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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs
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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,534 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises tha ...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by PublicAffairs (first published October 1st 1997)
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Mohammed Abdullahi From the beginning of the Yunus struggle, there was stiffness in the compliance of the mass and it has reached a level that he has to inject some mone…moreFrom the beginning of the Yunus struggle, there was stiffness in the compliance of the mass and it has reached a level that he has to inject some money into the business, was that capitalist tendency to wear the shoe of socialism? (less)

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Riku Sayuj

Is Yunus the only practicing (as in the type who never came across the proverbial armchair yet) nobel laureate in economics? (his field is, if not the nobel)

His ideas and beliefs are rooted in and grown from the experience of running what sounds like hundreds of companies and offshoots and sister concerns - almost all successful, launching an entire industry and redefining one of the oldest businesses of the world.

Yet, in spite of full awareness of the credentials of the author, everything insid
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was really excited when I found the audiobook of this title on the shelf at Half-Price Books. I had an 8 hour drive coming up, and now instead of spending the time scanning for radio stations, I could listen to a book by the awesomely awesome Muhammad Yunus.

I was psyched.

Unfortunately, the book turned out to be quite disappointing. I was expecting something a LOT more rigorous from an economist. (Edit: I almost said, "from a guy who won the Nobel Prize in Economics," but then I looked it up an
Kathryn in FL
It has been a number of years since I read this book. I have a business degree and worked in for large companies, including one multi-national. I have also had my own business. So, I have done my share of reading and keeping up with trends (until I became severely disabled).

This book is a must for anyone who wants an understandable yet integral look at how business can work on a local level in Asia. So many of us are aware to some level about the American businesses that have shipped jobs to Asi
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A manifesto with excellent potentials. It could change the world. I suspect it will.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What I really enjoy about this book is that the author both writes and DOES. So many authors pass judgment on or make claims about the best ways to live and work and conduct oneself; however, Yunus has a history of experiences to validate his thoughts and writing. What's better, those experiences allow him to lay out exactly how to get started. I went to this social entrepreneurship event the other day--Ubuntu Education Fund, Of Rags, and SCHEF all spoke about their various fights against povert ...more
Wade Brooks
May 06, 2015 added it
Shelves: busienss
Yunus is the master of the BHOG (Big Harry Audacious Goal) and I've got to say he's done a lot, from wining the Nobel Peace Prize for the development of microcredit to growing Grameen Bank - lending over 9 billion in credit to the poor since its inception. If this book was written by anyone besides Yunus I would have dismissed it as a pipe dream but he's making it happen. The long term goal: Eradicate poverty, all of it, forever. ...more
Javier Boncompte G.
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011

One of the best books I've read. I completely agree with his theoretical framework for Social Business
Tanmay Jadhav
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’d definitely suggest this book.

The idea obviously can have a lot of criticism. The first one being that the implementation can only happen within a rigid set of preset rules.

But, you see, we need ideas like these that promote more ideas. Crazy ideas that are changing the world one person at a time and have the proof to back it up.

We can’t just keep putting things down by saying that “it just won’t work in a capital economy”. But hey, it has worked! This man is not just another writer trying
Mark Oppenlander
After reading Banker to the Poor, I was looking forward to this book. Having learned about the origins of microfinance in the earlier volume, I felt that Muhammad Yunus had a lot of fertile ground on which to build his ideas and take them to the next level. This book, an exploration of the concept of "social business" with examples from Yunus' work with various Grameen industries, seemed to be just the ticket.

Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to my expectations. My biggest frustration was t
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
The entire concept of this book is so interesting, but the presentation at times just felt boring and difficult to get through. Yunus is at his best when he is describing why social business and how the businesses he's created are helping to eradicate poverty in Bangladesh. Where I struggled is when he's telling how 'easy' it is to create these businesses. During those sections I felt he could of expanded a bit more on to how EXACTLY financially he made these ideas into reality. For instance his ...more
James Scott
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Thought provoking" is the best descriptor I could use for this book. Yunus develops a clear and passionate thesis for his world changing idea of social businesses, laying out example after example of how social businesses he has either founded or worked with have accomplished their missions and creatively overcome various obstacles in a way that traditional businesses could not. He glosses over a high altitude view of how to plan and launch your own social business, and takes an evangelical sty ...more
Ruth Cho
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
So inspiring! Very thought-provoking stories about how social business can fit within a capitalist framework. Some parts were very much geared towards actual social business entrepreneurs (financial, legal restrictions), but the stories are unforgettable. Never knew the revolutionary idea of microcredit / micro financing came from a mere lending of $27 to a village. The stories of how big corporations such as Danone, Pfizer & Adidas really serve as real life applications of a social business mod ...more
Hiko Murs
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very powerful! Very influential!
Lino  Matteo
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deals with some of the most pressing issues facing society today: how do we serve the people in a way that is affordable for the people.

Social business can remove government from much of its ineffective middle man role.

My notes:

Building Social Business
Muhammad Yunus
Copyright 2010, paperback 2011
Xi: They’ll be job givers, not job seekers.
Xii: Poverty is not created by poor people. It is created the systems we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated…
Ibrahim Fathy Zalat
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
-:Book notes&take-aways:-

-How Microlending Led to Social Business-
Driven to act by the desperate Bangladesh famine of 1974, Chittagong University economics professor Muhammad Yunus went to the village of Jobra and found his calling. After giving villagers $27 to pay off loans to predatory lenders, Yunus hit upon the idea of lending to the poor as the foundation of a new kind of banking business. He started the bank himself, calling it “Grameen” after the Bengali word for “village.” Grameen now h
Glenn Williams
Sep 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Muhummad Yunus, author of 'Banker to the Poor', and founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, presents a compelling case for establishing social businesses that focus on overcoming poverty and other significant issues. He argues that capitalism should serve humanity’s pressing needs.

Central to Yunus' beliefs is the position that poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the system we have built, the institutions we have designed, and the concepts we have formulated. It is an a
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Building Social Business was written by author Muhammad Yunus, whose personal story and legacy of achievements is truly impressive. However, is his success proof of the social business concept or a testament to what one uniquely talented individual can achieve? Until the empirical research is in, I don't think it's possible to make sweeping declarations about the efficacy of social business.

As a Public Administration student, it's hard to read lines like, "Governments may find it easier and mor
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Random thoughts:

There was quite a bit of overlap with his other books, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. His writing is clear, although slow at times. I'm intrigued of his concept of social businesses, which is very specific, and not broad like the term 'social enterprise'. Social businesses are no-loss, no-dividend companies. Yunus seems adamant on both terms - there should not be any grant support, and there cannot be any promise of returns, however small. And none of the current legal structure
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I learned of Muhammad Yunus, the author of Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, while researching microfinance. Mr. Yunus is a pioneer in the microfinance industry. During the 1970s, he founded Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh. I was fascinated by the work of Mr. Yunus and wanted to learn more so looked for additional reading material. Building Social Business looked intriguing and it was.

The Bottom Line

Readers don
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
From the guy who brought you the microlending craze comes a fabulous discussion of the social benefit that capitalism is capable of producing. Yunus makes the case that we need to quickly develop a new tax structure that is more nuanced than simply placing establishment into one of two camps: for-profit or nonprofit. There is plenty of ground in between those two poles for an organization who would have profit as an aim but -- but! -- any profits generated from the business have to go back into ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The single most inspiring book I've ever read. Mr. Yunus has lifted and is still lifting hundreds of people out of poverty, and is the most deserving recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize I can think of.

"Dreams are made out of impossibles. We cannot reach the impossibles by using the analytical minds trained to deal with hard information that is currently available. These minds are fitted with flashing red lights to warn us about obstacles we may face. We'll have to put our minds in a different mode
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very impressive theory and cutting edge business model. The case studies show a lot of great examples of how this business works. I would be interested to read additional case studies of how a social business has not been successful as well as how this idea can be as effectively spread across communities in the developed world as it has been in the developing world. A positive message with practical advice for starting a business with the best end benefit I can imagine: making the lives of other ...more
Shantanu Roy
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking concept of Social Business is presented here. This new pattern of business is emerging. I think this pioneering idea will attract many people who will step in this path.I feel ultimately social business will bring betterment for the society though it it is too early too comment.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. This should be a must read for every single business student and every single corporate executive. I also think it is valuable for people who work in not for profits and NGOs. Think different is a good perspective here.
Kingshuk Mazumder
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yunus shows how capitalism and welfare of the underserved can go hand in hand. The book sheds light on how social business is different from NGOs and charities. A must read for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make this world a better place to live in.
Differences and elements and examples that make a social business.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I found the concept of social business presented in this book to be interesting, but I also found some flaws with the premise. While I think that within the system of capitalism social business provides interesting opportunities to improve the lives of the global poor, my concern is that it's still operating within the system of capitalism. One of the flawed assumption in this book is that capitalism is a broken, half-complete system that is not working the way it is meant to work, and that pove ...more
Animesh Mitra
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Revolutionary idea. Homo sapiens has two sides. Selfish side and altruistic side. Homo sapiens is neither absolute selfish nor absolute altruistic, its the combination of both. Capitalism prefers only the selfish side of the Homo sapiens but we can create a new type of capitalism, a new mode of business based on the altruistic side of the Homo sapiens. Which will be social business. Capitalism can use the altruistic side of the human just as like it uses the selfish and greedy side of the human. ...more
Kudakwashe Manjonjo
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
As humans, we tend to forget that poverty is a human Creation. A back dated capitalist system, combined with financial imperialism has led to half the world being too poor to eat everyday, go to school or bring up healthy kids.

Muhammed Yunus book is an apt reminder of how we can change our system and philosophies to have a new kind of economic structure.

He propounds the idea of a "social business" which gives capitalism a human face by using the tool of capitalism to solve social problems.

He giv
Eliza Doll
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yunus has changed the way that I look at the world of business. It has given me hope that modern capitalism as we see it today doesn’t have to remain focused on selfish desires to maximize personal gain. I was inspired to read this book by Leila Janah’s “Give Work” to learn more about how a Social Business works. She was inspired to start her social business Samasource after reading a book by Muhammad Yunus. A social business is similar to a traditional business into that is works towards being ...more
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Dr. Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a professor of economics and is famous for his successful application of microcredit--the extension of small loans given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Dr. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts t ...more

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