Summary and book reviews of Business As Unusual by Anita Roddick

Business As Unusual

The Triumph of Anita Roddick

By Anita Roddick

Business As Unusual
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2001,
    287 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2002,
    287 pages.

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Book Summary

If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito. Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick has put her money not only where her mouth is, but where her heart is! By refusing to sell (or buy) products that exploit the world and its inhabitants, Roddick, the founder of the internationally respected and successful corporation, The Body Shop, has set a higher standard for business around the world to achieve.

Business As Unusual charts the meteoric rise of this outspoken and controversial entrepreneur, and the landmark success of her company, The Body Shop, through the last decade. The creator of the twentieth most recognized brand worldwide, Roddick shares her vision of how businesses can successfully evolve in the new millennium without losing sight of the big picture.

Ranging from personal issues such as making it as a woman and the tyranny of the beauty business globalization to wider political issues such as the everyday human rights abuses associated with globalization Business As Unusual offers a fresh plan for dealing with the demands of ethical business.

Roddick stresses that the power of public pressure to create change should never be underestimated. From the 1995 boycott of Shell to the battle of Seattle at the World Trade Center in 1999, Roddick argues that waves of public consciousness are steadily forcing corporations to re-evaluate their actions. By promoting the concept of philanthropic entrepreneurism and the language of business and business ethics, Business As Unusual turns the tables on the corporate world's business as usual, compelling it to transform into a force for positive change.

Chapter One
What's Business All About

Now there will be commentators and politicians by the truckload over the next week accusing us of wanting to turn the clock back. They will say we are parochial, inward looking and xenophobic.

Don't accept it.

The truth is that 'free trade' as its Victorian forefathers promoted it was about the freedom of communities to trade equally with each other. It was never intended to be what it is today. A licence for the big, the powerful and the rich, to ride roughshod over the small, the weak and the poor…
Notes for a speech at the Seattle teach-in, written on the flight from London, November 1999

Seattle Diary: Friday 26 November 1999.

I finish off the speech I'm giving at the Word Trade Organsiation (WTO) protest meeting on the British Airways flight from Heathrow to Seattle. A usually dull journey is invigorating because the flight is an extraordinary experience in itself: everyone is on...

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The media would have us believe that Roddick isn't quite as true to her beliefs as she states in her book, and that the Body Shop's business practices are not quite as squeaky clean as they might be. Whether this be so or not is not known to this reviewer, but what is certain is that Business as Unusual is an inspirational book, one part memoir and one part history of the Body Shop (the two being integrally linked) which illustrates how a business can be both profitable, moral and philanthropic. Roddick emphasizes the power of the individual to change politics and the direction of big corporations by becoming educated consumers.  

Media Reviews
Business Week

Few Entrepreneurs have tied their product to a social cause with better effect.

The Independent (London)

She bristles with ideas, outrage and anecdotes.

The Observer (London)

Most CEOs aren't fit to lick peppermint off Anita's feet.

Library Journal

This book will provoke a thoughtful response from students, teachers, and the business world.

Publisher's Weekly

Roddick can be hard to take when she soapboxes about the need for businesses to change the world. Her keenest insights are on how passion and opportunism can launch a business; she also has much of value to say about how she refashioned her business in order to survive.

INC. Magazine

This woman has changed business forever.


…at the bottom of Estee Lauder's jar is the world of eternal youth. At the bottom of Anita's jar is the world itself.

USA Today

The Body Shop isn't just a shop. It's an arena of education.

Reader Reviews
Prachi Priya

Business as Unusual is an inspiring book for any Tom, dick and harry . It is inspiring for budding entrepreneur, for women , for any business man.
What i lked most about the book was Anita's view on beauty redefined. Beauty is not just skindeep but ...   Read More

Anna Smith

I am a proud employee of The Body Shop. This book has been an inspirational and educational, but it also gives us encouragement to question and appreciate our world.

Kelly Munro

This book is amazing... Anita is amazing! She is so real. Entrepreneurs should learn from Anita.

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