A reading club with a view to the future

452 Rebecca Henderson: Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

“Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire” explores how businesses can address urgent global challenges while driving economic growth and fostering sustainability.



In "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire," Rebecca Henderson presents a compelling case for transforming capitalism to address the pressing environmental and social issues of our time. With a focus on business as a force for positive change, Henderson argues that market-driven solutions, when coupled with purpose-driven leadership, can drive economic prosperity while simultaneously addressing climate change, inequality, and other global challenges. Drawing on examples from diverse industries, she provides actionable insights and practical strategies for businesses to adopt a more sustainable and inclusive approach. The book ultimately offers a roadmap for creating a future in which capitalism serves both people and the planet.


  1. Title: Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire 
  2. Author: Rebecca Henderson 
  3. Publishing Year: 2020 
  4. Publisher: PublicAffairs 
  5. Length: 10 hours and 40 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Redefining the Purpose of Business: Henderson proposes redefining the purpose of business beyond solely maximizing shareholder value to include creating value for all stakeholders, including employees, communities, and the environment.
  2. The Power of Innovation: The book emphasizes the transformative role of innovation in addressing global challenges, highlighting how businesses can drive sustainability and create new market opportunities through technological advancements.
  3. Systems Thinking and Collaboration: Henderson explores the importance of systems thinking, acknowledging the interconnections between various societal and environmental issues, and advocating for cross-sector collaboration to create meaningful change.
  4. Corporate Governance and Accountability: The author discusses the need for corporate governance reforms that prioritize long-term sustainability, transparency, and accountability to stakeholders.
  5. Leadership for Change: "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire" emphasizes the critical role of purpose-driven leadership in driving the transformation of capitalism, inspiring organizational change, and aligning businesses with societal and environmental goals.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Imagine a world where business success is measured not just by financial metrics but also by the positive impact it creates - it's capitalism with a heart."
  2. "Sustainability is not just a buzzword; it's the secret ingredient for a brighter future and a thriving bottom line."
  3. "Let's reimagine capitalism as a dance, where businesses lead the way in creating harmony between profit and purpose."
  4. "In the grand symphony of capitalism, sustainability plays a beautiful melody that uplifts all stakeholders."
  5. "Businesses on a mission to save the world: coming soon to a marketplace near you!"

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Capitalism, when recalibrated and harnessed for good, can be a powerful tool in tackling the urgent challenges of our world."
  2. "The path to profitability is intertwined with the path to sustainability; it's time for businesses to embrace both."
  3. "The businesses that thrive in the future will be those that recognize the interconnectedness of their success with the well-being of society and the environment."
  4. "The transformation of capitalism requires not only changing structures but also shifting mindsets and values."
  5. "We have the power to shape a capitalism that is more inclusive, regenerative, and capable of fostering a thriving future for all."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing short-term profitability with long-term sustainability and societal well-being.
  2. Addressing the tension between shareholder interests and the broader concerns of stakeholders.
  3. Navigating the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental conservation.
  4. Deciding how to integrate sustainability practices into existing business models and supply chains.
  5. Managing the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive form of capitalism in the face of resistance and institutional barriers.

5 examples

  1. Patagonia - an outdoor clothing company known for its environmental activism, sustainable practices, and commitment to social responsibility.
  2. Interface - a global carpet tile manufacturer that has pioneered sustainable business practices, including a focus on circular economy principles and eliminating environmental impacts.
  3. Tesla - an electric vehicle and clean energy company driving the transition to sustainable transportation and renewable energy sources.
  4. Unilever - a multinational consumer goods company that has made sustainability a core part of its business strategy, incorporating social and environmental goals into its operations.
  5. B Corps (Benefit Corporations) - a certification for businesses that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Referenced books

  1. "The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties" by Paul Collier
  2. "Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist" by Kate Raworth
  3. "The Triple Bottom Line: How Today's Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social, and Environmental Success - and How You Can Too" by Andrew W. Savitz
  4. "Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow" by Tim Jackson
  5. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty

Share a quote

capitalism, sustainability, business, social impact, environmental impact, corporate governance, purpose-driven leadership, systems thinking, innovation, stakeholder capitalism,

Become a NextBook Insider

Join our community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.