illusory and produce diminishing returns every year. For “thick” value—enduring, meaningful, sustainable advantage that deeply benefits the larger society—Haque details five new cornerstones of prosperity in the twenty-first century: •Loss advantage: From value chains to value cycles •Responsiveness: From value propositions to value conversations •Resilience: From strategy to philosophy •Creativity: From protecting a marketplace to completing a marketplace •Difference: From goods to betters The New Capitalist Manifesto makes a passionate, razor-sharp economic case that these methods will produce a more enduring prosperity for business as well as society.

30 review for The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Phenomenal start, then gets tired very quickly. The same poor examples are used over and over destroying the book. Read the first chapter, then toss it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    I loved this book. I found it to be exciting, energizing, and hopeful. So many companies dream up schemes to squeeze out a few more pennies...rather than define something that will have real value to customers and real positive impact on society. (This, by the way, applies as much to the nonprofit world as to the for-profit world.) That's old capitalism, and it's associated with dying companies. The new capitalism creates real, sustainable value. For a while now, I've been wracking my brain to try I loved this book. I found it to be exciting, energizing, and hopeful. So many companies dream up schemes to squeeze out a few more pennies...rather than define something that will have real value to customers and real positive impact on society. (This, by the way, applies as much to the nonprofit world as to the for-profit world.) That's old capitalism, and it's associated with dying companies. The new capitalism creates real, sustainable value. For a while now, I've been wracking my brain to try to imagine how we, the world, are going to make the transition from prosperity for a few to prosperity for many. The big hurdle is, of course, that there simply aren't enough resources for us all to live cushy lives. The New Capitalist Manifesto gives me a sense of how we can get from here to there. And it also illustrates how (albeit to a very limited degree), it's already happening. The book also articulates something I've recently begun to suspect: Capitalism may not continue to be simply about that trite "doing well by doing good" stuff--i.e. companies will only do things that benefit society that have immediate, tangible economic payback. Maybe not. You can read between the lines here and foresee a capitalism that doesn't just figure out the "real costs" of doing business (e.g. environmental costs) but, maybe, a generation of capitalists who actually DO think about societal good alongside shareholder good. This book is fundamentally a corporate strategy book, though. It does a great job of showing how various revolutions in business--sustainability, co-creation, etc.--come together. It's a book about action, about creating products and services that mean something and attract revenue as a result.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Great book. Very well written in a way that pleases people who have studied business (or economics) and those that haven't. Wish it was a little geekier. It's tightly molded to real-world examples but they are very easily arguable the exact opposite of the way he argues they contribute to better capitalist practice. I wish there was more practical transition thinking in it. It's very airy-faery like other books of the this type, meant to inspire-- which is fine-- but I feel like there are enough Great book. Very well written in a way that pleases people who have studied business (or economics) and those that haven't. Wish it was a little geekier. It's tightly molded to real-world examples but they are very easily arguable the exact opposite of the way he argues they contribute to better capitalist practice. I wish there was more practical transition thinking in it. It's very airy-faery like other books of the this type, meant to inspire-- which is fine-- but I feel like there are enough books out there already like this. What we could USE is a practical and realistic discussion of the challenges faced by implementing "constructive capitalism". One such hole in the book is in the area of the labour market transition and infrastructure shocks clearly necessary to move to this kind of capitalism. Haque spends a lot of time railing against the current institutions and demands change but glosses or doesn't discuss at all the very deep and complex barriers to overcoming them. I feel like he might be capable of explaining how to practically breach those barriers or begin to but he doesn't and it's disappointing. I keep wanting to reach through the text for more but there isn't any. Haque makes a somewhat unique approach though in arguing that capitalism has become (if you like) a system with its own agency-- that is it have evolved past its purpose and is become something else. That's certainly worth a read. And if you need to be inspired about social enterprise and "better business" than this is for you. His concepts "value cycle" and "market completion" are equally intriguing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Auwera

    I have always been a fan of Umair Hague, but this book beats everything. This is an absolute MUST READ, already now the guide for doing business in the 21st century. A big shot of adrelanine to start the year and next decade with renewed energy. This is a masterpiece, and any business book in 2011 will be measured against this one, as far as i am concerned. Update: after finishing the book,"masterpiece" is a bit over the top. There is a lot of repetition in the book, but i guess that's the diffe I have always been a fan of Umair Hague, but this book beats everything. This is an absolute MUST READ, already now the guide for doing business in the 21st century. A big shot of adrelanine to start the year and next decade with renewed energy. This is a masterpiece, and any business book in 2011 will be measured against this one, as far as i am concerned. Update: after finishing the book,"masterpiece" is a bit over the top. There is a lot of repetition in the book, but i guess that's the difference between reading a 2 page summary and the full book, which emerges you in the thinking of the author. Still very useful and directional for the coming years.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    In The New Capitalist Manifesto, Umair Haque proposes six dimensions that business should pursue to generate 21st century disruptions in their market-spaces. Dimensions aimed at creating a capitalism that provides meaningful, authentic, enduring value. 1) Haque directs us to pursue loss advantage through value cycles that connect outputs/waste back into our inputs. 2) He advocates for responsiveness through value conversations with consumers rather than "make it and push it out." 3) He calls for In The New Capitalist Manifesto, Umair Haque proposes six dimensions that business should pursue to generate 21st century disruptions in their market-spaces. Dimensions aimed at creating a capitalism that provides meaningful, authentic, enduring value. 1) Haque directs us to pursue loss advantage through value cycles that connect outputs/waste back into our inputs. 2) He advocates for responsiveness through value conversations with consumers rather than "make it and push it out." 3) He calls for the pursuit of resilience that rejects anti-competitiveness by embracing pro-market business philosophies to result in products that meet needs better and are thus in high demand. 4) He encourages readers toward creativity that tackles the economically "impossible" needs in the market. 5) Instead of differentiation, he sees companies creating real difference by creating outcomes that make us better instead of outputs that are destructive. 6) Finally, he recommends companies pursue constructive strategy to drive smart growth: growth that fuels investemnt instead of consumption; causes capital to flow from rich to poor instead of the reverse; and harnesses network economics of increasing returns where products, services or resources get better with use instead of obsolete. His prescription is a tall order. His examples (often Nike, WalMart, Starbucks, Google, Apple, and others) are tenuous. And there's more than a touch of theoretical ideology throughout. But there's something here...a glimpse into how to disrupt markets in an age increasingly weary with the outputs of the industrial era. He just might be on to something.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Smith

    A truly thought-provoking, but somewhat flawed book. I highly recommend reading it and I know that I will be keeping Haque's points in mind thinking about my own and other businesses. However, I couldn't help but feel uneasy over the pollyannaish treatment of his exemplar companies. There's a brief admission near the end that those companies (Google, Nike, Wal-Mart, etc.) aren't perfect, but I think that really falls short. Those and any company are still engaging in bare knuckle 20th century st A truly thought-provoking, but somewhat flawed book. I highly recommend reading it and I know that I will be keeping Haque's points in mind thinking about my own and other businesses. However, I couldn't help but feel uneasy over the pollyannaish treatment of his exemplar companies. There's a brief admission near the end that those companies (Google, Nike, Wal-Mart, etc.) aren't perfect, but I think that really falls short. Those and any company are still engaging in bare knuckle 20th century style competition even if they are partly transitioned into Haque's 21st model. BUT, do read the book yourself and make your own judgement.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Synexe

    THE MAIN IDEA Capitalism as it’s functioned for last few hundred years is morally bankrupt and, more importantly, no longer works. Capitalism needs to be reinvented. And, in its new shape, it will help power a new generation of growth – but in a sustainable and long-term manner. This book – as a manifesto – outlines what needs to be done to ensure that this transformation occurs. INTERESTING TIDBIT He has also recently been awarded a place on the prestigious Thinkers50 list, the premier ranking THE MAIN IDEA Capitalism as it’s functioned for last few hundred years is morally bankrupt and, more importantly, no longer works. Capitalism needs to be reinvented. And, in its new shape, it will help power a new generation of growth – but in a sustainable and long-term manner. This book – as a manifesto – outlines what needs to be done to ensure that this transformation occurs. INTERESTING TIDBIT He has also recently been awarded a place on the prestigious Thinkers50 list, the premier ranking of global business thinkers. WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW Businesses need to shift towards the creation of thick value. Thick value lasts over the long-term – beyond simple production and consumption cycles – and makes a meaningful impact on people’s lives. Thick value grows over times and acts to create ever-wider virtuous circles that benefit an ever wider range of stakeholders from shareholders and consumers through the global environmental system as a whole. THE GENERAL OVERVIEW This is a really interesting book. People tend to throw the term disruptive around a lot nowadays and it’s becoming increasingly faddish – much like innovation was during the last 5-10 years. But this book really does provide some very concrete ways in which capitalism – as a global system – can be productively disrupted and help lead to the creation of what the author terms thick value. In the book, thick value is defined as: “value that’s meaningful in human terms, reflecting durable, tangible gains.” Using a wide range of case studies, and data from a slew of companies undertaking the kind of change advocated in this book – a convincing case is made not only that change is required, but how this change can be brought about. Without going into too much detail the book outlines five key shifts that required for organizations to undertake as part of their shift towards the creation of thick value. These five shifts are: value chains => value cycles value propositions => value conversations strategies => philosophies protection => completion goods => betters Much of what the book discusses could be dismissed as pie-in-the-sky idealism and dreaming were it not the fact that the ideas discussed in the book are drawn from case studies of some of the most successful companies in the world today – including Nike, Walmart and Starbucks and host of others. It’s the mixture of big picture thinking with very concrete examples drawn from these very successful companies that makes this book so good and so useful for business really wanting to make positive change in the world. This is a book well-worth reading – and reading again! We did!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This book promised a lot. The author's big idea is that by thinking in a new 21st century mode that takes into account the whole of one's economic activities including externalities using some kind of triple-entry accounting technique instead of the traditional double-entry system, one can achieve capitalistic selfish goals without sacrificing the commons. Sounds great! I've been wondering for a long time how to force producers and consumers to become responsible for those externalities. For exam This book promised a lot. The author's big idea is that by thinking in a new 21st century mode that takes into account the whole of one's economic activities including externalities using some kind of triple-entry accounting technique instead of the traditional double-entry system, one can achieve capitalistic selfish goals without sacrificing the commons. Sounds great! I've been wondering for a long time how to force producers and consumers to become responsible for those externalities. For example, I'm sure much of the large crowd who allow themselves to buy cars at such a ridiculous rate that the number of cars per capita approaches 1 (or even exceeds 1? I certainly hope not) and drive them to pollute our planet and congest our cities would thin our really fast if they had to pay the real costs. So let me read on so I can share in your magic formula. I gave up somewhere past one third of the way through because it consisted of nothing but examples of how entrepreneurs managed to deliver products that are better, cleaner, and more sustainable than their competitors' products, at a lower cost. That's impressive, but it doesn't demonstrate a new kind of capitalism or a new way of doing business at all. Of course if you can make something more ethical for a lower price, any entrepreneur with the insight, opportunity, and resources will do exactly that, new-fangled 21st century responsible capitalism or not. If on the other hand the ethical product comes at a price premium, it won't sell well at all, and the author admits as much. All the entrepreneurs featured by the author who come up with great successful ways of reducing or recycling raw materials to make their products in order to make them better, cleaner, more desirable, and cheaper, are doing fantastic work and deserve to be congratulated, but the author was unable to convince me how this is thanks to a fundamentally different kind of capitalist thought.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Johnson

    This was a good book. It was a smart book and it posits some ideas that are different. The first: that we've been given over to a plutocracy. Probably not a surprise. The second: that we have buried the costs of things so we can buy 99 cent hamburgers. (But we truck water to the great plains states, to get the price of beef down.) This does talk about sustainability in a way that Radians could agree with - that we have to do things different/better for our own good, and that our institutions have This was a good book. It was a smart book and it posits some ideas that are different. The first: that we've been given over to a plutocracy. Probably not a surprise. The second: that we have buried the costs of things so we can buy 99 cent hamburgers. (But we truck water to the great plains states, to get the price of beef down.) This does talk about sustainability in a way that Radians could agree with - that we have to do things different/better for our own good, and that our institutions have failed us. What it lacks is more emperical evidence that Umair is correct. It hand picks a mixed bag of companies, some as good examples and some as poor examples, but the selection seems to have been biased towards getting his resutls. Still:this book explains sustainability well. Read it or don't. If you like "Built to last" and its ilk, you'll dig this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    While I'm predisposed to buy into the author's position that it is folly to apply the simplistic capitalism of centuries ago to today's more modern economic context, this book didn't impress me much. Haque makes a compelling argument that externalization of many corporate costs is unsustainable but his "solutions" are underwhelming. He proposes general "approaches" and doesn't present any practical ideas for impact or change. For someone who is just beginning to think about the shortcomings of ca While I'm predisposed to buy into the author's position that it is folly to apply the simplistic capitalism of centuries ago to today's more modern economic context, this book didn't impress me much. Haque makes a compelling argument that externalization of many corporate costs is unsustainable but his "solutions" are underwhelming. He proposes general "approaches" and doesn't present any practical ideas for impact or change. For someone who is just beginning to think about the shortcomings of capitalism as currently implemented, some aspects of this book could be illuminating. For those seeking real solutions or at least novel, thought-provoking concepts, I can't recommend it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dhruv Patel

    For a consutructive capitalism and need for 21st century business developers

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Collins

    I've never been one to conform, and Havas Media Lab Director and HBR blogger, Umair Haque isn't either. The radical re-imagining of economics and capitalism he proposes in The New Capitalist Manifesto is an idea for the 21st Century, rising out of the ashes of a still-burning post-Industrial economy. Illustrating his new economics through comparisons between old economics (and the companies living off it) and the new "betterness"-based economics, Haque argues extensively and convincingly that wh I've never been one to conform, and Havas Media Lab Director and HBR blogger, Umair Haque isn't either. The radical re-imagining of economics and capitalism he proposes in The New Capitalist Manifesto is an idea for the 21st Century, rising out of the ashes of a still-burning post-Industrial economy. Illustrating his new economics through comparisons between old economics (and the companies living off it) and the new "betterness"-based economics, Haque argues extensively and convincingly that what organisations need to do in the 21st Century to continue to survive is focus on an operational model: The twenty-first century capitalist’s agenda, in a nutshell, is to rethink the “capital”—to build organizations that are less machines, and more living networks of the many different kinds of capital, whether natural, human, social, or creative. And, second, to rethink the “ism”: how, when, and where the many different kinds of capital can be most productively seeded, nurtured, allocated, utilized—and renewed. What we need, then, is a new generation of renegades, laying deeper, stronger institutional cornerstones. Haque's argument resonates super-powerfully with me. While I certainly don't have the chops to have written The New Capitalist Manifesto, it articulates many of the arguments I've put to people in the past 10 years; business today is no longer sustainable in the way it was before. It can't go on cannibalising profits and circulating the same money (and making more and more "pretend" money that only exists in a computer somewhere. Business needs to act to add real social value and not only make money but make social goods as well, as Haque suggests, the paradigm needs a shift thus: - Loss advantage: From value chains to value cycles -•Responsiveness: From value propositions to value conversations -•Resilience: From strategy to philosophy - •Creativity: From protecting a marketplace to completing a marketplace - •Difference: From goods to betters I can't recommend The New Capitalist Manifesto strongly enough, and also highly recommend Umair Haque's new, short ebook, Betterness, which extends his articulation of some of the themes in this book. If it was mathematically possible to give a book 6/5, I would give it here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brent Neal

    I wanted to like this book a lot. I follow Umair Haque on Twitter and enjoy his commentary. I should have looked more closely at that commentary however, because there is a lesson there about the book. The New Capitalist Manifesto, while excitingly written and well laid out, has almost no new thinking in it whatsoever. Like Haque's tweets, which are largely retweets of other thinkers with an exclamation point terminated comment, the book is a simple repackaging of the seminal ideas of many books I wanted to like this book a lot. I follow Umair Haque on Twitter and enjoy his commentary. I should have looked more closely at that commentary however, because there is a lesson there about the book. The New Capitalist Manifesto, while excitingly written and well laid out, has almost no new thinking in it whatsoever. Like Haque's tweets, which are largely retweets of other thinkers with an exclamation point terminated comment, the book is a simple repackaging of the seminal ideas of many books which I have already read. If you are new to the concepts of socially-responsible or for-benefit businesses and green capitalism, this book might serve as a good introduction to the field. Otherwise, you will find yourself engaging in a game of "I bet I can tell you what he will say next." Of the concepts in the book that I thought were novel, I found that his analysis and support of them were largely superficial. I had expected deeper thought in this volume, and so I was very disappointed. It may be the case that if your expectations are different, the book will read better. But I would suggest that after you complete it, you read Alex Steffen, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, Richard Florida, Clay Shirky, Roberto Verganti and William McDonough afterwards, so that you can get the depth that Haque lacks.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Torben Rasmussen

    Haque have written a thought-provoking and courageous book on how to transform business in the 21st century. The book draws on recent examples of well-known companies that have started the journey including Nike, Lego, Apple and Wal-mart. Adding examples of disruptive "new" companies like Threadless, Interface and Jelli. Haque argues against the, still prevailent, management practices of the last century. A focus on short-term monetary earnings, unsustainable exploitation of resources and destruc Haque have written a thought-provoking and courageous book on how to transform business in the 21st century. The book draws on recent examples of well-known companies that have started the journey including Nike, Lego, Apple and Wal-mart. Adding examples of disruptive "new" companies like Threadless, Interface and Jelli. Haque argues against the, still prevailent, management practices of the last century. A focus on short-term monetary earnings, unsustainable exploitation of resources and destructive in-fights with competitors. Instead Haque points to concepts such as value-cycles, value-conversations, philosophy, and creativity in the search for new cornerstones for business in the 21st century. The book is formulated as a call for change, a manifesto, and many part are not detailed beyond general principles and stories of examplary companies. This is both a strenght and weakness. Some might shy away at the premise to become pioneers, carvers of new cornerstones - the call to take the lead in making the principles work in their own context and environment. On the other hand there are no generic answers - no ubiquous best practices - and this is but one among many references for pioneers and leaders to start the journey. I think it is an excellent starting point for inspiration.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I was introduced to Haque's blog several months ago and have been following him ever since. Haque's premise is that capitalism need not be the soul-less, winner-take-all model of cut-throat competition that has practically defined it as an institution since the Gilded Age. Here, he argues for a new way of doing business that provides value in a rich and organic way, rather than hustling out low-cost, low-quality products for the sake of this quarter's bottom line. He makes a persuasive case, and I was introduced to Haque's blog several months ago and have been following him ever since. Haque's premise is that capitalism need not be the soul-less, winner-take-all model of cut-throat competition that has practically defined it as an institution since the Gilded Age. Here, he argues for a new way of doing business that provides value in a rich and organic way, rather than hustling out low-cost, low-quality products for the sake of this quarter's bottom line. He makes a persuasive case, and I believe that ultimately some kind of transition, as he argues, has to take place. In my own field I find myself constantly disappointed and frustrated by the race to the bottom I see happening every day, with competition driving quality down and creating a feeding frenzy of what Haque calls "thin value". To survive -- as a civilization, let alone any single business -- we need to focus on sustainability, on quality (or "thick value"), and the dirty word that no one wants to hear, ethics. I've never bought the excuse that making money or the most naive possible interpretation of "giving people what they want" is an instant out for whatever action fills demand or generates profit; Haque agrees, and this style of "ethical capitalism" is central to his writings. An interesting book, in any case, and certainly worth a read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Damian Bakula

    Nothing groundbreaking here...and sloppy editing. Apparently Haque is very fond of "bespectacled hipsters" because on page 116 he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of industrial era capitalism...," then on the very next page he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of orthodox capitalism..." Haque makes a few good points, but they Nothing groundbreaking here...and sloppy editing. Apparently Haque is very fond of "bespectacled hipsters" because on page 116 he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of industrial era capitalism...," then on the very next page he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of orthodox capitalism..." Haque makes a few good points, but they're points already well made by other Harvard Business Review writers in relation to efficiency, resource optimization, responsiveness, disruptive innovation, and other common sense management principles--thank you Clayton Christensen. Repackaging what has already been written on sound management does not make this book worthy of being called a "manifesto" urging a paradigm shift. Haque's heart is in the right place, calling for more responsible management to price in negative externalities to the cost of goods sold, be more responsive to consumers, innovate, and be more environmentally and socially conscious, but I wasn't able to cull a single idea that wasn't better presented in seminal HBR articles or other books. This book is unoriginal and falls flat.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Young

    I appreciate this book's deep thinking angle. It seems that many business books try to be as superficial as possible and just give tips and tricks, so it was refreshing to read a book that is more of a framework for how to think than bullet-ed lists. Also, I believe in what Haque is arguing in this book. Basically, we have to start calculating in long-term effects when we think about businesses. Not necessarily because everyone's really into reusable shopping bags these days, but because the worl I appreciate this book's deep thinking angle. It seems that many business books try to be as superficial as possible and just give tips and tricks, so it was refreshing to read a book that is more of a framework for how to think than bullet-ed lists. Also, I believe in what Haque is arguing in this book. Basically, we have to start calculating in long-term effects when we think about businesses. Not necessarily because everyone's really into reusable shopping bags these days, but because the world has changed and resources are not infinite. Sustainable is a buzz word, I know, but creating sustainable businesses is going to be a core part of any entrepreneurial venture in the coming decades. Some of the example companies he focuses on are over done (eg: Google, Nike) but I also learned about some really neat companies through reading this book. Problems I had with the book: he doesn't mention Facebook. Ever. For a book that is a social commentary, this is a huge omission. Overall, I didn't love it, but I'd recommend it because it contains some provocative ideas.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Hurst

    As an avid reader of Umair's blog and fan of his videos, I was a bit disappointed by his novel. Not that it was bad, but he repeated himself often AND used far more bold and italics than I like to typically see in books, which was extremely distracting to me. The content is quite good, however. I bet he could have written half as much and made a better point. Sadly, most of the people who need to read this won't, as it talks mostly about how the industrialists and old-school capitalists are doing As an avid reader of Umair's blog and fan of his videos, I was a bit disappointed by his novel. Not that it was bad, but he repeated himself often AND used far more bold and italics than I like to typically see in books, which was extremely distracting to me. The content is quite good, however. I bet he could have written half as much and made a better point. Sadly, most of the people who need to read this won't, as it talks mostly about how the industrialists and old-school capitalists are doing it wrong, which they won't acknowledge until they go bankrupt. Also very odd to read about the good Wal-Mart is/was doing while almost simultaneously listening to Simon Sinek (Start With Why) tell me how poor their leadership is.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt Konda

    I liked some of the ideas presented in this book and I think the author is smart and thought provoking. Specifically, the idea that economics and capitalism can be flawed due to a failure to include various aspects of cost is both an obvious and underrepresented view. To the extent that this book talked about companies that were starting to look at those missed measurements and using that to drive a new competitive advantage, I think it provided useful food for thought. On the other hand, I didn't I liked some of the ideas presented in this book and I think the author is smart and thought provoking. Specifically, the idea that economics and capitalism can be flawed due to a failure to include various aspects of cost is both an obvious and underrepresented view. To the extent that this book talked about companies that were starting to look at those missed measurements and using that to drive a new competitive advantage, I think it provided useful food for thought. On the other hand, I didn't feel that the author offered a solution of substance, or sufficient detail in the case studies to allow the reader to really get to the next level with this. It really just presented the idea. Therefore, I think this book could have been implemented as a shorter essay.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen Watkins

    I agree whole-heartedly with the premise of this book--that our current practice of capitalism is outdated and that consumers already realize this, but business does not. But why did this timely idea have to be presented in the simplistic business guide format? If you can get past the cheesy terminology, this book is worth reading. I am very glad to have come across it, because it has given some structure to the nebulous misgivings I feel about economic organizations. In addition, I found the op I agree whole-heartedly with the premise of this book--that our current practice of capitalism is outdated and that consumers already realize this, but business does not. But why did this timely idea have to be presented in the simplistic business guide format? If you can get past the cheesy terminology, this book is worth reading. I am very glad to have come across it, because it has given some structure to the nebulous misgivings I feel about economic organizations. In addition, I found the optimism he feels about the potential of organizations to change very re-assuring.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pierre

    Umair is a superb blogger, writer, and thinker. The only knock I have with this book is that he does get a little redundant in some parts when he tries to frame his philosophies. He's started an important conversation about re-invigorating the U.S. and global economy. I have little doubt that the principles he's identified for creating better business institutions in the 21st Century will come to be as common as terms we've used to measure progress (e.g. GDP, throughput efficiency) in the 20th C Umair is a superb blogger, writer, and thinker. The only knock I have with this book is that he does get a little redundant in some parts when he tries to frame his philosophies. He's started an important conversation about re-invigorating the U.S. and global economy. I have little doubt that the principles he's identified for creating better business institutions in the 21st Century will come to be as common as terms we've used to measure progress (e.g. GDP, throughput efficiency) in the 20th Century.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tac Anderson

    This was a good book in that the premise is an important one but I really feel this would have been a better essay than an actual book. In order to make it into a book Umair Haque had to use a lot of examples that aren't really a good fit and at best were cliche. It's hard to be one of the first ones to write on an important topic that hasn't yet developed so I commend Umair for writing it and look forward to future books on the same topic from him. This was a good book in that the premise is an important one but I really feel this would have been a better essay than an actual book. In order to make it into a book Umair Haque had to use a lot of examples that aren't really a good fit and at best were cliche. It's hard to be one of the first ones to write on an important topic that hasn't yet developed so I commend Umair for writing it and look forward to future books on the same topic from him.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Adams

    Usman gives us an engaging read, but the main takesway point seemed to be 'lots of companies are doing individual bits well, but no one is doing business as if people really matter, in a holistic fashion'. I left the book feeling the only way people do some parts of business 'right' is by making up for it elsewhere in reaping profits or cutting costs elsewhere, i.e. doing business 'wrong'. Usman gives us an engaging read, but the main takesway point seemed to be 'lots of companies are doing individual bits well, but no one is doing business as if people really matter, in a holistic fashion'. I left the book feeling the only way people do some parts of business 'right' is by making up for it elsewhere in reaping profits or cutting costs elsewhere, i.e. doing business 'wrong'.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Waring-Crane

    Reading Gary Hamel's forward encouraged me. Without any business savvy, I appreciated the accessibility of Haque's style. His definition of the "thick value" necessary to thrive and matter in 21st century constructive capital vs. "thin value" of industrial era capitalism rings true. Frequently passages or even next sentences repeated previous ideas for no apparent reason, but other than this editorial oversight, I found the ideas clear, engaging and hopeful. Reading Gary Hamel's forward encouraged me. Without any business savvy, I appreciated the accessibility of Haque's style. His definition of the "thick value" necessary to thrive and matter in 21st century constructive capital vs. "thin value" of industrial era capitalism rings true. Frequently passages or even next sentences repeated previous ideas for no apparent reason, but other than this editorial oversight, I found the ideas clear, engaging and hopeful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Meidell

    I love the ideas and information in this book, even more than I disliked the writing. This would have been a 5 star 50 page essay that I would happily have paid for as a Kindle Single, but instead it's an florid, annoyingly repetitive, stretched-out book. I am teetering between a 3 and 4 star rating, but gave it four because I think more people should read it. I'd recommend reading it to anyone, regardless of the annoyingly long form. I love the ideas and information in this book, even more than I disliked the writing. This would have been a 5 star 50 page essay that I would happily have paid for as a Kindle Single, but instead it's an florid, annoyingly repetitive, stretched-out book. I am teetering between a 3 and 4 star rating, but gave it four because I think more people should read it. I'd recommend reading it to anyone, regardless of the annoyingly long form.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Derek Neighbors

    Umair is one of my favorite thinkers. I will say that I was not as impressed with his long form writing as with his essays, but regardless he is brilliant in his assessment of capitalism, society and the major reset that is bubbling under our feet. Well worth reading to set the tone for thinking about how society is changing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This book is best when it keeps its philosophical tone. I appreciate the illustrative stories about specific companies as examples, but at times, the tone became a little too "how-to" and not enough "how". Other than that, I think its a strong defense of capitalism as a potential change agent and does give me some hope for the future of business. This book is best when it keeps its philosophical tone. I appreciate the illustrative stories about specific companies as examples, but at times, the tone became a little too "how-to" and not enough "how". Other than that, I think its a strong defense of capitalism as a potential change agent and does give me some hope for the future of business.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shane Quinn

    Agreed with virtually everything that Haque has written in this. The notion of reimagining capitalism to make it a more rounded and beneficial system is obvious. My problem was with Haque's writing. I just wish he had an editor who made him lose a few words and taught him basic sentence structure. He's clearly a brilliant thinker but a much better article writer than book writer... Agreed with virtually everything that Haque has written in this. The notion of reimagining capitalism to make it a more rounded and beneficial system is obvious. My problem was with Haque's writing. I just wish he had an editor who made him lose a few words and taught him basic sentence structure. He's clearly a brilliant thinker but a much better article writer than book writer...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    insightful. The idea that companies should internalize negative externalities and put them on their books as cost is at the center of this book. the idea is that recognizing that cost would then force innovation to reduce the cost.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ali Sohani

    Constructive Capitalism: @umairh's "New Capitalist Manifesto" is for economics enlightenment. Refer to a comprehensive review by @salhir here: http://salhir.wordpress.com/2011/01/0... Constructive Capitalism: @umairh's "New Capitalist Manifesto" is for economics enlightenment. Refer to a comprehensive review by @salhir here: http://salhir.wordpress.com/2011/01/0...

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