A thorough, incisive account of the changing moral landscape of business.



A chief executive reconsiders the relationship between a corporation’s success and its commitment to social responsibility. 

According to debut author Valenzuela, the business world has been changed by a trio of historical forces: globalization, the digital revolution, and a newfound emphasis on sustainability. These shifts have produced a “New Normal,” an age in which technological innovation demands a strategic accommodation of the extraordinary transparency delivered by a new online community of “collaborative consumers.” This “environment of intense scrutiny,” Valenzuela compellingly argues, demands a radical reassessment of the ways in which companies articulate their responsibilities to stakeholders and their places within society as a whole. The author provides a detailed history, including concrete case studies, of the ways in which companies have accomplished this—some have simply organized themselves around the priority of profit (Apple), tried to combine a commitment to profit and a societal obligation (Unilever), or made their principal mission the satisfaction of some greater good (Patagonia). Valenzuela ultimately proposes a new model that envisions a company’s societal mission deeply embedded within every province of the organization, a pervasive diffusion of its core values. To that end, he recommends the creation of a new position, a connecting leader, a “Society Proxy,” who manages the social contract that delineates a company’s duties not just to consumers, but also to the greater world it inhabits. The author is a visiting professor at the Cass Business School and the founder and chief executive of his own company, and his knowledge of the subject matter is unimpeachable. He thoughtfully and persuasively argues that the old social contract that once defined a business’s sense of its moral obligations is now obsolete, and a new covenant has replaced it. In addition, he writes in accessible prose, largely unencumbered by the turbid MBA-ese that contaminates so many business books. Valenzuela’s discussion of “authenticity,” though, is a touch anodyne—it seems to simply mean an earnest versus purely strategic devotion to a corporation’s societal obligations. It’s unclear how this translates into counsel since sincerity is not so easily willed. 

A thorough, incisive account of the changing moral landscape of business. 

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5445-1250-1

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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