The Unlikely Story of How Big Business Can Fix the World

 

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Wharton Business School Interview with Witold Henisz

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Everybody's Business -Sample Chapter Buy the book on Amazon
Everybody's Business book
  • "@stephenfry A fantastic read: Everybody's Business goes against the conventional unwisdom on big business. Very beguiling."

    Stephen Fry tweet

  • "This is such an important theme. The world is facing historic challenges, and we’re going to have to turn to business to help grapple with them. I’m 100% in agreement with this argument."

    Dominic Barton, Managing Director McKinsey & Company

  • "Getting your head around the relationship between business and society is complicated – and knowledgeable and independent interpreters are few and far between. But you’re in very safe hands with Jon Miller and Lucy Parker."

    Jonathon Porritt, Environmentalist and Writer

The book

From oil spills to sweatshops, corporate fraud to tax evasion: it’s easy to see why the standing of big business in public opinion has been on a relentless downward slide over the past few decades. But wherever we live in the world, it’s a reality that business plays an important part in our lives. And how they act is everybody’s business.

Often branded as evil, faceless mega-corps, unaccountable and out of control, Everybody’s Business turn this simplistic good-versus-evil narrative on its head to ask whether we should be seeking to harness the power of business rather than fighting against it.

As the world faces challenges of unprecedented magnitude, Everybody’s Business aims to broaden the debate - are big businesses part of the problem, or could they use their resources, expertise and power to be part of the solution?

Following the pulse of business from the corridors of corporate power to the tiniest capillaries of commerce, Jon Miller and Lucy Parker explore a huge swathe of enterprise including telecoms, manufacturing, mining, technology, pharmaceuticals, apparel and engineering, to see how a business can add value to the world around it by doing what it does best: doing business.

For Miller and Parker, big business is an integral part of society, not separate from it, and many of the stories they tell reveal examples of inspiring technological innovation and surprising collaborations between CEOs and NGOs.

Everybody’s Business documents the global journey of the authors around the world of business as they lift the lid on some of the most powerful companies in the world including Glaxo Smith Klein, IBM, BHP Billiton, PepsiCo, Rolls Royce, SABMiller and Mahindra as well as Nike, Unilever, and Coca-Cola.

Download sample chapter Buy the book on Amazon

The Authors

Today, Lucy and Jon are working together on one of the world's most contentious challenges: helping companies get to grips with their role in society. They are partners of the Brunswick Group, one of the world's leading corporate communications firms.

Lucy Parker

Lucy Parker has spent much of her working life as a documentary-maker for the BBC. She went on to make films about businesses around the world and has worked as a coach and adviser to the leaders of some of the world's biggest companies. In government, she led the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Talent and Enterprise, focused on the importance of skills to competitiveness in the global economy.

John Miller

Jon Miller has worked all over the world with global brands such as Coca-Cola and American Express. He was Strategy Director for Mother, one of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, and spent many years with Ogilvy. Jon has created campaigns for many NGOs, including Amnesty, Greenpeace and WWF, as well as developing communications strategies for government health campaigns.

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Wharton Business School Interview

Wharton

In an interview with Wharton management professor Witold Henisz, Parker and Miller explain why a new norm is evolving and why some of the very companies that have been singled out for “crimes and misdemeanors” are leading the way in creating a focus where doing good is at the core, rather than at the periphery,of their businesses.

Watch it here

Responsible Business Week

Responsible Business Week

Lucy Parker chaired this major plenary debate, developed in partnership with Tata, which looked at the commercial opportunities presented by our fast changing world, whether these opportunities are being realised and if not, why not?

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Oxford Literary Festival

Oxford

Debate with Michael Woodford, ex-CEO of Olympus and corporate whistleblower: Can big business pursue profit but also meet some of the social and technological challenges we face today? Our panel aims to throw some light on the subject.

More here

24 Janurary 2014

The Tribes of Davos

Huffington Post

We were invited to Davos to give a talk about the book, and we found it to be like a gathering of the tribes where the worlds of big business, government and civil society get to rub shoulders.

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18 December 2013

Bloomberg Best Books of 2013

Bloomberg

Great to be one of Bloomberg's picks for 2013: "A very good account of what big businesses are doing to ensure they have a greater chance of lasting success. The book successfully argues that if big businesses are run in the right way they can be incredibly positive forces for society and for the benefit of all stakeholders. It's a heavy subject, but written in an engaging way".

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13 November 2013

Business needs to look outside itself

The Guardian

The sheer scale and complexity of a big business can engulf even the most independently minded of us. It's hard to escape the corporate bubble, which is why some companies are looking outside of their business models.

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8 November 2013

Huffington Post Books Review

Huffington Post Books

Everybody's Business shines a "penetrating light on the relationship between business and society, and makes a well researched argument that business can and should drive positive change in our world"

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8 November 2013

Progress Online Review

Progress Online Review

Good, thoughtful review of Everybody's Business on Progress Online from Karen Landles: "Change, disruption, is coming and we need to make it work for us"




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2 November 2013

Picked up by The Economist

The Economist

Great to see Everybody's Business used as a source in The Economist, in this interesting Schumpeter column on how business is working with NGOs.

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22 October 2013

Harnessing the power of business

The Big Issue

Most people don’t automatically think of soap as a life-saving product but it is. Every day, 4,000 children around the world die of diarrhoea - and half of these deaths could be prevented by the simple act of handwashing. We take this simple product for granted but when it first became widely available, soap was nothing less than a revolution.

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22 October 2013

How to fix the world

Huffington Post

Not many people who want to fix the world think of joining a large corporation. They might imagine volunteering in an orphanage in India, or teaching English in Africa; others might think of becoming a charity fundraiser or human rights campaigner. Some even daydream about getting into the thick of it and becoming a politician.

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21 October 2013

Business fights poverty blog post

Bisiness Fights Poverty

Writing Everybody’s Business took us on a two-year journey through the world of business. We met people in boardrooms and on the front-line of operations – in mines, factories and farms, in data centres and distribution hubs. We saw first-hand how big corporations are taking on some of today’s toughest challenges, mobilizing the vast resources, skills, capital, and expertise at their disposal. It’s a story of transformation and hope .

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15 October 2013

Launch party at Hatchards

Book signing

We had a great evening celebrating the launch of Everybody's Business last night, together with some of the heroes from the book. Of course, the real cause for celebration will be when the ideas in this book become mainstream in the business world – but in the meantime, it was lovely to mark the moment last night.


11 October 2013

Stephen Fry tweet

Stephen Fry

Really thrilled that Stephen Fry enjoyed the book – and delighted with his tweet:

"@stephenfry A fantastic read: Everybody's Business goes against the conventional unwisdom on big business. Very beguiling. ".

11 October 2013

RSA Lecture

RSA Logo

We really enjoyed giving our talk in the Great Hall of the RSA yesterday. It was chaired by Ian King, Business & City Editor of The Times – he had plenty of good questions for us, and began with a lovely comment: "There are an awful lot of books published every year about business and unfortunately most of them seem to cross my desk – but this really is a very interesting read indeed. What really brings it to life is the case studies. You can talk about theory all you like but it’s the case studies that really bring it to life – and this book is choc full of them".

Watch the video

03 October 2013

BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Drivetime Interview

BBC 2 Radio Logo

Our first foray into the national media with Everybody's Business - sandwiched between Leo Sayer and Metallica. The interview kicked off with a challenge: "There's a lot of scepticism about whether business can actually be a force for good, and I guess that's hardly surprising given all the recent examples we've had of tax avoidance and exploitation of workers, is it?" Great question – and in a sense, that’s why we wrote the book in the first place.

Listen to the interview