The Six New Rules of Business

Creating Real Value in a Changing World

Judy Samuelson

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, January 2021

The rules of business are changing dramatically. The Aspen Institute’s Judy Samuelson describes the profound shifts in attitudes and mindsets that are redefining our notions of what constitutes business success.

Dynamic forces are conspiring to clarify the new rules of real value creation–and to put the old rules to rest. Internet-powered transparency, more powerful worker voice, the decline in importance of capital, and the complexity of global supply chains in the face of planetary limits all define the new landscape. As executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Judy Samuelson has a unique vantage point from which to engage business decision makers and identify the forces that are moving the needle in both boardrooms and business classrooms.

Samuelson lays out how hard-to-measure intangibles like reputation, trust, and loyalty are imposing new ways to assess risk and opportunity in investment and asset management. She argues that “maximizing shareholder value” has never been the sole objective of effective businesses while observing that shareholder theory and the practices that keep it in place continue to lose power in both business and the public square. In our globalized era, she demonstrates how expectations of corporations are set far beyond the company gates–and why employees are both the best allies of the business and the new accountability mechanism, more so than consumers or investors.

Samuelson’s new rules offer a powerful guide to how businesses are changing today–and what is needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economic and social landscape.

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About the Author

Judith Samuelson is a vice president at the Aspen Institute.  As founder and executive director of the Aspen Business and Society Program, she has been at the forefront of fresh thinking about the purpose and impact of business for two decades.  Samuelson and her colleagues deploy dialogue, leadership programs, business networks, and media—to build the courage and conviction of business executives to place long-term, public interests at the heart of business decisions.