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Screw Business As Usual

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Can we bring more meaning to our lives and help change the world at the same time? Richard Branson, at his brilliant and motivating best, reveals how with his exciting new vision for the future. It is time to turn capitalism upside down - to shift our values, to switch from a profit focus to caring for people, communities and the planet. With inspiration for everyone, "Screw Business As Usual" shows how easy it is for both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning our work into something we both love and are proud of.

357 pages, Paperback

First published November 17, 2011

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About the author

Richard Branson

107 books1,303 followers
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Branson's first successful business venture was at age 16, when he published a magazine called Student. He then set up a record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores and rebranded as zavvi in late 2007. With his flamboyant and competitive style, Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s - as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Richard Branson is the 236th richest person according to Forbes' 2008 list of billionaires as he has an estimated net worth of approximately $7.9 billion USD.

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5 stars
331 (21%)
4 stars
549 (35%)
3 stars
458 (29%)
2 stars
151 (9%)
1 star
48 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 150 reviews
Profile Image for Kim Pallister.
129 reviews22 followers
November 8, 2012
I'm a big Richard Branson fan-boy, and really liked his first book, Losing My Virginity (which I highly recommend). Since then, I've given a few of his other books a try. I gave Screw Business as Usual a try this week. It was very quick to get through so I thought I'd post a short review.

The book is about the idea that capitalism can, in addition to pursuing the goal of making money, attempt to do good.

On the plus side, it covers a number of interesting cases, some of which are Virgin enterprises, others just ones Branson has come across. It's a wide enough variety to give some creative food for thought, but little is provided in the way of detail if someone wanted to do some analysis of real cost/benefit, or map to their business to see how it differs, etc. Still, they are inspirational stories.

Another negative is that a number of his examples consist of things akin to 'I saw a problem. I called up Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Bill Gates and we got together and decided to start a foundation'. Some have complained that this is name-dropping. I don't think that's the case, so much as it's just the circles he travels in. However, the few examples that are along these lines aren't really helpful for anyone looking to do good with their business.

In any case, it's a good read with some unique perspectives that some will get value from. Start with Losing My Virginity though, as I think it's a better read.
Profile Image for Cathy Allen.
144 reviews12 followers
June 21, 2015
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.
Profile Image for Huw.
171 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2022
This is not the kinda of book you read that when you finish it's straight onto the next book, no way. This book challenges the reader act, to make a difference, to do your bit for climate change, for peace, for homelessness, to be a positive impact.
The reader is given some amazing examples of people who are making a difference in this world. This is more than just another book, it's a book on how to make a difference and make the world a better place. Maybe this is a simplistic review but i don't care because personally I came away challenged.
Profile Image for Andrew Mitchell.
62 reviews
December 26, 2012
This made me very cynical. There's nothing worse than reading about rich white guys extolling business ethics to reach untapped markets, no matter how positive a spin is placed on it.

FYI: the fact that you can access a Coca Cola in even the poorest of the poor or third world locations is NOT a marvel, when pharma extort the masses.

Capitalism doesn't need turning upside down. It needs honest people running honest business, not rich do-gooders running around exploiting untapped third world markets, because their payback ratios are higher than the first world.

Whilst the call to shift our values from profit are indeed a must, the concept of embarking on new ventures solving world wide problems is not new, and yet somehow promoting this process still seems dishonorable coming from the likes of Branson/Virgin.

Still, I recommend following the process. It's been 2 years since this was written, there needs to be more done to change the motives of corporate business.

New business isn't necessarily going to be the answer.
Profile Image for Sealove.
Author 5 books9 followers
February 3, 2014

Bravo Richard! It is these type of ideas that truly bring about change. But not just change for the sake of it… Real change and real passion to see a different tomorrow than the one we are experiencing today. The idea of the elders and the business leaders is one who's time has come… And if each of us will take one step, we will all move closer to reality that includes us all. Not just the ones were well-off, and not just the ones who can speak with the loudest voices. This book is about what we can do today and tomorrow to screw business as usual and move in a direction that our hearts and our minds have always known as not just human, but more and more divine!

Read this book, and then connect in. Check out what they're doing on Facebook, twitter and all around the globe. And then take your first step today… That is the way. Step one… And the rest will be the history that we speak of with joy and humility in the decades to come!
Profile Image for Georgev.
10 reviews
January 22, 2013
It was very distracting hearing the sound of RB patting himself on the back at every turn of a page. The book is basically a public relations sticker. Yes, I am happy to see a person of his vast wealth involved in so many philanthropic and sustainable business actions. How a bout a little grace and turning down the horn toots a tad. I guess it wasn't what I was looking for. I have been invested in sustainable seeking corporations for decades so.. Didn't the BeeGees give millions starting way back to UNICEF? I am happy for you Richard and the opportunities you and a myriad other corporations have brought to poverty stricken areas but it is definitely not new or your idea. Simply too arrogant and egotistical read for me.Sub title:The Richard Branson Show.
Profile Image for Blake Kanewischer.
228 reviews2 followers
July 1, 2013
This lightweight screed reflects the holistic attitude towards business that Richard Branson supposedly has. Not having had the opportunity to experience Virgin service myself, I can't judge that claim. The supreme irony in the book for me is that Branson inadvertently pops his own bubble more than once with casual references to his private island or to the people who populate his world. It's a breezy read, but don't expect much from it.
Profile Image for Keshan.
87 reviews5 followers
January 3, 2018
i like Richard Branson very much but/ This is the third time i try to finished this book!!! sorry but i cant. this book full with facts about author and his colleagues trying make a better world. But another way this is look like Virgin's ANNUAL REPORT : social activities..BLAH....BLAH...blah.. lot of names..lot of brands.but just one massage..

try to make a better world with your business...
OK...I got it....NO...further more...!
Profile Image for Dallyn.
24 reviews
August 9, 2021
A hard read to get through. Lacked pace, felt painfully repetitive, and questionably egotistical.
On one hand, I found it to be a good resource of knowledge on how the businesses mentioned in the book were contributing back to society in economic and enivornmental ways. I also liked his insights on how and why charitable donations are not sustainable, but empowering the poor to create their own wealth is.
On the other hand I found it hard to digest that Richard Branson preaches about how businesses should change their approach of impact on the environment while he himself runs airline, cruise line and space travel businesses. I also found myself rolling my eyes everytime he mentioned how many acres of land he owned, his private islands, and name dropping celebrities which at most times added no weight to the story. A lot of the book’s focus was on initiatives he and random Virgin employees set into motion, which is fair since he’s the author, but felt like an extensive corporate branding exercise.
The book could have been edited to half its length and focused more on the message he was trying to get across, which I believe is valuable but was lost in his self-absorbed banter.
Profile Image for Ben Rogers.
2,156 reviews137 followers
June 30, 2021
This was a really solid book.

How can you change the world?

Branson details some really iconic and impactful moves in his career and outlines how you can do similar in your own. I learned a lot and was moved by his integrity and charisma.

Very motivating book and quite eloquent.

I also got a lot out of this book from another perspective, of how to speak to authorities to spark change. A lot of the stories are from him speaking to communities, so I interpreted lots of how to influence leaders to change policy and consider new viewpoints.

Some of the book was heavy on the name dropping and self-congratulatory side, but it was still a really good read.

Profile Image for Dana Berglund.
1,040 reviews12 followers
September 6, 2019
2.5 stars.
Full disclosure: I read this to fulfill a specific reading goal, as this isn't my typical genre. (The whole point of reading challenges, really.)
Reading this did improve my impression of Richard Branson. I do believe that he really is trying to change the soul of business and improve life on our planet. I was impressed by many of the initiatives he discusses in the book, which cover a really wide range of social and environmental issues. Anyone trying to reduce the carbon footprint of multinational businesses deserves some credit.
My first problem with the book is not actually his fault, but mine in reading it now: it is already 8 years old. It made me want to fact check. So, this company had this really impressive plan in 2011...did they follow through? Did they meet their goals, reduce or increase their whatever by 201X? If they didn't, the whole vignette loses its power, and during the entire reading I was aware of the follow up rabbit holes I could get lost in doing research.
My second issue, however, was of style and ego. The book was one huge name drop and pat on the back after another. Here's the template:
I was talking to my good friend Celebrity A while we were on my private island, and he said this thing that inspired me. I said, “You know what? Let's do it! Screw business as usual, and let's make this organization/initiative/company/conference/press release to make the world better!” Celebrity A totally agreed with me, and we worked together on this project. [Insert details and story about project.]. This other time, I was at a conference where I talked with World Leader B (who I call Buddy because that's his family nickname and we're such close buds) and Business Leader C. They were talking about the important issue X. One of my amazing staff members happened to know someone who has a start up dealing with this same issue. [Insert side story about how I met amazing staff member and recognized their genius.] We got together and helped the start up in these detailed ways. Now they're very impressive. [insert details and page long quote from either World Leader B or Start Up Entrepreneur.]

Do you see how that can start to grate a little? Some of the stories were truly inspiring, but there was such an odd tone of self aggrandizing and also trying to use really casual language at the same time. I'm not sure who the real audience for this book was. Small business owners? Fortune 500 CEOs? People who want to be awed by celebrity and feel like they're doing some social good? I'm not really sure. It didn’t inspire me to read more business books, that's for sure.
Profile Image for Daniel Taylor.
Author 4 books82 followers
November 13, 2012
In the old days, it was enough for entrepreneurs to spend half their life making money and the other half giving it away. But the business game has changed. Now, to succeed, you need to make a profit as you do good.

Richard Branson introduces the idea of Capitalism 24902 (the distance in miles of the circumference of the earth) and tells story after story of businesses that have at their heart the concept of doing good. You need to accept the global reality of business and thus the need for leadership without borders. The old charity model is as out of date as the old way of doing business, success is doing good at a profit.

Over the past five or so years in business literature, longer in the real world, there's been a shift to social entrepreneurship. Branson's book takes that work as a foundation and moves it ahead. Branson's insights are not theoretical but are based on the work he's doing through his own "do good" organisation, Virgin Unite.

If you're in business or you have a jaded view of the power of business, read this book to understand all the good business can achieve.
Profile Image for Russ King.
Author 5 books153 followers
June 27, 2012
This book is as inspiring as it is irritating. It's like swimming through thick treacle a lot of the time but there are enough inspirational ideas and case studies to make it worthwhile. Branson mentions how wonderful Virgin is at least three times every page which gets a tad tedious and I would have liked more details about some of the examples from other organisations.

However, Branson's enthusiasm comes through like a blazing sun and he has an impressive record of results with organisations that are making a huge difference to people and the environment. He makes a compelling argument for doing business in an ethical manner (and getting more profits in the process).

You do start to wonder what our governments are doing while an assorted collection of successful business men and women can make significant inroads into seemingly impossible tasks.
4 reviews4 followers
June 5, 2015
I can not really be bothered to write a proper review for this thing, but I am just using this space to note that exposing the world to this junk should be considered a violation of human rights.

10/10 would read again
Profile Image for Cristina Ames.
12 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2016
Love him, love -and agree- the topic, but I didn't like how the idea was presented through the book, it didn't talk to me. Branson is good though.
Profile Image for Artemis.
212 reviews
October 22, 2019
Given that the issues discussed in this book are still ongoing in a very scary way this book is quite anxiety inducing in 2019.

That being said, while the stories written are inspirational, I'd really been hoping for a bit more of a concrete discussion on how to "screw business as usual". While there are general ideas talked about in the book and the stories, I already had those ideas when I picked up this book.

It might just be that it's dated, because society has progressed - I don't know. What I do know is that this isn't what I expected.

I have learned some good brand names, and I can appreciate the life of Sir Richard Branson a bit more (but I'm also extremely frustrated by him as it's easy for a billionaire to say that you "can't just throw money at a problem" but it's not so easy to be hungry and hear billionaires say that).

Overall, if you want to learn more about the author, delve in. If you want to learn about business? Unless you have no idea how businesses can do better (by supporting peoples rights and access to important resources), I'd recommend finding another book.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
392 reviews
January 20, 2018
Very inspirational read. Other reviewers are critical about the fact that he is so well connected, and how easy it is for him to create change compared to the likes of us. However, what Richard Branson does is use his connections, wealth, experience and entrepreneurial spirit to do good. Something we can all do if we find a cause we care about enough. He has made me look at the CSR strategy we created for the company in a different way as he gives many examples and case studies of companies that are doing good and making money at the same time. He also shows how you can do good on a micro and macro level, it not all big projects to save the world from global warming. Sometimes it’s arranging a loan for an African lady to buy a sewing machine to set up her own business.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
658 reviews32 followers
September 22, 2018
This books feels a bit masturbatory in terms of patting himself on the back for seizing early the idea of doing well by doing good.

lots of pleasant examples with a condescending tone of what we must do.

But I couldn't get over the "we must save biodiversity" theme while he also talks about "sustainable wool" - give me a break. Farm animal pasture and the fields to make the grain to feed those farm animals is the leading cause of biodiversity loss (and climate change - another big cause of biodiversity loss).

so maybe while you're funding breeding of endangered species you could stop consuming the products that are the reason they are going extinct anyway.

That gave it a hollow note for me. Which sucks because I'd previously admired Branson.
Profile Image for Wulan Suci Maria.
95 reviews6 followers
September 3, 2017
An easy reading book with easy languange. However, I expected lot more than what Richard tells in this book. It took me a month to finish the book, because it lack of excitement (plus my personal target, to finish what I have started) to drive me to continously read the book.

This book is all about stories from people who do social business and how it can bring more benefit for others and improves human's live. It also tells how capitalism will not work long term.

I respect a lot on the way Richard do business and inspire people as he explain in this book.
But i wish it is more than just a compilation of surface stories
September 26, 2019
Fast and fun read, leaving you with the feeling the entrepreneurship CAN leave the world a better place!

This is the first book of Branson's that I have read, and loved it. His personality comes through just as people who are close to him have described it, and as he appears in interviews. Awesome.

How often do you get to hang out with a cool billionaire who is actively trying to make the world a better place? How often do you get the opportunity to hear first hand advice from a person who makes big waves?

The title references business and rejecting the status quo. This book delivers on both counts.
25 reviews
January 28, 2020

Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, is all about not doing business as usual or on the corollary, he is about doing business as adventure. 

Perhaps now it has become a trend to flaunt the 'S' word or the 'F' word in the title itself to call attention to the passion of the author and readers have evolved to not notice it differently any more. 

Otherwise the book is a racy autobiography, mixing personal life and business life in equal measure.

It's no surprise as the world already knows that for Richard business is personal and personal is business.

Profile Image for Sunshine Biskaps.
312 reviews4 followers
March 21, 2021
"Screw Business As Usual" by Richard Branson
Reviewed on 22 March 2021

I admire Richard Branson a lot and love learning from successful people. I picked up this book hoping only to hear his thoughts with no particular goal in place. It was reassuring that he seems to be ethical and genuine in encouraging people to think outside the box when doing business and have the environment in mind. I do love that he stresses the importance of building good relations with people, also. I would say I am not sure if I learned anything particularly helpful in this book, though.

I listened the the audiobook while walking my dog.
2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
Profile Image for Renald Micallef.
72 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2018
Richard Branson is always one step ahead of other entrepreneurs when it comes to do good. Basically this book is about how to do business by doing good, by giving something back to the community or by helping the planet in the process. I read this book while I was in a transition period in my life, professionally speaking. It gave me so much insight which will surely help me in my #nextstep
February 24, 2019
“Screw business as usual” has radically changed my perspective on how business and charity can be done. Other than making profit business can also contributing to the needy, other than just handing out donation to the needy charity work can be making profit as well. Better still if you combine both together and you will get a profitable business that focus on charity works!
March 3, 2021
Business is about growing up and growing the community around it. This book is about, all the activities that Virgin did to enhance the community around it. Various projects are discussed this is a good book if you are looking to support the community by transforming your bussiness to community friendly bussiness.
Profile Image for Jake Hattis.
45 reviews
October 21, 2022
Lot of great case studies on how to be a modern social entrepreneur. It also goes into depth on some of the things. Virgin is doing to innovate business models.

I feel it’s important to note I read this like ten minutes after disembarking a bomb virgin cruise so I was definitely in a pro-virgin mood.
Profile Image for Adelaida Diaz-Roa.
71 reviews13 followers
April 19, 2018
Richard Branson is amazing! With so many ways to help in this world, there really is no excuse not to. Great book to get your creative juices going on how you can help leave your grain of sand in making this world better for generations to come.
Profile Image for Sarah Hicks.
20 reviews
August 29, 2018
This is one of those memoirs that's also part inspirational you-should-do that one reads in college as theory to be used in dribs and drabs along the way of one's career. So I'll have to come back and listen to it again.
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