The Talk, Fight, Win Way to Change the World
From his humble beginnings selling soap in a sales training program to his rapid rise in the fast-paced New York advertising scene, Bill Novelli was well on his way to becoming a leader in the hypercompetitive business world. But it wasn't long before he became disillusioned with the drive for profits at any cost. He knew that his marketing skills made those companies successful, but what good did that success do for the world? That question sent him on a career path that involved taking the marketing and communication tactics long used by big businesses and applying them to social change. He found that this strategy was not only good for the world but also good for business.
In Good Business, Novelli begins with his early career success in Mad Men–era marketing, which left him feeling unfulfilled. He describes the process of changing career trajectory: how he helped reposition the Peace Corps; built Porter Novelli, a global PR agency for social impact; fought the Tobacco Wars; and became CEO of AARP, the largest nonprofit in America. Drawing practical lessons and principles from play-by-play stories of his experiences in large and small organizations, Novelli deploys his characteristic wit to stress the importance of building and maintaining connections with people—and engaging them in the cause.
Good Business, which is part behind-the-scenes look at crafting social and health policy, part inspirational guide, proves that you can do well (creating economic and financial success for yourself and your company or organization) by doing good (helping to solve the world's and society's major problems). Throughout the book, Novelli shows that you can make a positive social difference regardless of what business you are in or where you are in your career. Readers will come away with the message that anyone who wants to have a positive impact on the world can do it right now from where they are—or can be inspired by Novelli's story to make the leap to somewhere they can.
About the Authors
Bill Novelli is a Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, where he started and oversees the Business for Impact center, and is the cofounder of Porter Novelli, one of the first social marketing companies, and now a global PR agency. Formerly, he was the CEO of AARP, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the COO of CARE USA. He is the coauthor of Fifty Plus: Give Meaning and Purpose to the Best Time of Your Life, Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order, and editor of A Roadmap for Success: Transforming Advanced Illness Care in America.
"Through great real-life stories, this book makes a profound statement—that all organizations in America and the world need to take their mission to a higher level to meet the new will of the world's workplace. You are the one he is talking to. If you don't lead the charge to change the soul of organizations, no one else will."
"Bill Novelli's long and distinguished career is fertile ground for many fascinating and insightful anecdotes and examples that illustrate the case he sets out for 'doing well by doing good.' This book is a crossover between an autobiography and a humanistic manifesto for modern management and marketing processes. Good Business makes a significant contribution to our understanding of marketing's development and its contribution to shifts toward a more purpose-driven approach to business."
"A fountainhead of insight about ways to transform our world, penned by a person who—from CARE and AARP to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and beyond—has done just that."
"No one matches Bill Novelli's experience, insight, and know-how when it comes to the intersection of business, government, and civil society sectors. Any advice or wisdom he offers on the unique challenges of the twenty-first century will capture the ears of our nation's most influential leaders as they grapple with the aftermath of COVID-19, demographic shifts, globalization, and technological transformation. Where some see barriers and obstacles, Bill Novelli orchestrates solutions."
"Bill Novelli discovered his purpose early in his career: to make significant contributions to solving the world's major social problems. And the pursuit of this purpose has guided his career, and his life, ever since. In this book, Bill shares his extraordinary journey to show us how we can use our own gifts, passions, and values in our work to find meaning and fulfillment while attacking the world's major social problems; in other words, how to do well by doing good."
"Figuring out how to do well by doing good—and really do it—remains a stumbling block for most companies. Good Business shows how Bill Novelli managed to do that in his extraordinary career."
"There came a time in the tobacco wars when the industry, the government, and the public health community needed to find a way out of the bitter confrontation. That is what Bill Novelli's book is about: fighting smartly and talking thoughtfully to find the best way forward."
"Bill Novelli would be my first choice in selecting a person to give a graduation address. I know that members of the graduating class will leave inspired and with purpose. Bill's amazing career and ideas have impressed all of us social marketers who care about making the world and life better for more people. I warn you, read Bill's new book and you will be changed and repurposed."
"Good Business perfectly captures a lifetime of Bill's learnings and successful strategies for not only running a financially successful business, but going well beyond that by creating value for all stakeholders. A critical starting point in Bill's philosophy is the need for leaders and organizations to be guided by purpose and values. This is especially important considering the next generation of the workforce places high on its list the desire to do business with, and work for, companies with a clear purpose and strong value system. Bill has compiled a compelling and practical guide that's a must-read for anyone interested in improving leadership and business performance by way of serving and creating value for others."
"A mission to fulfill a purpose and do good should be every organization's mantra and not reserved only for nonprofits, charities, and advocacy groups. Bill Novelli makes the important point that the potential to improve the human condition can and should be found in any business or career path. Public-private partnerships and multi-sectoral collaboration are essential to achieve equitable health and well-being in a future shaped by rapid advances in science and technology and threats such as pandemics and climate change."
"Reducing worldwide poverty increasingly demands new forms of partnership, with business, civil society, and government all playing key roles. This book, with Bill Novelli as a superb guide, shows how important it is to work together in new ways to solve the tough problems before us."
"Bill Novelli makes a strong case for the notion that businesses can be a powerful force for good. Professor Novelli's leadership and insights are invaluable at a time when students are, more than ever, demanding that companies deliver on both paycheck and mission. He convincingly argues that there is no reason to compromise on either."
"Good Business will inspire executives at all levels to extend their social justice conscience and to become more effective managers. Bill Novelli's success in many positions proves that the same management principles apply in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors of a competitive economy."
"In Good Business, Bill Novelli makes a compelling argument that bridging partisan divides and rebuilding confidence in our democracy starts with pragmatic, purpose-driven leadership."
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