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Business as Unusual

Roddick, Anita

212 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0722539878 / ISBN 13: 9780722539873
Published by Thorsons [an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers], London, 2000
Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

xi, 287, [1] p. Illustrations. Index. "Business as Usual" charts the progress of Roddick and her company, The Body Shop, through the last decade and shares her vision of how business can successfully evolve in a new millennium filled with vigilante consumerism. Ranging from personal issues--such as making it as a woman and the tyranny of the beauty business--to wider political issues, Roddick believes we should never underestimate the power of public pressure to create change. 50 two-color metallic integrated halftones. More than just an autobiography or a book about business, the author also addresses personal issues-such as self-esteem-and wider political issues like the human rights' abuses associated with globalization. While offering her own vision for dealing with the demands of ethical business, Roddick also looks at the way public consiousness is now steadily forcing corporations to re-evaluate their actions. Proceeds from this book are going towards supporting visionaries, grassroots groups, and non-governmental organizations who are debunking myths created by the World Trade Organization. This book is printed on recycled paper. Very good in good dust jacket. Signed by author. DJ has tear at top of front flap fold. Bookseller Inventory # 58654

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Business as Unusual

Publisher: Thorsons [an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers], London

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Reprint. Second printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

Business as Unusual charts the progress of Roddick and her company The Body Shop through the last decade.

Review:

Flaunting a title like Business as Unusual, Anita Roddick's company biography is anything but your run-of-the-mill book on how to create, nurture, and run a successful company. While it does give a firsthand account of the birth of The Body Shop and Roddick's own particular leadership style of creative (and sometimes chaotic) passion, it doubles as a clarion call for business to tackle the big issues of life alongside the pursuit of profits, with heart, soul and conscience.

Roddick grew up in a large Italian immigrant family in small town in blue-collar England, where she was instilled with an intense work ethic and an irreverent, entrepreneurial spirit. Though she admits to having opened her first Body Shop as a way to make ends meet, Roddick developed the company around her zealous belief that, since there is "no more powerful institution in society than business ... it is more important than ever before for business to assume a moral leadership in society." Her concern for protecting the environment and indigenous people's cultures, and of seeing all of life as interconnected, have directed the growth of the company and inspired much of this book. Her account moves from an initial description of what she sees as the problem with "business as usual," through a history of The Body Shop as illustrating her philosophies on fostering passionate activism, building community, making it as a woman, and succeeding in business. Though Roddick's tone occasionally lapses into what might be interpreted as a rather self-righteous one (particularly in her references to most of the company's competition as merely "imitation"), it is driven by a feisty belief in her ideals. The chapter that describes The Body Shop launch into the U.S. market and its subsequent problems with intense competition is not exactly an American love-fest, but for those readers on this side of the Atlantic who don't take themselves too seriously, it's an informative and often amusing take on the trials of cross-cultural marketing. While praise of The Body Shop's good deeds to date is woven into much of what she discusses, Roddick is not afraid of being honest. Indeed, she presents some of the company's less flattering underbelly, such as a failed experiment in trading directly with an indigenous tribe and the unsuccessful "reorganization" of the company by an unresearched external consultant, which is far more daring than most business leaders are in discussing their corporate offspring. The book would have benefited from a more detailed and less defensive presentation of the media storm that surrounded the company from 1992 to 1994 (which comes dangerously close to being a diatribe), but Roddick's conversational writing style--extremely effective in relaying fervent dedication--doesn't leave room for a lot of legal analysis.

This is an entertaining read with a serious message, a lilting and somewhat whimsical manifesto. Not merely the story of one woman's pursuit of business success and the history and philosophy of The Body Shop, it is an invigorating guidebook for anyone eager to marry an entrepreneurial, principled spirit with a keen sense of social justice. --S. Ketchum

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Founded and operated by trained historians, Ground Zero Books, Ltd., serves the book collector, the scholar, and institutions. We focus on the individual, and pride ourselves on our personal service. Please contact us with your wants, as we have many books not yet listed in our database.

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