Building Social Business Book Summary - Building Social Business Book explained in key points
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Building Social Business summary

Muhammad Yunus

The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

4 (41 ratings)
11 mins

Brief summary

Building Social Business by Muhammad Yunus is a guide to creating non-loss, non-dividend businesses that address social problems. Yunus provides case studies and practical advice for building businesses that prioritize social impact over profit.

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    Building Social Business
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    There’s a different way to do business that’s about solving society’s problems rather than getting rich.

    You’ve likely already heard of the term “social business”, but what does it really mean?

    Fundamentally, a social business isn’t based solely on its bottom line. Most businesses, private ones in particular, are all about maximizing profit; on the other side of the coin are nonprofits that rely primarily on philanthropic donations. But a social business is distinct from both.

    The primary aim of a social business is to solve social, economic or environmental problems. To accomplish this goal, such businesses employ regular business methods like the production and sale of a product or service that makes the venture self-sustaining.

    For instance, Grameen Danone makes and sells affordable yogurt products loaded with micronutrients, and their overriding goal is to combat malnutrition among children in Bangladesh.

    But it’s not quite that simple. In fact, there are two forms of social business: Type I and Type II. A Type I social business produces profits but does not dispense dividends – that is, they don’t regularly pay out a percentage of their profits to the company’s owners.

    So, while Type I social businesses are still owned by investors, all the profits are reinvested in the company, resulting in neither a gain nor a loss for the investors. Grameen Danone is an example of one such Type I social business, as they operate without dividends.

    On the other hand, a Type II social business operates like a typical for-profit company. However, unlike a Type I social business, it is owned by poor people rather than wealthy investors. As a result, the profits of the business go directly to low-income people and, therefore, serve a social function – namely the alleviation of poverty.

    For example, the Grameen Bank is a Type II social business. It’s owned by the poor of Bangladesh and provides loans to low-income citizens.

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    What is Building Social Business about?

    Building Social Business (2010) is a guide to social businesses, that is, companies that do good. These blinks explain everything you need to know about what social businesses are, how they work and what you need to start your own – and start changing the world for the better.

    Building Social Business Review

    Building Social Business (2010) by Muhammad Yunus is a thought-provoking book that explores how businesses can be used to tackle social issues. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insightful examples of successful social businesses, inspiring readers to think beyond profit and make a positive impact on society.
    • The book outlines a step-by-step approach to creating social businesses, equipping readers with practical strategies to implement their own ideas.
    • With its convincing arguments and well-researched case studies, the book challenges conventional business practices and offers a hopeful vision for the future.

    Who should read Building Social Business?

    • Owners of for-profit companies interested in making a positive social impact through their business
    • Students of social sciences and business administration
    • Politicians and civil servants looking for ways to make the world a better place

    About the Author

    Muhammad Yunus was born and educated in Bangladesh before becoming a professor of economics at Chittagong University. He is the founder and director of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

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    Building Social Business FAQs 

    What is the main message of Building Social Business?

    Building Social Business is about using business as a force for positive social change.

    How long does it take to read Building Social Business?

    Reading time for Building Social Business varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary takes just 15 minutes.

    Is Building Social Business a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Building Social Business is a must-read for those passionate about blending business and social impact.

    Who is the author of Building Social Business?

    Building Social Business is authored by Muhammad Yunus.

    What to read after Building Social Business?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Building Social Business, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Slow Productivity by Cal Newport
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • Write Your Business Plan by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media
    • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
    • Human + Machine by Paul R. Daugherty & H. James Wilson
    • Good for Business by Andrew Benett et al.