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Salesforce Encouraged Employees to Expense Co-CEO Marc Benioff’s Book

Nico Grant

(Bloomberg) -- Marc Benioff’s latest book, about the need for a gentler capitalism, became a national bestseller. The company he co-founded, Salesforce.com Inc., helped boost sales by encouraging employees to buy and expense the book published last October.

The software maker sent a memo to its 48,000-member workforce last fall offering reimbursement if they purchased Benioff’s latest book, “Trailblazer,” the company said. Salesforce said it considers the book to be “business material.”

“Our employees were invited to expense a copy and spread the word,” a Salesforce spokeswoman said in a statement. “‘Trailblazer’ was inspired by our employees, so of course we wanted to get it in their hands, as well as our customers’, partners’ and anyone else wanting to learn how business is the greatest platform for change.”

“Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change” is the fourth book co-written by Benioff. On its website, Salesforce touted it as an “instant” New York Times bestseller. It was No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list. The billionaire’s books have served to bolster his reputation in the technology industry, especially, “Behind the Cloud,” about building his business applications company.

While the exact calculations behind the bestseller lists are shrouded in secrecy, the consensus in the publishing industry, according to the news website Vox, is it takes at least 5,000 books sold in a week to make the New York Times’ list.

Proceeds from “Trailblazer” sales were donated to charity, the company said.

“Trailblazer” tracks Benioff’s public journey deeper into social and political causes in recent years, including how to leverage his influence as a tech leader on issues he cares about including education and homelessness. In the book, Benioff declares that capitalism is “dead” and must be replaced by a system guided around more than just the interests of shareholders. He also called for higher taxes on the wealthy and more regulation on the tech industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair Barr

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