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To be published October 2023

A captivating, page-turning book. I learned more from reading this book than I did from completing an entire sustainability business strategy course at Harvard Business School.

That course at Harvard was awesome. This book is better. Everybody should read this.

Matt Deasy,

Business Sustainability Consultant,


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What is the secret behind the genius of the likes of Mozart, Einstein, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Da Vinci?


Albert Rothenberg at Harvard discovered in 1979 that they have one common trait that sets them apart from their peers. And it’s not their talent or a high IQ.

What if you could apply this secret to create a 200-400% higher impact return, outgrow your competitors, improve brand value, productivity and resilience? And at the same time to genuinely transform our world for the better?

LEAD LIKE A GENIUS takes the reader on an inspirational journey past genius examples from around the globe. Initiatives that tackle climate change, the marine plastic crisis, pollution, poverty, inequality and social exclusion exceptionally well.

The book reveals why these achieve far better results than most. It provides thought-leading insights on avoiding common sustainability pitfalls and how to tackle our global issues for a far better return.

The step-by-step guide is based on award-winning research nominated by the Social Innovation Research Director at Cambridge University. While simple to use, it underpins our world’s most successful impact strategies.

Once you have read LEAD LIKE A GENIUS you will see the genius behind genuinely effective sustainable leadership. And you will have a powerful tool to guide you in achieving the best outcomes. The best outcomes that boost business growth. And the best outcomes that truly transform our world.

About the author...

About the author...

Melanie van de Velde, PhD, MBA, MSc

The 9-year-old Melanie van de Velde was asked what problem she would like to solve when she grew up. She answered that she wanted to help people who were living in poverty. At the time, she had yet to see severe deprivation first-hand. But in the years since, she’s travelled extensively. The suffering she’s witnessed has only strengthened her ambition in childhood.

Dr Van de Velde was awarded the Adam Smith Prize for PhD Excellence at the University of Glasgow. Nominated for the prize by the Research Director at the Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge University, her thesis was the source of many insights in this book.

Her other academic achievements include an MBA with Distinction at the Adam Smith Business School, and an MSc in Industrial Engineering.

With an unusually diverse CV, Dr. Van de Velde has managed Asia Pacific markets at a multi-billion dollar tech company. She’s worked in senior management at IT start-ups. And she’s run a fashion business to empower young women without an education in a Nairobi slum.

With Big Tree Global Ltd, she helps business leaders with the tools and insights to create effective impact strategies that lead to business growth and genuinely transform our world for the better. B Journeys Ltd, her other start-up, aims to create economic opportunities in some of the poorest, remote, and, simultaneously, stunning parts of our world.

Raised in a small town in the Netherlands, she now lives with her partner and children in Scotland’s largest city.


I've read a ton of books on this topic and this is by far my favourite! 

Matt Deasy, Business Sustainability Consultant,


Finally, a tool to help identify effective impact initiatives. The imperative to make a positive impact and deliver profits may seem paradoxical, but it is possible.  Melanie has solved this with her simple, easy-to-adopt methodology to help businesses create powerful social and environmental impact strategies.

Mark Fallows,
Founder Fabrica Collective &
The Impossible Network,
Amazing insights, this is the need of the hour.
Inir Pinhiero, Founder Grassroutes,
Melanie van de Velde has inspired me with her evidence based work how to balance people, planet and profit. I love the key insight not to forget the GOOD profit drivers!
Robert van der Laan, PwC Corporate Responsibility Leader EMEA,
The Netherlands

What I like the most is the IMPACT Wheel. Because with the IMPACT Wheel it all comes together. 

It is a great tool to see what you can do in your business.

Gert Eilander,
CEO Multiweld & Impact Chair Entrepreneurship Organisation

Dr van de Velde’s doctoral thesis is outstanding and a worthy winner of the Adam Smith Prize for PhD Excellence.

Dr Haugh, Director Social Innovation Research Centre,
Cambridge University,

Reading the book is like having a cosy cup of tea with Mel as she shares her insights and expertise, gleaned from years of working on the front line of social and sustainable business and her academic research.
Thom Kenrick, Head of Social Strategy and Impact at NatWest Group,
This book is an absolute must read for everyone who wants to make their purpose count. To make the necessary step of 'doing good' to actually changing the world for the better.
Sandra Ballij, CEO Ctalents,
The Netherlands
A timely and thought-provoking book packed with insightful examples that is relevant to all business people.
Sarah Deas, Trustee, Wellbeing Economy Alliance,

Melanie’s MPACT Wheel simplifies this immensely complex topic that we want to tackle together.


It really helped to structure our thinking and which areas of the wheel we want to focus on.  

Jules Prick, Co-Founder Koos Service Design,
The Netherlands

Van de Velde's key insights for successful impact strategies offer a concrete roadmap to break away from extrapolating the present and choosing wisely for a more vibrant and justice world.”

Eduardo Balarezo, Adjunct Professor, Founder Lonesome George & Co,
United States

Melanie's IMPACT Wheel is a great tool we will be using for all projects in the future. I also love the case studies from around the world to trigger further ideas of what we can do here.
Daniela Jimenez Chavez,
Head of Sustainability Menorca Inversiones,




New edition to be released April 2024

In LOVE YOUR LEGACY, Dr Melanie van de Velde examines the need for businesses to have a beneficial impact on our planet and its inhabitants. The UN sees poverty, inequality, climate change and pollution as our key global challenges.

90 Percent of our global citizens believe that companies should help fix these issues. But research shows that most business leaders lack the tools and knowledge how to best do so.

Drawing on her award-winning research, Dr van de Velde unpicks where most impact strategies go wrong. She reveals five key insights into the reasons why some companies like Patagonia achieve far better results than others. 

She provides a practical guide for business leaders to create more profitable and robust impact strategies. For better and longer-lasting results, globally and locally.

To help you build a legacy you can be proud of.

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