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The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,859 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
The world's most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world's billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. Not only can it be done, it is being done--very profitably. What's more, companies aren't jus ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 27th 2006 by Prentice Hall (first published July 26th 2004)
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Emily
Sep 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I’d heard a lot of good things about this book, so I had pretty high expectations, which the book did not meet. The author writes as if viewing the poor as consumers is a revolutionary idea that will “eradicate poverty through profits”. However, the “poor” I’ve worked with from refugee camps in Darfur to the villages of Lesotho already viewed themselves as consumers. Sure, we were beyond “the coca-cola border” and they weren’t buying brand names that we recognize, but even the poorest of the poo ...more
Pallavi
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an interesting read providing insight on the BOP segment and various ways to leverage it. The subject of poverty is not new but the facts makes one realize that it is indeed a huge market which can be served by new ideas and techniques and help the poor population across the world. Even though some concepts are repetitive in the book, the case studies included are quite interesting. To sum it all, it shows the endless opportunities available to the marketers across the globe.
Adrienne
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
It can get a bit repetitive and probably could have used more editing, but the ideas are worthwhile.
Jonathan
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
A bolded statement on the first page of Chapter 1 reads:
What is needed is a better approach to help the poor, an approach that involves partnering with them to innovate and achieve sustainable win-win scenarios where the poor are actively engaged and, at the same time, the companies providing products and services to them are profitable.

This quote is a good leaping-off point for the root problems in the book.

1) By “sustainable win-win scenarios”, Prahalad refers to sustainability of profit. Whe
...more
Heather
This is an interesting book with ideas for alleviating poverty, by shifting the way that we think about helping the poor. As we see them as consumers - a potential market - and focus on creating goods and services that they need at the right price we will help them and be forced to innovate and come up with better ideas that will help even more people.

I admit there is a lot more I need to understand about business and economics in order to really understand each of the ideas and examples in this
...more
Raghu
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a book with fresh, innovative ideas towards the eradication of poverty. It doesn't rail against capitalism and its exploitative instincts nor does it look at the world's poor with a condescending 'poor you' attitude. The basic proposition that the author makes is 'if we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognising them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up'. Though the author shows ...more
Jamie
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
There may be a fortune at the bottom of the period, but pushing greater consumptive forces onto the poor is not the answer to eradicating poverty. I would like to think that one day the pyramid model could be turned into a diamond, with the majority of the world's population being middle class. But for this to ever be possible, we must empower the poor, not profit from them. I understand that profits introduce discipline and expand market scale, but there is something fundamentally wrong with th ...more
Dave
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Refreshing approach to foreign development. Prahalad (who died recently) takes the viewpoint that developed, free-market countries got where they are through private-sector innovation. Sidestepping the vicious political debates around foreign aid, he instead lays brick after brick of solid case studies showing where multi-national corporations were able to transform developing economies by simply studying them and creating products suited to the people there. He shows how this process also trans ...more
Tadas Talaikis
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
At first I was sceptical as it sounded like some rich guys (like Gates) will come and solve Bob's (sorry, BOP) problems, but as it appears, companies inside those countries are solving the problems themselves and are inventing what they need (well, because high end tech is privatized by Rentier-circus societies from the U.S. and Europe, i.e., "the saviors"). Then, I though, let it be, I'll give it four stars, because it's still interesting and makes me think a bit. And also, let's not forget, so ...more
Dhruv Naik
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the thought process behind this book.The book gives valuable insights on how can companies change the poverty issues in the world while also creating profits for themselves.Especially,the case studies included in the book helps us to understand how this can be done and have been done before.
Marks54
This is a book about how "western" firms can do business in subsistence markets, especially in the very poor parts of the world where the average income is in the hundreds of dollars a year. The focus naturally is towards developing large nations like India, China and others, such as Brazil or Russia (together the BRIC nations). The key intuition here is that firms need to think about what they do differently and develop their products differently if they are to succeed. The punchline is that th ...more
Aaron Redman
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bottom of the Pyramid or BOP is widely used in development circles and was first defined by Prahalad in an article which eventually grew into this book. The BOP refers to the billions of people who are living on only a couple dollars a day and thus have very little individual consuming power, but summed up across billions the opportunity is massive. Prahalad saw an enormous opportunity for businesses to focus on this group of people which he believed could simultaneously make profits and improve ...more
Hrishikesh
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent study on how markets can be generate welfare.

C. K. Pralhad presents an interesting study into how the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid markets are a rich source of market expansion. The symbiotic relationship that Dr. Prahalad has elaborated upon will benefit both the people at the BOP, as well as the companies seeking to expand here.

This is not a book on political science. It is book focusing on solutions to develomental issues. It presents a detailed study of several cases from across the world
...more
Anindya
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: back-2-reality
An elderly uncle of mine (my father called him Shachi da, I never got to know his real name) once went to Banaras just to read The Bhagwat Gita in its unabridged form under the supervision of a sadhu.

I find myself fortunate to work for my present client as I would not have been able to appreciate this book if I read it before I worked here. To appreciate this book you need to be in a particular frame of mind. Thanks to my work, I am in such a frame of mind.

I paid special attention to the chapte
...more
Lester
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
For anyone looking for concrete examples as to how to follow a practical route to improving the lives of the poor, the case studies in this book are great. Prahalad is at his theoretical best here, putting together a simple blueprint which is extrapolated from the collective examples and experiences with a number of cases in a number of countries.



The main issue I have with the book is the overarching emphasis on capitalism as a way out of poverty. One of the main tenets of the argument used by
...more
Urvi Dharamshi
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book gives a effective picture of the reality at the bottom of the pyramid. What irks most people is that this book talks too much about how to sell to the poor than about how to uplift them.

Yet... After reading it i have got quite a few insights at what can be done to get the poor out of poverty. While i disagree with Prahlad whose writing implies that the increased use of shampoo in rural india is an indicator of development.. private organisations have certainly helped make inroads into
...more
Duane
Dec 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
The content was okay but the writing and particularly editing was the worst I've ever seen. There were sections that appeared to have each paragraph written by a different person and then slapped together without an editor's review. The same paragraph would appear consecutively with just a word change or two (this happened in two spots). Topics would be introduced, only to be re-introduced slightly later. Acronyms would never be defined. The same info would be covered over and over again but wit ...more
Chade66
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharang Limaye
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
'Fortune' came with a certain reputation and it certainly didn't live up to it. In fact, the word 'Fortune' in the title is a misnomer for nowhere does the author tell you how much money the featured entities make by serving the financially weak. And that makes the book just an appeal to the society's collective conscience, and not the strident call to action one had expected. The congratulatory messages from CEOs of the featured companies seem more like a returned favour than a meaningful endor ...more
Lara
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because it helped me view the world's poorest population in a different light -- no more victim mentality, but rather as a huge market opportunity for companies willing to serve their unique needs. It's not easy and doesn't work in every case, but still interesting. Book is a bit dry, but full if interesting case studies that were new to me (and I read a lot of these types of books).
Saki Takasu
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that every emerging markets business development leader should read. With that said, the case studies are the few successful entities out of the many others that fail. This is a good introduction to how some of the business models work in a limited income-source setting.
Ramakrishnan M
May 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really liked the concept of "fortune at the botoom of the pyramid". The examples were very interesting and varied as well.

What bogged me down was the long, bland, typical "professor"ish narration... it was just too boring.
Seye Ayannuga
It's was ok. Multi-nationals can really make fortune from the so called poor countries, but this author did not talk much on 'how' to actually get the fortune.
Brian Sheets
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Prahalad does an excellent job of detailing the importance of "teaching others to fish", reaching down to lift someone out of their current circumstance to provide them an opportunity for success in business. While some major corporations have embraced this concept, there is plenty of room for others to join this cause.
Vaishnavi Adapa
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A very good book to understand the mentioned cases in detail. But the initial theory seems a bit redundant. The cases are very elaborate and very well explained. Though there are cases from diverse backgrounds, most of them are from India which limited the scope of the book. The organisations brought in did not scale well. The Shakthi amma is now considered a failure and Voxiva is not relevant in the current world. The idea behind writing the book is great but the challenges and risks are more a ...more
Rhythima  Shinde
The concept was very simple and good for companies who were not at all thinking about the poor, but I think that this book was a bit outdated when I read this. Because (a) companies do focus on profits from poor now (b) the notion of profits is no more the only factor for improving business or the lives of poor people. In fact, I would not like such an approach anymore in this heavily capitalist world because it doesn't ensure the benefit of the poor, but rather benefits of the company - which m ...more
Cory
Aug 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-have
This was an interesting spin at looking at development, pushing the mantra of "doing well by doing good". The book is largely written for businesses looking to penetrate developing world markets and is a nice guide to the unique requirements of how to succeed in this very different atmosphere. The highlight of the book is the wealth of case studies it draws on that make up the second half. They range from micro-loans and financing the poor, to some larger organizations like Voxiva that are clear ...more
Max
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I really liked the ideas in this book. They inspired and motivated me and made me once again feel that the private sector is the best place to work on development issues. The amount of capital and know-how, as well as the potential for sustainability and scalability in the private sector are unmatched by civil society or even public sector work. The writing in this book wasn't great and I couldn't help but feeling that he could have said in 100 pages what he says in three hundred. Also, as with ...more
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

The 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) refers to the global income distribution pyramid, where roughly four billion people live on less than $2 a day. The thesis of the book is that, although the per capita disposable income is low among the poor, collectively they represent a large market. The challenge, therefore, is t
...more
Jorge Reyes
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Empresarios, emprendedores, directivos, gerentes
Recommended to Jorge by: IPADE
CK Prahalad, fué una mente privilegiada, una autoridad sobre los negocios, el mundo corporativo y el liderazgo empresarial. Maestro e investigador con un visión de genio. El presente libro se pone mejor en cada página. Una profunda e interesante investigación sobre los mercados en la base de la pirámide, donde, no solo innova y gestiona de mejor manera para el mercado potencial, sino también para el existente.
Un libro que todo empresario, gerente o directivo debe de leer.
Lleno de innovación, cre
...more
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was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan, USA.
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“When the poor at the BOP are treated as consumers, they can reap the benefits of respect, choice, and self-esteem and have an opportunity to climb out of the poverty trap.” 2 likes
“I have no doubt that the elimination of poverty and deprivation is possible by 2020.” 2 likes
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