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In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience Paperback – September 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Sheed & Ward (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580510817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580510813
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The finest book on religious vocation since Thomas Merton's "Secular Journal." -- Ron Hansen, author of "Mariette in Ecstasy"

Review

Praise for the first edition:

The finest book on finding religious vocation since Thomas Merton's Secular Journal.
(Ron Hansen, author of Exiles)

Praise for the first edition:

This engaging and entertaining book packs a double punch: the world of the Jesuits, which at first is unfamiliar if not downright mysterious, comes to seem a sane way of living in the world, while what we think of as the 'normal' world of corporate America is revealed as very strange indeed. James Martin has given us some savory food for thought.
(Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk, Amazing Grace, and Acedia & Me)

Praise for the first edition:

From the Wharton Business School and a secure place in corporate America to a $35-a-month allowance and the insecurity of a life of faith. This may seem a precautionary tale of downward secular mobility, but as we follow James Martin through his life and Jesuit training, we find it is all about ascent—to God and to true happiness.
(Paul Wilkes, author of Beyond the Walls: Monastic Living for Everyday Life)

Praise for the first edition:

The story of James Martin's 'fast track' from GE to the Jesuits is confirmation, if any were needed, that God has a sense of humor. The pursuit of happiness is ultimately inseparable from the call to holiness. Martin has written a Seven Storey Mountain for a new generation of seekers.
(Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints)

In Good Company tells this seeker's powerful story with humor and grace. The book's gems of wisdom will appeal to anyone seeking meaning in daily life. Fast-paced, compelling, and often humorous, his story offers a fresh, inside look at corporate America, the Jesuit vocation, and the human quest for a life well-lived. (Jesuits Of The Missouri and New Orleans Province)

Martin is both a natural storyteller and a self-effacing fellow, and he pairs that to fine effect in this honest and accessible story. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

For all those considering a vocation, or needing a reminder about the vocation they chose, Father Martin's journey towards 'seeing life whole' is well worth traveling. (The American Spectator, (London))

An engaging account of his journey from successful businessman to vowed Jesuit . . . inviting, sane, grateful and gracious. (Christopher Ruddy)

Martin here presents a lively narrative of how he, a yuppie in the corporate world, found riches of a different kind by joining the Society of Jesus. A consummate raconteur with a keen eye for detail, Martin carries the reader along with his vivid prose and his ebullient humor. It's a book for just about everyone who can read. (Avery Cardinal Dulles S.J.)

Martin has a frank, straightforward style reminiscent of the young Thomas Merton, but just a bit more polished....If you know nothing about prayer and a life of service, you can find it all in this unstuffy, unselfconscious book. And if you know everything about prayer and a life of service, you will start over at the beginning and learn it all again. (Emilie Griffin, America) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine, and author of numerous books, including My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, Fresh Air, The O'Reilly Factor, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, and on the History Channel, BBC, and Vatican Radio. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

Customer Reviews

I appreciate the honesty of his experience.
D. Horan
What a wonderful gift to the world he has given by dedicating his life in this way, instead of endlessly number crunching and going up a corporate ladder.
Caroline Writer
Great story about hearing the call from God in all the noise from the corporate world.
Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're like most laypeople, you probably regard priests with a combination of awe, admiration and more than a little suspicion (just what are you running away from?). James Martin's moving vocation story ultimately reveals that his decision to leave a high-powered job at the height of his young yuppie-dom was not running away from life, but running towards his heart's undeniable desire.
Funny, wry, and (in this day and age, dare one say?) inspirational, Father Martin's book puts a contemporary spin on the ageless miracle of a calling to the religious life. His gradual and (even to him) astonishing discernment of his life's true course is movingly revealed, while a supporting cast of family members, friends and co-workers provide insight and levity sometimes more suited to a snarky Greek chorus or an episode of "Seinfeld" than a book that's already being compared to Thomas Merton's.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to "give it all up" and find yourself in the process, Father Martin can tell you.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Father Martin has written a book that will appeal not just to those contemplating a religious vocation, but to anyone who has sought to find a higher meaning in their lives. I found myself incredibly moved by his story -- while laughing out loud -- as he vividly described his journey from the ivy covered walls of Wharton to the starched shirt corridors of GE Capital to the slums of Jamaica.
A terrific book!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one great book. Who would believe that a charter member of America's corporate culture with the gold rolex, the rep tie and the ray bans to prove it could do such a total about face and accept the calling to become a Jesuit priest bound by iron vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience? And yet, no lie, this is what this book is all about. Martin is simply magnificent in he way he draws the contrast between his old corporate life as a human resources executive with General Electric and his new life as a Jesuit novice. The descriptions of GE in the merger mania, downsizing, and frenzy of the 1980's are vivid and by turns frightening and amusing to say the least. His descriptions of his spiritual journey are candid and self-deprecating. However, the old habits die hard. Martin's writing is brisk and spare like the memos in the business world he left behind. The meandering intellectualization and name-dropping of somebody like Thomas Merton is clearly absent here. I intend to read any other books by Martin I can find.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fr. Martin has produced a moving, thought-provoking work that places the phenomenon of religious vocation in a modern context and explores deeply and honestly the motivations behind and struggles within the discernment of a call to ordained service. An earlier reviewer seems to have missed Fr. Martin's lengthy commentary in the last chapter on the individual vows (including chastity); but in addition, I suspect that the author didn't elaborate more fully on his own relationship experience as he didn't seem to have much time for girlfriends -- either at college or at GE. As a devout Catholic, I was greatly pleased to find a book that finally manages to elucidate something that has been grossly misunderstood in popular culture: that the priesthood is a vocation, not an escape. Congratulations to Fr. Martin on a truly stunning accomplishment; this should be required reading for all Catholics, lapsed and practicing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Father Martin has once again shown the fascinating side of having a religious vocation. His down-to-earth telling of his steps to becoming a Jesuit is a remarkable piece of work. When I read his first book, This Our Exile, I hoped he would continue his writing and I felt rewarded when In Good Company was published. In Good Company is an honest story told by a gifted young man. Let's hope he continues to tell us of his life as a Jesuit priest.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By sodakmonk on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I may be a somewhat biased reviewer: I also am a religious priest, about the same age as the author, who likewise left a professional position for religious life. I found many familiar events in this well-paced book: e.g. the "What's that?" reaction of coworkers, the cold, competitiveness described so well at a "selective" university, etc... Our times needed a book like this, and I considered rating it higher. I would strongly recommend it to anyone. My only criticism is the author's reluctance to share much of his own reflection on the events of his life, maybe out of humility? He tells us that his early faith was childish, but could have shared more of his insights as his vocational struggle deepened his faith. We learn that Merton's Seven Story Mountain was helpful to him, but we don't learn much about what in that book helped him the most. There is excellent criticism of middle-class secular American society here, but it remains largely implicit. He shows us that large corporations sometimes overwork their employees (say it isn't so!) And executives are sometimes rude with their underlings (welcome to the real world). The book seems intentionally written from the viewpoint of a religious neophyte, when the reflections of the supposedly more mature author would have, for me at least, added depth. I guess I just expected more from a Jesuit! This book is a great start, maybe a sequel would deliver what I hoped for.
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