Baue, William. 2004. “Book Review—The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits
,” on www.socialfunds.com
. Accessed on 4/06/2008 http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/1571.html
Summary: The reviewer identifies that C. K. Prahalad seeks to solve global poverty by turning
the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid from victims of globalization into its beneficiaries
through consumerism.Baue also notes, however, that MNCs have a much longer history
of externalizing environmental problems than solving them, thus he claims Prahalad
“may be falling prey to wishful thinking”. He clarifies that he does not believe Prahalad's
BOP theories should be abandoned due to environmental considerations, but that “for
BOP theories to be truly sustainable, they must devote more fully-developed solutions
to the attendant environmental problems they create.”
Carden, A. 2008. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits by C. K. Prahalad, in Economic Affairs-HARLOW THEN LONDON-. 28 (4), 89-91.
Summary: Carden’s review of Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of The Pyramid is a straightforward summary of the book’s arguments and case study points. The reviewer’s
overall take-away is that “local knowledge matters, and the ability to exploit this
local knowledgeis fundamental to profitability in theworld’s poorest countries. WhereWal-Mart
and Sears have failed, localfirms can make headway and introducethe world’s poor to
credit and capitalmarkets. Prahalad’s contribution is anappropriate introduction to
theeconomics of the twenty-first-centuryglobal economy.”
Summary: Review in presentation format for Oxfam GB which is an organization aiming to alleviate
poverty and suffering through development, humanitarian response, campaigning and
communicating. The presentation includes and overview of Prahalad’s points and strategies
and looks at both the possibilities and dangers of these perspectives. Their main
concerns include creating non-existent needs, corporate entities taking advantage
of BOP customer’s vulnerability, and the inability for strategies based on the business
need to find new markets to serve as a development tool. The reviewer identifies the
need to have a better understanding of the context and full impact of companies beyond
just direct business.
Abstract: C.K. Prahalad, author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, was on the University of Illinois campus April 21, 2006 to deliver The Alan M. Hallene
Lecture. The lecture, elucidating some of the book’s major points, was organized by
The Hoeft Technology & Management Program. Prahalad enjoyed a full house for the lecture,
largely of enthusiastic supporters, and took questions in the limited time following
his presentation. In order to continue that conversation with a larger audience and
at more length, the editor invited the two authors to respond in a point/ counterpoint
fashion to Prahalad’s ideas.
Summary: Standard review of Fortune At The Bottom of the Pyramid. Excerpt: Prahalad “is a fierce critic of traditional top-down thinking on aid, by
governments and non-governmental organisations alike. They tend to see the poor as
victims to be helped, he says, not as people who can be part of the solution—and so
their help often creates dependency. Nor does he pin much hope on the "corporate social
responsibility" (CSR) programmes of many large companies. If you want serious commitment
from a firm, he says, its involvement with the poor "can't be based on philanthropy
or CSR". The involvement of big business is crucial to eradicating poverty, he believes,
but BOP markets must "become integral to the success of the firm in order to command
senior management attention and sustained resource allocation."
Summary: Hazelhurst writes a straightforward review of Prahalad’s strategies. Excerpt: “Businesses
that can make badly needed goods and services accessible, at affordable prices, will
significantly improve their quality of life. This idea simultaneously opens up new
frontiers for businesses, currently operating in saturated, more affluent markets,
and makes poverty relief more sustainable than when it depends solely on donor aid.
The idea doesn't always go down well. It jars among business decision makers who can't
see around corners, as it does with those who believe any undertaking that turns a
profit is inherently evil. But Prahalad has made a fortune telling managers they need
to ‘shake free of their dominant logic’. And he is making inroads into accepted wisdom
about poverty relief.”
Abstract: Prahalad argues that multinational companies not only can make money selling to the
world’s poorest, but also that they must undertake such efforts as a way to close the growing gap between rich and poor countries.
A central point in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid is that the effort to help the poorest people can be successful across different
countries and different industries ranging from health care and finance to fast-moving
consumer goods and energy. The exceptions, Prahalad notes, are countries that are
essentially lawless, like Somalia and the Congo, and industries that are among the
most basic, particularly some of the purely extractive industries that employ many
people but have little incentive or ability to empower them. Otherwise, Prahalad says,
his approach “can work 90% of the time.”
MacNealy, Jeremy. 2007. “Foolish Book Review: ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’”,
. Accessed on 4/06/2008 http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2007/04/19/foolish-book-review-the-fortune-at-the-bottom-of-t.aspx
MacNealy makes a straight-forward and brief summary review of the book. Excerpt:
“Is it conceivable for Wal-Mart
), with its immense scale and distribution know-how, to use its strengths to serve
BOP markets profitably? Can continued innovations and affordability in renewable energy
sources and cellular phones bring both electricity and communication to a populace
where these basics of modern life are sorely lacking? Prahalad believes so. The Fortune At the Bottom of the Pyramid
shows how private enterprise can empower the poor; it is a blueprint for eradicating
poverty through profits.”
Management Today. 2004. Review of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C.K.
Prahalad, in Management Today. Accessed 4/9/2009 http://www.whartonsp.com/promotions/promotion.asp?promo=1552
Summary: Standard book review. Excerpts: “The simple yet immensely powerful insight at the
heart of C.K. Prahalad's new book is just this: the rich world has turned its back
on the poor, and both are losing out as a result. “While large firms and multinational
corporations have exploited the poor in some cases, the greatest harm they have done
to the poor is to ignore them," Prahalad states in his opening chapter. The tough
physical and environmental conditions in BOP markets will also encourage business
to find more sustainable ways of pursuing profits. The wasteful first world does not
require as imaginative an approach as the resource-starved developing world. But meeting
this BOP challenge can only be good for multinationals in their drive for greater
Srinivasan, S. K. 2005. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits by C. K. Prahalad, in VIKALPA. 30 (2), 149-153.
Summary: Standard book review of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, by C. K. Prahalad. Excerpt: “This book is not only an attempt to rethink the idea
of marketing to a hitherto neglected segment but a redefinition of the very idea of
a market. It argues that we finally have the wherewithal to move beyond the constraints
of the Pareto principle (which would argue that if 80% of value can be extracted from
20% of the customers, then the rest do not really matter from a purely marketing point
of view). This book, however, is about the possibilities of marketing to the bottom
80 percent—an idea that has little cachet in traditional economic theory, but one
made possible if large-scale innovation and entrepreneurship become the new coordinates
of economic activity. This is not an attempt to search for a new market segment but
an ethical call to think beyond the given assumptions of segmentation in marketing
Walsh, J. P., Kress, J. C., & Beyerchen, K.W. 2005. C. K. Prahalad: The Fortune at
the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits. Administrative Science Quarterly. 50 (3), 473-482.
Summary: This book review of Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid introduces Prahalad’s primary ideas and emphasizes the wide-acclaim garnered by his
scholarship as well as the provocative nature of the questions he raises. He calls
upon corporations to extend their philosophies of money-making to the impoverished
as a valid and valuable customer base. The reviewers highlight the promise of Prahalad’s
work and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of his framework for engagement and
his case study examples of the BOP as a viable market. They issue several prongs of
critique, among them that his choice to not include case studies in which BOP strategies
have failed weakens his overall argument, and that it would have been beneficial for
him to draw a clearer relationship between BOP investments and eradication of poverty.
These reviewers recognize the ground-breaking value of Prahalad’s idea but declare
the need to know more about how and when BOP investments work to eliminate poverty.
Viswanathan, Roopa Nishi. Book Review: Fortune at The Bottom of The Pyramid, C.K.Prahalad,
. Accessed 4/9/2009.
Summary: Viswanathan wrote this review for Chillibreeze Solutions which is an Indian “content
and design service provider catering to the needs of a global clientele.” This is
a straight-forward review of Prahalad’s book from a business perspective. Excerpt:
“The Fortune at The Bottom of The Pyramid provides you with these facts, while telling
you why what you know about BOP markets is wrong. This book, for a refreshing change,
is not about BPO, but BOP, the bottom of the pyramid, the real source of market promise.
“Why is it that with all our technology, managerial know-how, and investment capacity,
we are unable to make even a minor contribution to the problem of pervasive global
poverty and disenfranchisement?” This profound question hits you only to leave you
answerless. This is definitely a book which makes you sit up and think from the very
beginning. Whether you're a business leader or an anti-poverty activist, this book
shows you why you can't afford to ignore ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ (BOP).
Vogl, A. J. 2004. The Invisible Market: Think that double-digit growth is a thing
of the past? Think again, says C.K. Prahalad. Think of "the bottom of the pyramid”,
in ACROSS THE BOARD. 41, 23-28.
Summary: Interview with C.K. Prahalad about his book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” Few
management thinkers can lay claim to having made a difference in the way managers
think. C.K. Prahalad is one of them. In Competing for the Future, C.K. (as he is called by everyone) and his longtime collaborator Gary Hamel made
such phrases as "strategic architecture" and, most particularly, "core competencies"
common management parlance. This is a market? These are consumers? This is a growth
opportunity? Yes, yes, and yes, Prahalad maintains. His latest book's first half presents
his rationale and approach for dealing with the bottom of the pyramid; the latter
half offers a dozen detailed case histories that document how to do it.