My book review of 'Paying it forward' by Josh Littlejohn

by Josh Littlejohn
Paying it forward
by Josh Littlejohn

The chasm between rich and poor seems to be ever widening and government seems ill equipped in dealing with growing needs in society. So what needs to be done? 

Josh Littlejohn says entrepreneurs can provide the answer. But instead of their innovation and creativity being driven by money and status, we need people who put purpose ahead of profit.

As a child, Josh Littlejohn was embarrassed by his family's wealth so when he started to earn his own living, he decided to use his business to help others.

He launched a sandwich shop in Edinburgh and used to give food and drink to the homeless people he passed on his way to work. Then when they said they'd like a job, he took them on.

But that wasn't always the answer - he also looked into training, rehabilitation and accommodation for people who were struggling. He created a village to house homeless people and staged fundraising ‘sleep outs’ all over the world. Hollywood stars answered his invitations to visit his work in progress and lent their support.

Josh has raised £25m for charitable and homeless causes, operates six Social Bite cafes in Scotland and London and has won numerous awards and an MBE for his efforts.

In this book he outlines his social enterprise model and the lessons from his personal experiences. He encourages us all to think about how we might be part of the solution to the issues facing us all as communities today. 

His 'can do' attitude is inspiring and energising, and offers hope when everything we read about business and public institutions today seems so bleak. 

He's honest about the challenges and obstacles, and he's made mistakes but ultimately his ambition and achievements are to be applauded, and emulated. 

The book is described as 'part memoir, part manifesto for social entrepreneurship, and part manual for putting purpose ahead of profit', and it has gained plenty of celebrity endorsement and praise. It's an easy read, uplifting, encouraging and entertaining. Let's hope it's a bestseller...

Date of this review: August 2023
Book publication date: 17th August 2023