What in Blazes is a B Corporation?

You may have heard, Better World Books was recently announced as “B Corporation”.

You may also have heard the fancy business jargon:  “With the certification, Better World Books joins a growing international network of purpose-driven businesses dedicated to setting a new standard for social and environmental performance, creating benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.”

How ironic, a statement that explains how B corporations are different from a standard “C Corporation”, but uses the same confusing business-speak to do so.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a business degree, and I respect and understand the need for very specific language and multi syllabic nomenclature in order to be effective within the business world;  however, I also understand how corporate vernacular can sound ridiculous to the average human being.

So lets break it down for  a second.  Capitalism itself has a bad reputation to many people.  You hear “Capitalism”, you think “big evil corporation exploiting people”. And  then you hear things like “the best way to make your operation more robust is by improving your economies of scale“, and you think “who actually talks like that?”.  ( I will admit, I occasionally speak like that) But let’s face it, Capitalism itself is powerful.  What if we could harness this power, and use it for good?

Well, that’s what it means to be  B Corporation.  The power of Business, the intention of goodness.  It’s like using a Hybrid cars made out of recycled parts to deliver meals on wheels to hungry people.

Or in our case, it is selling books to promote literacy.

You may have noticed that I used the word “ironic” a couple paragraphs up here.  Being that we are all about literacy, I feel compelled to clear up how this word is often misused.  Many people have said “that is ironic”, when they actually meant to say “that is humorous”, or “that is unfortunate”.  Irony means  achieving a result that is the opposite of your intentions.  The best example is Oedipus, from Greece.  He was given a prophecy that he would someday kill his father and marry is mother.  Clearly, that is not something he would want to happen… so he moved far away.  As a result of his departure, he ended up not even recognizing his parents later in life, and (SPOILER ALERT!! Stop reading if you do not want to know the fate of Oedipus) he ended up in fact killing his father and marrying his mother.  Poor Oedipus.

Now, I could say “how ironic that I warned you of ‘spoiling'” the Oedipus story.  But that would be wrong.  It is not ironic at all, just humorous that I would use a spoiler alert to protect you  from learning the end of a story that has been around for millions of years*, when typically spoiler alerts are only used for new stories.

In Summary:
1. Better World Books is proud to be a B Corporation.
2. B Corportions are awesome.
3. Irony is a powerful literay device if used properly, but with great power comes great responsibility.
4. Times were tough in Ancient Greece

*Hyperbole used for effect.

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