The Responsible Entrepreneur
“When I founded Joie De Vivre, I wanted to change an industry. You do that by connecting to the lives of people who buy from you. As Carol says in The Responsible Entrepreneur, start with something big enough to change the industry that transforms people’s lives. Her stories and guidance make responsibility come alive.
—Chip Conley, Author of NYT Best-Sellers Emotional Equations and Peak; Head of Global Hospitality, Airbnb; Founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality
Responsible entrepreneurs are a special breed, seeking to transform industries and even society itself. They challenge and refine cultural assumptions, laws, regulations, and event the processes of governance. This requires them to do and think far beyond what is usually required of business leaders.
The Responsible Entrepreneur offers a blueprint for this new kind of business leadership, describing the means by which any entrepreneur can pursue a higher order of work. In it, Carol Sanford, one of the most trusted names in responsible business development, brings her vast expertise in helping executives and corporations to the entrepreneur looking to launch and scale a venture. She maps this journeythrough four archetypes:
- The Realizing Entrepreneur: Industry Game-Changer
- The Reconnection Entrepreneur: Society Game-Changer
- The Reciprocity Entrepreneur: Culture Game-Changer
- The Regenerative Entrepreneur: Governance Game-Changer
By understanding the archetype most aligned with their goals, entrepreneurs will learn how to grow their business into a powerful platform that can leverage change, and even change the foundations that create our most pressing problems and issues. To illustrate these principles in action, The Responsible Entrepreneur features case studies based on long-term work and in-depth interviews with Google Innovation Labs, Indigenous Designs (the primary supplier for Eileen Fisher), FishPeople (who supply Costco and Google with gourmet seafood entrees), and many more.
For entrepreneurs seeking to pursue world-changing results, or impact investors looking to align their capital with their values, The Responsible Entrepreneur provides the frameworks to build a business and to evaluate and direct investments to create the greatest benefit for all stakeholders.
For anyone who wants to make a difference in the way businesses affect the world, The Responsible Entrepreneur lays out ways to make that aspiration focused and doable.
Praise for The Responsible Entrepreneur
“Businesses are arising all over the world that are designed as solutions to the biggest problems we face as human beings on this fragile planet in a time of great transition. Carol Sanford’s book looks deeply at these game-changing entrepreneurs and finds a pattern that I think makes sense that holds true to what I am seeing. She provides a systemic approach to intervention based on the concept of regeneration that I am finding useful as I examine the projects, partnerships and investments our businesses make to try to accelerate our ability to adapt to the great shift that is coming. It’s a book that’s worth spending time with, and reflecting on again and again. There is a secret inside.”
– Kevin Jones, Co-Founder of SoCap
“The Responsible Entrepreneur is packed with insight. Like Jane Jacobs, observations from real life about how successful businesses and organizations actually work; without the gloss, the hype, the baloney. Carol brings a much bigger picture to enterprise.
– Spencer B. Beebe, Chairman at Ecotrust, Co-Founder of Nature Conservatory, Founder of Conservation International
“If our society is to not only to survive but to flourish we will need a generation of entrepreneurs who are both fully aware of the fragility, complexity and interconnectedness of the world and committed to building outstandingly successful businesses. In this passionate and inspiring book Carol presents the stories of a wide range of entrepreneurs who are mastering this tension, and presents an actionable road map for everyone who is determined to follow in their footsteps.”
– Rebecca Henderson, John & Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard University, Co-Chair, Business & Environment Initiative, Harvard Business School
“This is a book for people who create enterprises that create great good work in the world. They are members of an elite corps of people that is emerging everywhere, but so far under recognized and under rewarded, even though some of its members are stars. Carol Sanford, an extremely experienced member of that movement, has written a book that puts its leading figures (Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Tesla founder Elon Musk, Seventh Generation founder Jeffrey Hollender, and more) in context, and helps you realize: You’re in it with them.
– Art Kleiner, Editor-in-Chief of Strategy+Business and Author of The Age of Heretics
“Graduate students in school today aspire to make big changes in the world. While they draw on wisdom of great leaders, they strongly prefer to create their own path forward. Sanford, in The Responsible Entrepreneur, speaks directly to the current generation. She gives lessons and inspiration on finding the uniqueness in themselves to play a large role in the world. This book contains powerful stories, half from female entrepreneurs, who have contributed to a better world- as well as stories of women of color. It is perfectly suited to the new generation entrepreneurs and the people who coach and teach them.
– Kellie A. McElhaney, Ph.D., Whitehead Faculty Fellow, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Author of Just Good Business
“The Responsible Entrepreneur has shifted the way I understand some of the most important entrepreneurs of the last 50 years, and in so doing, invited me into a re-imagining of my own future. By viewing leaders through archetypal lenses Carol provides helpful tools for categorization without limiting the unique strengths of any individual entrepreneur. This is not a book for the well intentioned, it’s a book for those who believe the problems we face demand better, more thoughtful, more scalable, and–ultimately–more human companies that create remarkable value for every stakeholder that their products and services come in contact with.
– Brian Howe, Founder/CEO, Impact Hub Seattle; Founder, Vox Legal; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, University of Washington
“Being an entrepreneur is a challenge in any field. Trying to change the world through your business is an even more demanding one. Put them together and you have a lifetime of learning and meaning, both of which are required for success in a highly complexifying world. Carol has given us an instruction manual that is clear and documented with case studies of people who have taken on the impossible and succeeded. You will be inspired, feel called to action and raise the level of contribution you see possible for you and your business. Operating a truly responsible business while creating a sustainable and flourishing economy is THE great work of our time.
– Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Professor, Sustainable Management at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Bard MBA
– Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director of Trust Across America and Trust Around the World
“While each of us aspires to make a dent, most of us work where dreams (and innovations) are crushed. But you can change all that. To not just build a better widget, or a better company, but to build a better world.”
“Nilofer Merchant, Best-selling Author of 11 Rules For Creating Value in the Social Era”
“In this era of growing disparity between the very rich and the rest of us, Sanford provides a visionary yet quite practical path for how four iconic kinds of responsible entrepreneurs can be the creators of opportunity, a rising tide to lift more boats. Her explicit call for transformation framework for our work inspires me to play a role in this much-needed change. Perhaps you, too, will be moved to participate and make your life’s work more meaningful.”
– Kare Anderson, Forbes columnist; Author, Moving From Me to We, Emmy Winner