Book Review: The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today’s Profits with Tomorrow’s Bottom Line

The Breakthrough Challenge Book

The Breakthrough Challenge by John Elkington & Jochen Zeitz

Last summer, John Elkington and Jochen Zeitz published a great read titled, “The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today’s Profits with Tomorrow’s Bottom Line.”

It effectively and effortlessly inspires, motivates and captivates readers–showcasing the importance of our new era of corporate good.

With the foreward written by none other than Sir Richard Branson himself, the book starts off with a fury of passion, excitement and energy.

This sense of enthusiasm carries on throughout each chapter of the book until the very last page.

Though at times it feels as though this book was written as an introductory tool for those less seasoned in the field of corporate good, it does provide a wealth of new ideas and solutions that anyone would find useful.

Below I’ve listed some of those takeaways:

  • We’re introduced to the work of The B Team, a group of influential business leaders who have formed a global nonprofit organization to promote social, environmental and economic impact. This introduction is particularly useful if you’re looking to influence and incentivize your company’s c-suite.
  • It’s no longer a world of corporate social responsibility, but rather, a world of corporate social reinvention. Words matter and if we want to revolutionize the way we do business, the terms and phrases we use also need to evolve. This is a recurring theme throughout the entire book, showcasing our need to enter a new era of understanding.
  • The world can no longer rely on traditional change agents, such as nonprofits and governmental bodies, alone. Business must become (part of) the solution. The book argues that this means working through discomfort and pushing boundaries. More specifically, the authors argue that the world of business must move away from short termism and quarterly earnings obsession, and should instead, move towards long-term sustainability, growth and accountability. To Zeitz and Elkington, this means focusing on what they refer to as the true costs of business, which can be determined by looking at the “full range of impacts.”
  • In addition to these large ideas, the authors also tackle topics relating to the practice of sustainable merchandising, integrated biomimicry and the growing realization that we must redefine how c-suite executives and business school students get educated.

The Breakthrough Challenge

In sum, The Breakthrough Challenge does exactly what it promises its readers: it presents a challenge for business leaders to break tradition and work against the grain towards a more sustainable and happy world.

Have you read The Breakthrough Challenge? What were your main takeaways? Feel free to share your thoughts about the book in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to follow the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist!

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