A reading club with a view to the future

456 Alex Edmans: Grow the Pie

“Grow the Pie” argues that businesses should focus on creating long-term value for all stakeholders to drive sustainable success.



 In "Grow the Pie," Alex Edmans challenges the prevailing notion that businesses should prioritize short-term profits at the expense of stakeholders and societal well-being. Drawing on extensive research and real-world examples, Edmans makes a compelling case for a new approach—one that focuses on growing the pie, i.e., creating value for all stakeholders, including employees, customers, communities, and shareholders. The book offers a roadmap for businesses to pursue sustainable and responsible growth by aligning their long-term strategies with the interests of various stakeholders. Edmans provides practical insights and tools to help leaders navigate the complex landscape of stakeholder management, demonstrating that businesses that prioritize societal impact can achieve long-term success and enhance shareholder value in the process.


  1. Title: Grow the Pie 
  2. Author: Alex Edmans 
  3. Publishing Year: 2020 
  4. Publisher: Cambridge University Press 
  5. Length: 13 hours and 18 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Stakeholder Alignment: Edmans argues that businesses should aim to align the interests of all stakeholders, recognizing that their long-term success is interdependent and that creating value for one stakeholder need not come at the expense of others.
  2. Purposeful Leadership: The book emphasizes the importance of purpose-driven leadership, where leaders articulate a clear and inspiring purpose that serves as a guiding compass for the organization.
  3. Employee Engagement: Edmans highlights the role of employee engagement in driving long-term value creation, emphasizing the need for fair compensation, career development opportunities, and a positive work environment.
  4. Customer Focus: "Grow the Pie" advocates for businesses to prioritize customer satisfaction, understanding their needs and delivering products or services that create long-term value for customers.
  5. Responsible Capitalism: The book promotes a vision of capitalism that emphasizes responsibility, sustainability, and positive societal impact, encouraging businesses to go beyond financial metrics and consider broader environmental, social, and governance factors.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Growing the pie is like baking a delicious cake: it requires the right ingredients, a dash of creativity, and a sprinkle of joy."
  2. "A workplace filled with laughter and camaraderie is a sign that you're on the right track to growing the pie."
  3. "Building strong customer relationships is like baking cookies—every interaction leaves a sweet and memorable taste."
  4. "Leadership is a dance of inspiration, collaboration, and the occasional Macarena at the office party."
  5. "Remember, growing the pie isn't just about numbers—it's about savoring every bite of success and sharing it with others."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "A business that genuinely serves society is more likely to be rewarded with long-term success and profitability."
  2. "The size of the pie matters more than the size of your slice."
  3. "Long-term value creation requires thinking beyond the next quarter and embracing a broader perspective of success."
  4. "Stakeholder capitalism isn't a trade-off; it's a path to sustained profitability and societal well-being."
  5. "By investing in employees, you create a virtuous cycle of engagement, productivity, and customer satisfaction."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing short-term financial pressures with long-term stakeholder value creation.
  2. Addressing potential conflicts among different stakeholder interests and finding win-win solutions.
  3. Assessing the effectiveness of non-financial metrics and incorporating them into decision-making processes.
  4. Overcoming resistance and skepticism from shareholders and investors who prioritize short-term financial gains.
  5. Managing the transition from a shareholder-centric to a stakeholder-centric approach and navigating the cultural and structural changes required.

5 examples

  1. Unilever - a multinational consumer goods company known for its commitment to sustainable business practices and social impact initiatives.
  2. Patagonia - an outdoor clothing company that prioritizes environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
  3. Microsoft - a technology company that has embraced a stakeholder-focused approach, including initiatives to empower employees and support local communities.
  4. Interface - a global flooring manufacturer recognized for its commitment to sustainability and the circular economy.
  5. The Body Shop - a cosmetics and skincare company that emphasizes ethical sourcing, community trade, and activism for social causes.

Referenced books

  1. "Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business" by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
  2. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
  3. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman
  4. "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire" by Rebecca Henderson
  5. "Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy" by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake

Share a quote

"A workplace filled with laughter and camaraderie is a sign that you're on the right track to growing the pie."

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