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Good business:your world needs you

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While working on an antiracism campaign for Saatchi & Saatchi in 1994, Steve Hilton and Giles Gibbons had an epiphany: corporations could use their clout to change the world, as well as to sell their products or services. Good Business, named after the London-based consultancy they founded to help companies do just that, presents a forceful argument for incorporating such thinking into a contemporary corporate battle plan. But this is no ranting manifesto. Rather, the authors truly celebrate capitalism and the way it could turn this concept into a positive factor for both individual companies and the world at large. (For example, they suggest that the youth-oriented Adidas athletic shoe company could convey antismoking messages to its young audience that ultimately might help curb the habit in addition to making parents feel more favorable toward the brand.) After explaining their heretical view of the positive place that even giant multinationals can occupy, Hilton and Gibbons address the social responsibility movement now attracting many businesses and the leadership role accepted by a select few. The book's longest section then analyzes how any firm can utilize its key strengths--including brand, operations, presence, and fiscal resources--to succeed commercially and socially. Some North American readers may have difficulty identifying with the litany of European business examples drawn largely from the authors' own work, but their points still cross the Atlantic relatively unscathed and should serve as an excellent foundation for further discussion and eventual action. --Howard Rothman

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