Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson – Book Review

Richard Branson Holding a Copy of Screw Business as UsualThe moment I saw the title, I had to read it. Screw Business as Usual by Sir Richard Branson sounded right up my alley. Branson is the founder and head of Virgin Group (including Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Megastores and literally hundreds of other organizations). He’s also known for his unique perspectives on business, interest in extreme hobbies and a pension for humanitarianism.

When I bought the book, I was not sure which attribute of Sir Richard to expect: all business, life-on-the-edge or philanthropist. It turned out, the book was mostly about the latter – social enterprises in the global economy.

Similar to Bill Clinton’s Giving, Branson covers dozens of positive examples to support his case. Nobody reading this book will wonder, “how can I help?” Unlike pure philanthropy-focused books though, Branson remains all business. His perspective? should recognize its role in the global community and find a way to conduct business that benefits all stakeholders. And that is where my servant leadership take comes in.

For the servant leader in business, this book offers ideas for your organization to serve the community. There are some great quotes and real-world success stories for you to reference.  The business servant leader will feel inspired and armed with examples – including quantifiable data – to influence peers and followers.

 Key Principles

  • Virgin Unite: This organization is Virgin Group’s nonprofit arm. Many of the organizations in the book were identified during Branson’s interaction with them through Virgin Unite.
  • Capitlasm 24902: The circumference of the earth, at the equator, is 24,902 miles. This was the origin of Branson’s term, “Capitalism 24902” – capitalism for the earth and all our stakeholders – not just fiscal profit.
  • Do good, have fun and the money will come: Sir Richard Branson explains he used to say, “Have fun and the money will come”. Now, he prefers to say ” Do good, have fun & the money will come.”
  • Good business sense: Another consistent theme throughout the book is that doing good is also good for business. Most, if not every, example includes business value generated through the organization’s positive impact on other communities.
  • The Elders: I was shocked (and a bit embarrassed) that I never heard of this fantastic organization. Branson frequently references The Elders – a group of distinguished peace makers working for peaceful resolution of global issues. Branson played a key role in establishing this organization in 2007. From the Elders website:

Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders is an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. They were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela…

Whether you are a social entrepreneur, philanthropist, business professional or servant leader, you need to “Screw Business as Usual” and read this book. As Branson points out, this is all but necessary today. For, I must agree, it will not be long before “Business as Usual” (solely profit-focused) will utterly fail. Here’s hoping Branson and Virgin Unite influence more businesses to embrace Capitalism 24902.

Question: Have you read “Screw Business as Usual” and what other books would you recommend for social entrepreneurs?


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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