Betterness

Over the Christmas break, I read Umair Haque‘s new book, Betterness. It’s one of the most clear articulations of the way I believe economics and all organisations should function that I’ve come across. Available only as an ebook, just 64 pages in length and at less than US$3, it’s a bargain available through Amazon and direct from HBR.

Not an anti-business screed, Haque is perfectly happy for us all to make money. But what else is there? Where is the real, tangible, actual good for humanity in the way we do things?

He proposes we take a eudaimonic approach to our businesses, seeking to add to a Common Wealth where our work produces the eponymous betterness in what we do. He articulates how this change can be wrought by arguing powerfully, with concrete examples of how businesses and organisations go “… from business to betterness means going from vision, mission, strategy, and objectives to ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives.”

He wants our organisations to evolve such that “… the organizational mind make[s] an evolutionary leap: ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives supplant vision, mission, strategy, and objectives as the cognitive building blocks that judge, weigh, and guide human effort.”

Betterness and Haque’s vision of changed business have made me sit down and articulate how acidlabs will behave in a world where we conduct “betterness” instead. So too, I will evaluate who I do business with based on their (intentional or otherwise) moves to betterness.

The video below shows an interview between Umair Haque and Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC. It’s worth watching.

How are you doing “betterness”?

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