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The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work for business, people, soci ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 3rd 2011)
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Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Phenomenal start, then gets tired very quickly. The same poor examples are used over and over destroying the book. Read the first chapter, then toss it.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it to be exciting, energizing, and hopeful.

So many companies dream up schemes to squeeze out a few more pennies...rather than define something that will have real value to customers and real positive impact on society. (This, by the way, applies as much to the nonprofit world as to the for-profit world.) That's old capitalism, and it's associated with dying companies. The new capitalism creates real, sustainable value.

For a while now, I've been wracking my brain to try
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Great book. Very well written in a way that pleases people who have studied business (or economics) and those that haven't. Wish it was a little geekier. It's tightly molded to real-world examples but they are very easily arguable the exact opposite of the way he argues they contribute to better capitalist practice. I wish there was more practical transition thinking in it. It's very airy-faery like other books of the this type, meant to inspire-- which is fine-- but I feel like there are enough ...more
Peter Auwera
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have always been a fan of Umair Hague, but this book beats everything. This is an absolute MUST READ, already now the guide for doing business in the 21st century. A big shot of adrelanine to start the year and next decade with renewed energy. This is a masterpiece, and any business book in 2011 will be measured against this one, as far as i am concerned. Update: after finishing the book,"masterpiece" is a bit over the top. There is a lot of repetition in the book, but i guess that's the diffe ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
In The New Capitalist Manifesto, Umair Haque proposes six dimensions that business should pursue to generate 21st century disruptions in their market-spaces. Dimensions aimed at creating a capitalism that provides meaningful, authentic, enduring value.

1) Haque directs us to pursue loss advantage through value cycles that connect outputs/waste back into our inputs.
2) He advocates for responsiveness through value conversations with consumers rather than "make it and push it out."
3) He calls for
Lindsey Smith
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A truly thought-provoking, but somewhat flawed book. I highly recommend reading it and I know that I will be keeping Haque's points in mind thinking about my own and other businesses.

However, I couldn't help but feel uneasy over the pollyannaish treatment of his exemplar companies. There's a brief admission near the end that those companies (Google, Nike, Wal-Mart, etc.) aren't perfect, but I think that really falls short. Those and any company are still engaging in bare knuckle 20th century st
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Capitalism as it’s functioned for last few hundred years is morally bankrupt and, more importantly, no longer works. Capitalism needs to be reinvented. And, in its new shape, it will help power a new generation of growth – but in a sustainable and long-term manner. This book – as a manifesto – outlines what needs to be done to ensure that this transformation occurs.


He has also recently been awarded a place on the prestigious Thinkers50 list, the premier ranking
Dec 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandonned
This book promised a lot. The author's big idea is that by thinking in a new 21st century mode that takes into account the whole of one's economic activities including externalities using some kind of triple-entry accounting technique instead of the traditional double-entry system, one can achieve capitalistic selfish goals without sacrificing the commons.

Sounds great! I've been wondering for a long time how to force producers and consumers to become responsible for those externalities. For exam
Chris Johnson
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a good book. It was a smart book and it posits some ideas that are different.

The first: that we've been given over to a plutocracy. Probably not a surprise.

The second: that we have buried the costs of things so we can buy 99 cent hamburgers. (But we truck water to the great plains states, to get the price of beef down.)

This does talk about sustainability in a way that Radians could agree with - that we have to do things different/better for our own good, and that our institutions have
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
While I'm predisposed to buy into the author's position that it is folly to apply the simplistic capitalism of centuries ago to today's more modern economic context, this book didn't impress me much. Haque makes a compelling argument that externalization of many corporate costs is unsustainable but his "solutions" are underwhelming. He proposes general "approaches" and doesn't present any practical ideas for impact or change.

For someone who is just beginning to think about the shortcomings of ca
Dhruv Patel
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For a consutructive capitalism and need for 21st century business developers
Stephen Collins

I've never been one to conform, and Havas Media Lab Director and HBR blogger, Umair Haque isn't either. The radical re-imagining of economics and capitalism he proposes in The New Capitalist Manifesto is an idea for the 21st Century, rising out of the ashes of a still-burning post-Industrial economy. Illustrating his new economics through comparisons between old economics (and the companies living off it) and the new "betterness"-based economics, Haque argues extensively and convincingly that wh

Brent Neal
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book a lot. I follow Umair Haque on Twitter and enjoy his commentary. I should have looked more closely at that commentary however, because there is a lesson there about the book. The New Capitalist Manifesto, while excitingly written and well laid out, has almost no new thinking in it whatsoever. Like Haque's tweets, which are largely retweets of other thinkers with an exclamation point terminated comment, the book is a simple repackaging of the seminal ideas of many books ...more
Torben Rasmussen
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Haque have written a thought-provoking and courageous book on how to transform business in the 21st century. The book draws on recent examples of well-known companies that have started the journey including Nike, Lego, Apple and Wal-mart. Adding examples of disruptive "new" companies like Threadless, Interface and Jelli.
Haque argues against the, still prevailent, management practices of the last century. A focus on short-term monetary earnings, unsustainable exploitation of resources and destruc
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was introduced to Haque's blog several months ago and have been following him ever since. Haque's premise is that capitalism need not be the soul-less, winner-take-all model of cut-throat competition that has practically defined it as an institution since the Gilded Age.

Here, he argues for a new way of doing business that provides value in a rich and organic way, rather than hustling out low-cost, low-quality products for the sake of this quarter's bottom line. He makes a persuasive case, and
Damian Bakula
May 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Nothing groundbreaking here...and sloppy editing. Apparently Haque is very fond of "bespectacled hipsters" because on page 116 he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of industrial era capitalism...," then on the very next page he writes, "In most boardrooms, the word creative refers to the bespectacled hipsters who make glitzy ads. Under the rules of orthodox capitalism..." Haque makes a few good points, but they ...more
Jessie Young
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I appreciate this book's deep thinking angle. It seems that many business books try to be as superficial as possible and just give tips and tricks, so it was refreshing to read a book that is more of a framework for how to think than bullet-ed lists.

Also, I believe in what Haque is arguing in this book. Basically, we have to start calculating in long-term effects when we think about businesses. Not necessarily because everyone's really into reusable shopping bags these days, but because the worl
Tyler Hurst
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
As an avid reader of Umair's blog and fan of his videos, I was a bit disappointed by his novel.

Not that it was bad, but he repeated himself often AND used far more bold and italics than I like to typically see in books, which was extremely distracting to me.

The content is quite good, however. I bet he could have written half as much and made a better point.

Sadly, most of the people who need to read this won't, as it talks mostly about how the industrialists and old-school capitalists are doing
Matt Konda
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I liked some of the ideas presented in this book and I think the author is smart and thought provoking.

Specifically, the idea that economics and capitalism can be flawed due to a failure to include various aspects of cost is both an obvious and underrepresented view. To the extent that this book talked about companies that were starting to look at those missed measurements and using that to drive a new competitive advantage, I think it provided useful food for thought.

On the other hand, I didn't
Jen Watkins
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I agree whole-heartedly with the premise of this book--that our current practice of capitalism is outdated and that consumers already realize this, but business does not. But why did this timely idea have to be presented in the simplistic business guide format? If you can get past the cheesy terminology, this book is worth reading. I am very glad to have come across it, because it has given some structure to the nebulous misgivings I feel about economic organizations. In addition, I found the op ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Umair is a superb blogger, writer, and thinker. The only knock I have with this book is that he does get a little redundant in some parts when he tries to frame his philosophies. He's started an important conversation about re-invigorating the U.S. and global economy. I have little doubt that the principles he's identified for creating better business institutions in the 21st Century will come to be as common as terms we've used to measure progress (e.g. GDP, throughput efficiency) in the 20th C ...more
Tac Anderson
Oct 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a good book in that the premise is an important one but I really feel this would have been a better essay than an actual book. In order to make it into a book Umair Haque had to use a lot of examples that aren't really a good fit and at best were cliche.

It's hard to be one of the first ones to write on an important topic that hasn't yet developed so I commend Umair for writing it and look forward to future books on the same topic from him.
Chris Adams
Usman gives us an engaging read, but the main takesway point seemed to be 'lots of companies are doing individual bits well, but no one is doing business as if people really matter, in a holistic fashion'.

I left the book feeling the only way people do some parts of business 'right' is by making up for it elsewhere in reaping profits or cutting costs elsewhere, i.e. doing business 'wrong'.
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Reading Gary Hamel's forward encouraged me. Without any business savvy, I appreciated the accessibility of Haque's style. His definition of the "thick value" necessary to thrive and matter in 21st century constructive capital vs. "thin value" of industrial era capitalism rings true. Frequently passages or even next sentences repeated previous ideas for no apparent reason, but other than this editorial oversight, I found the ideas clear, engaging and hopeful. ...more
Brian Meidell
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the ideas and information in this book, even more than I disliked the writing.
This would have been a 5 star 50 page essay that I would happily have paid for as a Kindle Single, but instead it's an florid, annoyingly repetitive, stretched-out book.

I am teetering between a 3 and 4 star rating, but gave it four because I think more people should read it.

I'd recommend reading it to anyone, regardless of the annoyingly long form.
Derek Neighbors
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Umair is one of my favorite thinkers. I will say that I was not as impressed with his long form writing as with his essays, but regardless he is brilliant in his assessment of capitalism, society and the major reset that is bubbling under our feet. Well worth reading to set the tone for thinking about how society is changing.
May 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is best when it keeps its philosophical tone. I appreciate the illustrative stories about specific companies as examples, but at times, the tone became a little too "how-to" and not enough "how". Other than that, I think its a strong defense of capitalism as a potential change agent and does give me some hope for the future of business. ...more
Shane Quinn
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
Agreed with virtually everything that Haque has written in this. The notion of reimagining capitalism to make it a more rounded and beneficial system is obvious. My problem was with Haque's writing. I just wish he had an editor who made him lose a few words and taught him basic sentence structure. He's clearly a brilliant thinker but a much better article writer than book writer... ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
insightful. The idea that companies should internalize negative externalities and put them on their books as cost is at the center of this book. the idea is that recognizing that cost would then force innovation to reduce the cost.
Ali Sohani
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Constructive Capitalism: @umairh's "New Capitalist Manifesto" is for economics enlightenment.
Refer to a comprehensive review by @salhir here:
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Umair Haque is Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. He also founded Bubblegeneration, an agenda-setting advisory boutique that shaped strategies across media and consumer industries.

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