Book Review – The Surprising Solution

Joanna Schroeder

According to Bruce Piasecki in his book, “The Surprising Solution,” globalization has brought new social pressures to the world including climate change, global terrorism, oil wars and oil depletion, billions of poor people, and the need for food, air, water and wood. Yet according to Piasecki, these pressures do not automatically mean a world for the worse – actually the opposite. His goal in the book is to demonstrate that we have reached a tipping point that is actually leading us to a better world through social repsonse capitalism or the S Frontier.

So what exactly is the S Frontier? It is the movement of businesses changing their services and products in order to survive and prosper in a world that is facing the end of oil. Piasecki writes, “In order for them to survive and prosper further, they need to develop and continue to refine the business art of innovation for social needs–they need to find a new and socially responsible way to fill the hole our depleting oil supply is leaving. We call this elaborate social art in business the ‘S Frontier’.”

Piasecki writes that the S Frontier is already here and there are several companies leading the way including Toyota, GE and HP. These are companies that have changed the game of creating more socially responsible products that have had such an impact, others are forced to follow. For those companies who get left behind, they will fail paving the way for those companies that are able to refine and create products that change with the new global marketplace or actually cause the global marketplace to change.

This book is for businesses who don’t want to be left behind. Piascecki outlines several critical points that all companies need to consider in their corporate strategy. At the crux of these issues is dwindling oil reserves and energy. He reiterates throughout the book, “It is clear that if we believe that better products can make a better world, we must continue to believe in both the power of the corporation and the legitimate responsibility of government to move society collectively forward.”

What may be most interesting about this book is that is written as a dialogue that is continually changing and refined as we move forward into the S Frontier. Consider joining the conversation on his website at

book reviews