large image

Believe in People: A Conversation About the Importance of Bottom-Up Solutions for Society’s Greatest Challenges

Charles Koch and Brian Hooks examine the themes in their new book in a candid conversation

January 6, 2021

min read

In November 2020, New York Times bestselling author and Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch, and Stand Together CEO Brian Hooks, released Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World. Using widespread examples from today’s social entrepreneurs and inspiring success stories, the book describes what is possible when we apply the principles of human progress and empower individuals nearest to challenges to contribute their gifts and knowledge to create better solutions.

In December, Dave Robertson, president of Koch Industries, hosted a candid discussion with Charles and Brian to help Koch employees and others learn more about the urgent need for bottom-up solutions.

See what they had to say in this collection of key takeaways.

The Bottom-Up Approach

According to Charles and Brian, one-size-fits-all, top-down solutions for societal problems are often created with good intentions of helping people who are struggling. Unfortunately, it’s a strategy that usually fails to empower those who are most affected and knowledgeable. The bottom-up approach featured in Believe in People is a paradigm shift that gives everyone an opportunity to contribute.



Realizing Your Potential

Choosing to be contribution motivated and improve life for yourself and others requires understanding your gifts and abilities, according to the book. Charles shares how he discovered some of his strengths as early as the third grade but spent decades seeking greater fulfillment. The lessons he learned along the way reveal how anyone can better apply themselves to live a meaningful life.



What is a Social Entrepreneur?

Powerful examples of social entrepreneurs appear throughout Believe in People, ranging from the abolitionist Frederick Douglass to present-day individuals combating poverty, substance abuse, crime and other societal challenges. There is a social entrepreneur within everyone, say Charles and Brian. Understanding your role can allow you to create transformational opportunities.



Looking Ahead

Koch employees from around the world asked Charles and Brian about what challenges to expect in 2021 and how Koch is dealing with the rapid pace of transformation. A common theme became clear in their answers: Empowering everyone to contribute is essential for building a better future.