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Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations Paperback – August 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is a must-read for anyone who wants the workplace to become more life-giving for all concerned." --Parker J. Palmer, Author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach

"Evocative, challenging, and compelling--this book is a gift to the imagination of organizations and those who work in them." --Sharon Daloz Parks, Co-Author, Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World

"This book advances the "spirituality and work" movement to a next level of practicality and social value. It's a joy to read and a source of inspiration for all those looking to glimpse into a life affirming future." --Alan Briskin, Author of The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace

"This wise little book invites the reader into a user friendly conversation that contains memorable, grounded illustrations drawn from contemporary organizational life, focuses the reader on spiritual essentials, and allows the reader (or teacher) to probe at any depth that might be desired." --Andre L. Delbecq, Thomas J. and Kathleen L. McCarthy University Professor, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

"Both students and managers will find this book practical, understandable, and inspirational." --Jerry Biberman, Professor of Management, University of Scranton, Editor, Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion

"Soul at Work is destined to take its place in the business, ethics, and values literature right next to the long-time bestseller by Bolman and Deal, Leading With Soul. Both wise and clear, the book includes examples from healthcare and the non-profit sector, as well as a giant corporation which has quickly become its industry leader." -- Lee Robbins, Ph.D., Professor of Managment, Golden Gate University, San Francisco

"What is exceptional about this book is Margaret Benefiel’s ability to wed the pragmatic, realistic, and often challenging aspects of creating spirituality in the workplace with the deep wisdom of spiritual traditions passed on for generations. Soul at Work is a creative and most welcome synthesis." --Elizabeth Dreyer, Professor of Spirituality, Fairfield University

"I couldn't put this book down till I had read it all the way through. I found practical tools and techniques and real-life stories to show me the way to incorporate my spirit in my work everyday. Your copy will definitely be dog-eared at the best practices and tools." --Charlotte Roberts, Co-Author, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

"This book is a gift to any organizational leaders who care about their own souls and the souls of the organizations they lead." --The Rev. Dr. Tilden Edwards, Founder and Senior Fellow, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation

About the Author

Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., author of Soul at Work (Seabury Books, 2005), The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision (Morehouse, 2010), serves as Executive Director of the Shalem Institute (

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: SEABURY BOOKS; 1st edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596270136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596270138
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Shalem Institute (, has served as Chair of the Academy of Management's Management, Spirituality, and Religion Group. She also serves as Co-chair of the Christian Spirituality Group of the American Academy of Religion, and has held various leadership roles in Spiritual Directors International. Over 1,000 executives, managers, and other leaders have participated in her seminars and courses. Author of Soul at Work and The Soul of a Leader, and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision. Dr. Benefiel has also written for The Leadership Quarterly, Management Communication Quarterly, Managerial Finance, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Organization, Personal Excellence, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, America, Presence, The Way, Studies in Spirituality, Radical Grace, and Faith at Work. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C. and enjoys hiking, cycling, reading novels, and scuba diving in her free time.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Margaret Benefiel is a wise theologian who is addressing the problem that daily grows larger in the media - the betrayal of humanity in the costume of Business. What a perfect time for this immensely readable, wise counsel, and ray of sunshine little book with a big message.

Benefiel sets about to diagnose the problems with businesses that have forgotten about the consumer, the worker, and the purpose of being. This loss is in the realm of spirituality which Benefiel wisely defines as 'the human spirit, fully engaged'. Though her credentials as a theologian and teacher are well established, Benefiel relies on the gentle approach to pursuing her suggestions for true success in the business world. She presents several examples of companies who thrive because they care for the people who work for them and tend to their needs, and shows how this internal spirituality naturally extends to the consumer or customer.

And while SOUL AT WORK is a fascinating and solid guide to steer businesses into a mode of functioning that incorporates spirituality, the book also is a gentle, well written manual for self-examination, a reminder that tending to our own souls is the given starting place. Reading this book offers each of us the opportunity to become the spiritual leaders of our respective workplaces and of our lives. A timely guide to tranquility. Grady Harp, December 05
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Soul at Work" is a perceptive book on how to increase productivity and prosperity on every level in the workplace, for the owner, manager, employee, and his environment, through "the interdependence of life" and the empowerment of implementing spiritual principles. Examples are given from many walks of life, and in various faiths. These principles benefit everyone from the worker on the lowest rung of employment to the people owning stock in the company, and one can envision how this workplace philosophy could change the world if actualized on a global scale. The eventual beneficiary of course is the customer, patient, etc., who deals with people he can trust, and who treat him fairly.

In Part One of the book, Ms. Benefiel sets the stage with descriptions of the organizations that use these principles. There are interviews with the leaders, how they have succeeded by having spirituality as their core value, and how spiritual discernment has guided them to make decisions that achieve excellence and prosperity in their endeavors. Most interesting is the history of Genny Nelson, who started the Sisters of the Road Café, and has been able to take homeless people she has helped, and move them up the ladder in the organization to positions of responsibility. These people in turn help others, in an ever-increasing chain of positive change. It is a great success story, and makes wonderful reading.

Part Two addresses how the principles outlined in Part One are implemented on a broad scale, and in Chapter 8, Ms. Benefiel's description and graphics of the "Individual Spiritual Transformation" and "Organizational Transformation" are perfectly illustrated.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Monica Manning on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
In five to ten years time, I predict we will see a spurt of entrepreneurialism directly traceable to Margaret Benefiel's Soul at Work. Much writing about spirituality and the work place is little more than enthusiastic commentary. This book is much more. In its breadth of real world stories ranging from U2 to Reell Precision Manufacturing to Mercy Medical, Soul at Work tells the experiences of leaders in their own voices.

These are not portraits of saints - of leaders who made decisions in extraordinary circumstances. These are ordinary people who did make the commitment to create an environment where they and their colleagues could bring their whole selves to work. Recognizing the array of spiritualities that leaders (and readers) bring, Benefiel defines soul as "the human spirit, fully engaged." Importantly, she has collected stories from a diversity of wisdom traditions.

The book is divided into two sections, first hearing from the leaders themselves and then moving on to examining their organizations. The author concludes with a set of lessons/guides that are traced back to their origins in the stories presented. She helpfully demonstrates what people any place in an organization - and across a wide diversity of organizations - can do.

What I found most exciting was that some readers who find their current circumstances inhospitable to bottom lines other than the financial may well be spurred to create new, more spiritually-grounded organizations that are also designed to be successful in the marketplace.

Buy a copy for yourself - then buy another to share with colleagues. You'll want to keep your own handy. But as you read it, you'll want to be able to talk about it with people you know seek a fuller engagement of soul at work.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By C. Knowles on July 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Soul at Work" is an inspiration for anyone who thinks that we don't have to live a divided life leaving our morals and spirit at the workplace door. Benefiel's case studies show real-life experiences of people who have made choices that allow them to maintain the integrity of their beliefs and make a profit at the same time. In a time when it is hard to trust businesses, this book gives hope for commerce.

Several different types of business are represented: a hospital, a bakery, U-2 (yes, the rock band!), and others. Soul needn't be confined to one kind of work or one size company.

The author's knowledge of spirituality in the workplace and business practices makes this book a useful resource both for executives and managers who are searching for ways to make their work and companies more soulful, and for religious people who want to minister to people who feel stripped of their spirituality in the workplace. She speaks about discernment and leadership, about which she has done much research, in holistic ways.

This book definitely has a wide scope and is not just about religious organizations lest the subtitle "Spiritual Leadership in Organizations" make you think it is. This is for anyone interested in the workplace who has a soul. That is probably you.
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