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  • Published: 2 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9781847942890
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $26.00


How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life

A new wave of anthropological research is transforming how the world does business. This book reveals how.

To understand business, you need to think like an anthropologist.

In a career spanning three decades, Gillian Tett has established a reputation as one of Britain's most astute financial journalists. But before joining the Financial Times, Tett completed a PhD in anthropology at Cambridge - and it is her anthropological training that gives her such a razor-sharp insight into global business.

Anthropologists have a unique view of the world. Instead of building their arguments on data or written sources, they undertake ethnographies - meaning they go inside groups of people and seek to understand, from within, how they think. This once involved besuited Victorians going to live alongside Amazonian tribespeople for years on end. But these days anthropologists are just as likely to undertake ethnographies in the boardrooms of law firms, or on the trading floors of investment banks.

In her new book, Tett will reveal what anthropology can teach all of us about business. She will recount the most fascinating findings from a recent wave of 'business anthropology', telling stories from inside the likes of the London Stock Exchange, JPMorgan and Adidas. She will explore the hidden rituals that underpin how businesses work: from the invisible norm that explains why we are all so happy to sign away our data, to the unspoken laws that govern the behaviour of the world's best coders.

Above all, Tett will reveal how you too can learn to think like an anthropologist. Once you understand the power of business anthropology, it will revolutionise how you buy, work and think - starting today.

  • Published: 2 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9781847942890
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $26.00

About the author

Gillian Tett

Gillian Tett is the chairman of the editorial board and editor-at-large at the Financial Times. Her work for the FT has taken her around the world – from Brussels to Tokyo to Moscow – and won her numerous awards, including Columnist of the Year at the 2014 British Press Awards. She holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

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Praise for Anthro-Vision

Will turn your world upside down in the best possible way: fun, profound and bursting with important insights.

Tim Harford, author of HOW TO MAKE THE WORLD ADD UP

A fascinating and compelling demonstration that all of us, especially economists, can benefit from the insights of anthropology: the worm's-eye, not just the bird's-eye, view of how people behave.

Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England and co-author of RADICAL UNCERTAINTY

From a Tajik valley to Silicon valley, Anthro-Vision takes us on an enthralling and deeply insightful journey. Tett shows us how the discipline and tools of anthropology helped her see the world more clearly. Full of rich insights and examples - I couldn't put it down.

David Halpern, CEO, The Behavioural Insights Team and author of INSIDE THE NUDGE UNIT

Drawing on a wide breadth of case studies, Gillian Tett explains that whether you're marketing Kit-Kats in Japan or fighting the spread of COVID-19 in England, you need a more qualitative understanding of who people are and what they care about. Anyone working to rebuild a more equal world will benefit from Tett's well-argued case that to solve twenty-first-century problems, we must expand our fields of vision and fill in old blind spots with new empathy.

Melinda Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and author of THE MOMENT OF LIFT

In a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, we need an antidote to tunnel vision, argues Gillian Tett. That antidote is Anthro-Vision - applying the techniques of anthropology she learned as a young scholar in Cambridge and Tajikistan . . . Admirers of her journalism will love this book, but they will also learn a great deal from it - including how better to understand their own familiar yet strange tribe.

Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford and author of DOOM: THE POLITICS OF CATASTROPHE

Looking at the world like an anthropologist has long given Gillian Tett the edge over the rest of us as a journalist and thinker. With this book she generously shares her secret recipe - and explains why we may all need Anthro-Vision to see a way through some of today's most pressing global challenges.

Stephanie Flanders, Senior Executive Editor for Economics, Bloomberg

Tett provides readers with a new intellectual framework - grounded in her deep understanding of anthropology and her path-breaking journalism - that can fundamentally transform how we approach solving society's most wicked problems, from climate change to pandemics to political polarisation. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and author of THE ENTREPRENEURIAL STATE

Absolutely brilliant . . . Very compelling examples.

Daniel Kahneman, author of THINKING, FAST AND SLOW and NOISE

A plea to those of us who may be unfamiliar with Tett's academic discipline to think more like an anthropologist. I think she's right . . . Tett's book may be anthropological, but it also embraces a style of accessible economic writing that, sadly, went out of fashion as the mathematicians and their models took over. Anthro-Vision reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society (1958) and The New Industrial State (1967). Some economists may regard this as a criticism. I can think of no higher praise.

The Times

A good read, as one might expect from a Financial Times journalist . . . Many of the cases studies are entertaining and instructive . . . This book is a reminder that culture and context really do matter and cannot be ignored when trying to understand and change organisational behaviour.

Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology, UCL, Literary Review

In this superb book, Gillian Tett - Editor-at-Large at the Financial Times - applies the lessons of her doctorate in anthropology to the world of business and, more generally, to social behaviour and trends . . . There are many reasons to read Anthro-Vision, but the most compelling is its liberation of [its] analysis from the often phoney and banal punch-ups of today's culture wars.

Matthew D'Ancona, Tortoise

Trouble follows when insular guilds - bankers, doctors, journalists - fail to take into acconut the viewpoints and folkways of non-elite people . . . [Tett's] conclusions are bright and buoyant.

Wall Street Journal

A really interesting read. Increasingly, businesses are understanding that we can change our attitudes to things - be better at managing people, managing ourselves, and become more profitable - if we do not take a myopic view of culture.

Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Radio 5 Live

Fantastic . . . A wonderful book and I recommend it. It will help you think about the world differently, but it will also help you think about yourself differently. A very entertaining exercise in a kind of social and cultural mindfulness.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts, RSA Bridges to the Future

Makes a compelling case that "anthro-vision" can help us understand ourselves, our tribes, companies and communities, and to reduce our wilful blindness . . . One of the glories of Anthro-Vision is that it never argues (as many do) that its way of seeing is the only way. It's a timely call for decision-makers to wean themselves off their dependency on big data and embrace the full complexity of human life.

Financial Times

Deliberately listening to other people and taking on their perspective is a rare skill, and a powerful tool . . . For readers, this book offers something more valuable: the opportunity to consider how truly strange we all are.

New Statesman

Wonderful . . . [on] that anthropological skill of looking at things from the outside.

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy UK and author of ALCHEMY

Full of examples that make you see work and business differently.

The Indicator, NPR

A rattling good read . . . The book has loads of interesting vignettes about the use of anthropology, particularly in business.

Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy, University of Cambridge

Tett's examples of research are vivid, surprising and imaginative; their revelations are informative . . . Tett's book is lots of fun and could even create a few business converts to the anthropological cause.

Times Higher Education

It's hard to argue with her common-sense case that companies should strive to take an outsider's view . . . Packed full of insight, this has the power to change minds.

Publishers Weekly

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book . . . A terrific piece of work.

Thomas Friedman, author of THE WORLD IS FLAT and THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE

A compelling, readable argument for the business value of anthropology.

Strategy + Business

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