Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society

Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society

Connect fundamentally redefines the role of business, combining captivating stories from inside today's boardrooms with absorbing history and original research.

PublicAffairs, 2016 | John Browne, Robin Nuttall, Tommy Stadlen

Drawing on the experience of John Browne, former CEO of BP, and the insight of two McKinsey experts, this book articulates and explores the recurring rift between big business and society, offering a practical manifesto for reconciliation.

The ability to connect with society is the new frontier of competitive advantage and profitability for those who are enlightened enough to go beyond philanthropy or 'Corporate Social Responsibility'. Breaking the centuries-old cycle of anti-business sentiment is possible, but it requires genuine leadership and a new way of thinking about commerce. The book identifies four tenets that companies can adopt to achieve connected leadership.

Connect features candid interviews with global leaders at the heart of this debate, from Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein to former UK prime minister Tony Blair and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society

About the authors

John Browne

John Browne (Lord Browne of Madingley) was CEO of BP from 1995-2007, transforming it into one of the world's largest companies. He was knighted in 1998, and made a life peer in 2001. He is Chairman of L1 Energy, Huawei UK, the Tate Galleries and Donmar Warehouse and has authored the memoir Beyond Business, popular science book Seven Elements that Have Changed the World and The Glass Closet, a commentary on the acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ people in business.

Robin Nutall

Robin Nuttall is a partner in McKinsey's London office. He co-leads the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Practice, serving regulators and regulated corporations on strategy and organisational issues across a range of sectors and territories.

Tommy Stadlen

Tommy Stadlen is a technology entrepreneur. He is a former McKinsey consultant with global experience advising companies and governments. He previously worked for President Obama and for former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. He is a frequent media commentator and speaker on technology and sustainability. Tommy graduated with First Class honours from Oxford, and holds an MSc (Distinction) from the London School of Economics. He is an advisor to NYU Stern Business School.


Arianna Huffington, Editor in chief, Huffington Post

"A bold and timely blueprint for the future."

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP

"A trail-blazing book of immediate value."

Tony Hall, Director-General, BBC

"It delivers huge insight into a vital topic that affects everyone."

David Yoffie, Professor, Harvard Business School

"A beautifully written tour de force, spanning ancient China to Silicon Valley. A must read."

Alan Rusbridger, Former Editor, the Guardian

"This compelling book redefines three discredited words: corporate social responsibility."

Alastair Campbell, Writer, Communicator and Strategist

"Connect offers a radical and different way of thinking about business."

Sir Howard Davies, Chairman RBS

"Browne aims to rehabilitate Corporate Social Responsibility, and move it from the periphery of a Board's agenda to the centre. Through a mixture of careful analysis and compelling anecdote, he succeeds where others have failed."

Peter T. Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg LP

"Connect provides a clear understanding of the value of connected leadership. This is beyond CSR or philanthropy. Companies must play a stronger role as global corporate citizens and do so authentically and with a sense of urgency."

John Hennessy, President, Stanford and Board Member, Google

"The mission statements of corporations often include shareholders, customers, and employees, but as Browne shows, a commitment to society at-large has been largely absent. Rather than transparency and engagement, businesses have become more closed and isolated. Connect shows why and how business must radically change to thrive in the 21st century."

Senator George J. Mitchell

"Every business leader can learn from Connect. John Browne skillfully draws on deep historical research, clear insight into the future, and his unique business experience to provide a path to business success in our turbulent times."

John Van Reenen, Professor LSE

"Big business is vilified, lauded and feared in equal measure. This stimulating book shows that this predicament is far from new. John Browne and colleagues analyse the challenges and offer some timely counselling to leaders who seek to establish some bond of trust and authenticity between the Boardroom and the Street."

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In the news

In 2015, Connect debuted at number 4 in the Sunday Times Bestseller list for UK nonfiction books. Publishing in the US in March 2016, significant media coverage includes: