My book, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit, was published in 2020 (order link). I wrote the book out of concern for the increasing polarisation between business and society. Some businesses see exploiting society as the best route to increasing profits – but equally, some reformers see businesses as the enemy and attempt to straitjacket them through regulation.
This polarisation is an example of the pie-splitting mentality. Under this view, the value generated by capitalism is a fixed pie. Any slice given to stakeholders is at the expense of profits; any profits are viewed as extracting from society.
This book is about the pie-growing mentality. The pie is not fixed. By investing in stakeholders, a company doesn’t sacrifice investors’ slice – it grows the pie, ultimately benefiting investors. It may improve working conditions out of concern for its employees, and these employees become more motivated and productive. It may develop a drug to solve a public health crisis, without considering whether those affected are able to pay for it, yet end up successfully commercialising it. It may reduce its emissions even absent government regulation, yet benefit because customers, employees, and investors are attracted to a firm with such values.
So in the face of the conflict between business and society, this is a fundamentally optimistic book. Yet this optimism is not based on blind hope, but on rigorous evidence, real-life examples spanning industries and countries, and an actionable framework to turn it into reality.
The website gives a synopsis, chapter outline, reviews, interviews, and teaching slides. It also contains a blog on recent developments since finishing the book.
The book was named to the Financial Times Business Books of the Year, 2020 and won the FT/ISFFC Award for Excellence in Sustainable Finance Education, 2021.
- Citation: Edmans, Alex (2020): Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK)
- A thoroughly updated paperback version was published in November 2021. A summary of the changes is here.
- A short summary is in Edmans, Alex (2020): “Company Purpose and Profit Need Not be in Conflict if We ‘Grow the Pie’” Economic Affairs 40(2), 287-294, June 2020.
- A review by Christina Skinner (Wharton) is in “Cancelling Capitalism?” Notre Dame Law Review 97(1), 417-440, December 2021.
- A review by Hamid Boustanifar (EDHEC) is in “An Alternative to Shareholder Capitalism?” Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting, 34(2), 378-383, June 2023.
- The following translations have been published:
- Arabic: كبر الكعكة: كيف تقدم الشركات العظيمة قيمة وربحًا
- Chinese: “蛋糕经济学：如何实现企业商业价值和社会责任的双赢”
- French: “Grow the Pie: Comment les Entreprises Peuvent Fair des Bénéfices et Servir le Bien Commun”
- Japanese: “GROW THE PIE パーパスと利益の二項対立を超えて、持続可能な経済を実現する”
- Korean: “ESG 파이코노믹스”, available .
- Turkish: “Pastayı Büyüt: Büyük Şirketler Nasıl Hem Değer Yaratır Hem De Kâr Ederler”
- Italian, Portuguese, and Russian translations are in progress.