Books

The Ethical Capitalist: How to Make Business Work Better for Society

Julian Richer

*A Financial Times Book of the Month*

‘The founder of Richer Sounds is one of the finest entrepreneurs we have.’ Archie Norman, chairman of Marks & Spencer

Capitalism has lost its way. Every week brings fresh news stories about businesses exploiting their staff, avoiding their taxes, and ripping off their customers. Every week, public anger at the system grows. Now, one of Britain’s foremost entrepreneurs intervenes to make the case for putting business back firmly in the service of society, and setting out on a new path to a kinder, fairer form of capitalism.

Drawing on four decades of hands-on management experience, the founder of Richer Sounds argues that ethically run businesses are invariably more efficient, more motivated and more innovative than those that care only about the bottom line. He uncovers the simple tools that the best leaders use to make their businesses fair, revealing how others can follow suit. And he also delves into the big questions that modern capitalism has to answer if it is to survive and to thrive. When should – and shouldn’t – the state intervene in the workings of commercial enterprises? What does business as a whole owe back to the wider community? Is the relationship between leaders of big corporations and politicians too cosy, and, if so, what is to be done about it?

At heart, The Ethical Capitalist is a plea for a new sense of moral purpose in business. If that takes hold, Julian Richer believes, we might just save capitalism from itself.

The Richer Way

Julian Richer

In 1978 Julian Richer, then aged just nineteen, opened his first shop near London Bridge. For over twenty years this shop has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the highest sales per square foot of any retail outlet in the world, and the company as a whole, with its fifty-three stores nationwide and huge online presence, has become Britain’s favourite retailer of TV and hi-fi equipment. What lies behind this extraordinary success?

For Julian, the answer is simple: throughout his career he has focussed relentlessly on putting people – both staff and customers – right at the centre of his business. And in The Richer Way, he offers a supremely practical guide to how others can follow suit. He explains how to motivate employees and measure their progress. He establishes how to balance company discipline with individual autonomy. He explores what ‘customer service’ should really involve. Above all, he points the way to creating an open, friendly and flexible culture that will not only attract the best people but also offer the greatest chance of business success.

Packed with straightforward, common-sense advice, The Richer Way will prove essential reading for all organisations, whatever their nature and size.

Biography

Julian Richer established Richer Sounds in 1978. His business now turns over in excess of £200 million a year, and Richer Sounds has won the prestigious Which? Best Retailer award (2010, 2011 and 2015). In 2011 Richer Sounds was granted a Royal Warrant by HRH The Prince of Wales for the supply of consumer electronic products to the Royal Household. The first shop to be opened, near London Bridge, has for over 20 years been listed in Guinness World Records as achieving the highest sales per square foot of any retail outlet in the world. Fifteen per cent of the company’s profits are donated to charitable causes (over 400 of them in 2017). In addition to his commercial activities, Julian Richer is the founder and a trustee of Acts 435, set up to help those in need, and in 2013 he established ASB Help, which works with victims of anti-social behaviour. He lives in Yorkshire.