Warren Valmanis and Michael O'Leary

Book cover image

Narrated By: Joe Knezevich

Duration: 9 hours and 5 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Capitalism is failing and the tools we are relying on to fix it - corporate social responsibility, divestment, impact investing, and government control - are only making things worse.

-Chevron boasts about the $50 million per year it spends on renewable energy whilst it spends 200 times that on oil exploration

-Goldman Sachs touts its 10,000 Women initiative but its board ranks 358th out of the Fortune 500 for gender diversity and women earn 55% less than men do on average

By focusing on corporations rather than people, we've put our faith in empty trends and brand-focused window-dressing. Why should those responsible for our current crisis be trusted to fix it?

In Accountable, authors Michael O'Leary and Warren Valdmanis offer a blueprint for everyone to take responsibility for using their economic power as consumers, as investors, as employees, and as voters to trigger a fundamental shift away from an economy that is unethical, unfair, and destructive to our environment and institutions. Their investigation cuts through the tired dogma of current economic thinking to reveal a hopeful truth: if we can make our corporations accountable to a deeper purpose, we can make capitalism both prosperous and good.

Trenchant and gripping, this is an indispensable guide and call to action for citizens to take control of our economic power and hold corporations to a higher standard.

© Michael O'Leary, Warren Valdmanis 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020


Business ethics & social responsibility, Popular economics, Political campaigning & advertising, Human rights, civil rights, Corporate crime / white-collar crime, Corporate finance, Corporate governance: role & responsibilities of boards & directors, Transformation law, change of corporate form, Capitalism, Fraud

Listen to a sample

For decades the dominant view has been that the purpose of companies is to make money for their shareholders. No more. Combining compelling examples and analytical insights, O'Leary and Valdmanis explain why the world is changing and provide a roadmap for how shareholders and citizens can and must transform the corporate landscape to save capitalism from itself

Oliver Hart, Harvard University, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2016

Unwilling to settle for easy answers or superficial changes, O'Leary and Valdmanis push us all to ask more of our economic system

United States Senator Michael F. Bennet

In today's reality, business represents a picture of dysfunctionality, of excesses benefitting the few, of gross injustice. Tomorrow's business leaders have an obligation to create a different reality reflecting our better hopes and inspirations. Accountable takes you on that journey. It's a wonderful trip

Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam

Presents a fresh, balanced, highly readable and deeply informed case for how the pursuit of sustained financial success and the exercise of social responsibility to employees, consumers and society not only can-but must-go hand in hand if we are to have the world we seek in the future. I learned a lot

John Pepper, former Chairman and CEO of P&G

The authors have been at the forefront of thinking on how markets and business can better serve society for many years. Accountable captures not only the history that underpins modern-day corporate purpose, but its present and future. The central message-that capitalism can and must be part of the solution to society's greatest challenges-has never been more important

Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital

Reminds us that today's short-termism is as dangerous for corporations as it is for the world and uses a combination of great stories and thoughtful analysis to suggest that we must find a way to change the purpose of our corporations if we are to build a society that works for all of us

Rebecca M. Henderson, John & Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University

Solving our biggest social and environmental problems means reshaping the role that businesses play in our society. This informative book addresses the challenges we face in achieving this crucial transformation

Sir Ronald Cohen, Chair GSG (Global Steering Group for Impact Investment)

More than ever before, this is the book our economy needs

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

Takes a fresh look at a fundamental question of capitalism-whose interests should corporations serve? Its call for collective action by consumers, workers, and investors to reorient corporate behavior may foretell the next decade

Jonathan Levin, Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business

If we want to save free market, enterprise economics and all the benefits it brings, we have to reform capitalism and the way corporations behave. The authors do a great job in explaining that this is not a wealth-bashing, negative agenda but a positive and exciting one. Business doing good is good business-and this book puts that beyond doubt

David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Striking in its clarity and insights borne from the authors' experience as investors on the frontlines of capitalism's excesses and potential. The case studies of some of the best-known companies and investors don't pull punches while offering tangible examples of the changes in culture and rules of the game required for a new type of capitalism

Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO and Co-Founder of the Leadership Now Project

A thoughtful, well researched and compelling way to rethink how to assure that prosperity and fairness are linked