Screw Business as Usual
by Richard Branson
By the time you get to page four of Richard Branson’s Screw Business as Usual, you will have already been treated to stories of Kate Winslet saving Branson’s mother from his burning home on Necker Island – literally carrying her, soot-faced, down the stairs as the fire rages behind them – and discussing the state of the world over dinner with the Queen and Barack Obama at Buckingham Palace. (And, to apologise for name-dropping, he shares a joke told to him by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.)
So, right away, you’re under no illusion that Richard Branson lives a life similar to yours, but the book makes it very clear that we all live on the same planet.
Although he’s far from what most of us would find to be ordinary, Branson’s message in the book reinforces the sometimes overlooked knowledge that we can each contribute to, create and hasten change, and that “doing good is good for business.”
In doing so, he champions the everyday: “ … the power of the ordinary, everyday person to become entrepreneurs and change-makers to set up their own businesses, to seek their own fortune and be in control of their own lives, to say – screw business as usual, we can do it! We can turn things upside down and make a huge difference.”
There have been many monikers for this idea, but Branson has come up with his own, Capitalism 24902, explaining: “Every single business person has the responsibility for taking care of the people and planet that make up our global village, all 24,902 circumferential miles of it.”
Screw Business as Usual is a chronicle of those who have done just that, and there’s a lot of good news to proselytise. Instead of ignoring the bad news, Branson shares stories of small enterprises such as food retailer Jempson’s and Finisterre clothing company – excellent examples in terms of what they’re doing in local food sourcing and fabric innovation, but also because most of us have never heard of them, which makes the stories fresh, accessible, and their successes seemingly achievable.
The book is chock-full of these small business victories and the successes of acting responsibly, stories of doing well by doing good, and demonstrates once again that Branson has a firm finger on the pulse of the entrepreneurial world.