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True to Yourself: Leading a Values-Based Business (Social Venture Network) Paperback – July 12, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: Social Venture Network
  • Paperback: 171 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (July 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753781
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For those whose dreams involve using a small business "as a force for social change," entrepreneur Albion offers encouragement and valuable counsel. The second entry in the publisher's Social Venture Network series, this is a guide to leading "a company that reflects your values" and, along the way, building "a better world for us all." Assuming that the reader is already a believer, but just isn't sure how to reconcile principle and practice, Albion frames his advice in terms of compassionate, socially responsible leadership, though a lot of it is just plain good management. It's about how to build a company with the right priorities from the beginning, not just adding a veneer of responsibility. The book is grounded in the voices of earnest entrepreneurs and unusual case studies you don't see in every business book—including stories of failure as well as of success. While some readers may find Albion insufficiently hard-nosed ("It's better to fail trying to do what you really care about," he writes, "than to succeed at something else"), his sincerity is undeniably compelling. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

"A perfect blend of inspiration and instruction, a must-read manual for anyone who aspires to a position of leadership." — Alan M. Webber, Cofounding Editor, Fast Company Magazine

"If you want to build a values-based business, as I did with Kinko's, Mark Albion provides you with the practical know-how to avoid mistakes and lead your company's growth." — Paul Orfalea, Founder and Chairperson Emeritus, Kinko's

"If you want to build a business with social conscience, a company that reflects your core values and that people are proud to work for, True to Yourself will help you pour your heart into doing just that." — Howard Schultz, Chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company

"There has never been a more important moment for leadership from women. It is critical that we have equality in business as well as education and politics, as women recognize the social and environmental challenges we face and develop the courage to confront them. True to Yourself offers the practical guidance and support to allow women to meet these exhilarating challenges and help others working with them do the same." — Susie Tompkins Buell, Cofounder and Chairperson Emeritus, Esprit Clothing Company

More About the Author

As I've pursued a career these last 30 years, the essential question for me has been: "How can I be a Marxist and still own a Jacuzzi?"

My dream has been that I and the next generation of business leaders ' the generation our planet has been waiting for ' would find a way to have a significant impact on making the world a better place for all.

You see, I never really lost the ideals of the '60s. I just wanted material comforts, too. While I detested Western capitalism ' witnessed by my 15-month backpack around the world after college ' I returned to the West Point of Capitalism and even became a marketing professor there.

I spent nearly 20 years at Harvard Business School. A seven-time social entrepreneur, I left Harvard to develop a community of service-minded MBAs, co-founding Net Impact in 1993. I've made 600+ visits to speak at business schools on five continents, for which Business Week magazine dubbed me ' seriously ' -- 'the savior of B-school souls." I've written seven books, most recently More Than Money: Questions Every MBA Needs to Answer, with the animated movie, "The Good Life Parable: An MBA Meets a Fisherman.

I have two daughters, Amanda (1987) and Nicolette (1991), with my wife, since 1981, Joy. They are happy when I'm happy ("What does Daddy do?"... "I think he types."). I've had some business successes, some failures; we bought a big house, almost lost the big house, but somehow I just kept climbing that ladder of success, wrong by wrong.

In '97 I began the book I first tried to write while backpacking around the world, "Making a Life, Making a Living'," which became a New York Times Business Best Seller in January 2000. The morning I learned of the honor, I told my wife, who responded as any good wife would, "Congratulations, honey. Can you pick Amanda up after ballet today?" Or as Amanda said to me at a 2006 family dinner, "If you won the Nobel prize, daddy, I wouldn't love you any more than I already do."

My Favorite "Accomplishments":

1. Skied from base camp at Mount Everest.
2. Snuck into Pele's beach house when he wasn't there.
3. Viewed the Full Moon inside the Taj Mahal at night.
4. Rode a horse across Afghanistan.
5. Met Jacqueline Kennedy while wearing only a Speedo bathing suit.
6. Dove eye to eye alone with a humpback whale at 120 feet.
7. Hugged by Mother Teresa and Ronald Reagan'not at the same time.

Today, the answer to my 30 year-old question is clear: "We are all angels with one wing, able to fly only when we embrace each other." How do I hope to be remembered? I hope as, "He loved." And my generation remembered? As one that was a leaver not a taker, citizens more than consumers.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
As the plane took off, I pulled out the book, began to read and couldn't put it down.
Neil Ducoff
If you feel like you've lost your way, or just need some inspirational words ahead of that next challenge, "True to Yourself" is the book for you.
Michael Ball
If you are a skeptic, the true stories and practical advice Dr. Mark shares might just change that.
Ann V.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hutner on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
True to Yourself: Leading a Values Based Business by Mark Albion

(Berrett-Koehler Publishers-Social Venture Network Series)

In a time when big business has shown its worst side and the general reputation of businessmen is on a par with lawyers in terms of mistrust, reading True to Yourself is like a fresh breeze blowing through a polluted fog. While its easy to point fingers and look at what's wrong which mainstream media does so well, its quite another thing to look at what's right with business and explore the leading edge of business practices based in the integration of head and heart.

Mark Albion was the Marketing Professor at Harvard for fifteen years and was dubbed by Business Week with "the savior of b-school souls." Mark was profiled on 60 Minutes and praised by leaders as diverse as Ronald Reagan and Mother Theresa. He has played business roles including employee, serial entrepreneur, consultant and most recently, the best-selling author of Making a Life, Making a Living and its newsletter read by thousands of subscribers in 87 countries. So Mark knows wherof he speaks. He helped form Students for Social Responsibility which has morphed into Net Imapct a vibrant organization of 7000+ socially responsible MBA's with 120 national chapters. He is a member of the Social Venture Network (, an organization of socially responsible entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

As Warren Buffet recently demonstrated, business is not all about greed. In fact, the tide is turning with the world's largest corporation, Wal-Mart recently hiring a CEO and empowering him to move the company as fast as possible towards becoming sustainable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. J. Hateley on July 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Mark Albion writes with grace, passion, and purpose ... reminding us that we don't need to sell our souls for success nor abdicate our personal/spiritual values in order to make it in the harsh, competitive world of business. It really IS possible to do well by doing good ... and Mark's new book shows us how!

As I was reading "True to Yourself," snippets from some of my favorite songs danced through my head ..... "I Gotta be Me" and "I Did it My Way," among others. In business I have often felt like a peacock in the land of penguins, so the messages of "True to Yourself" resonated deep within me -- reassuring me that not only can I survive as an entrepreneur, I can THRIVE by being authentically myself and holding fast to the values and principles that are important to me.

Anyone who is feeling discouraged by the pressues of business and feeling like you're forced to compromise your ethics, values, and personal beliefs would find "True to Yourself" a breath of fresh air! It should be required reading for all students in Entrepreneur Programs in universities across the country -- beginning with Harvard.

Perhaps the Devil does wear Prada (or Armani) but YOU don't need to -- you can wear your Birkenstocks and build a thriving, successful business!

Mark Albion's new book builds on his previous best-seller and teaches us all how to make a living while building a wonder life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Srikumar S. Rao VINE VOICE on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know Mark Albion and admire what he has done. He was a professor at Harvard Business School and gave that up to devote himself to spreading the message that business is about more than financial metrics. He was instrumental in founding Net Impact and that organization has helped thousands of business school students recognize that there are businesses out there that are genuinely concerned with addressing societal concerns. He has been an entrepreneur and a cheer leader. He publishes a delightful newsletter called ML2 that is crammed full of absolutely delightful quotes. He has advised many very well known entrepreneurs and done a ton of other stuff besides.

This book is easy reading and much of what he extolls seems common sense. Who needs to be told about the necessity for transparency, sustainability and responsibility? However, it never hurts to be reminded of these important concepts that we tend to forget so soon.

The core of the book consists of five chapters where he talks about the important leadership practices of entrepreneurs who are doing things differently. And here is where his book suffers from a flaw that most books of this type share. For example, one of the practices is to "communicate with care". He gives you questions to ask yourself to figure out if you if you are a good communicator and to improve your communication skills. Questions such as "Do you know how your employees like to receive different types of messages?" and "Are you clear and consistent?"

However, he does not tell you how to find out how your employees want to receive messages or how to figure out if employees think you are clear and consistent. So quite a bit of what he says seems important, but does not leave you better equipped to actually do it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric M. Fishman on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just read Mark Albion's True to Yourself. I started in Seatlle and by the time I landed in Chicago I had to keep reading on the train downtown. By the time I was at the hotel, I had finshed the book and committed myself to 3 actions. The next morning I called several colleagues to clarify that they were the leaders and that I was here to help but did not need to be involved in their projects, called my COO and asked him to make sure our next executive team meeting focused on responding to several employee committee reports and reminded myself that a busy travel schedule was not an excuse for not writing thank you notes to staff. Wow! That book kicked me into action. True to Yourself is full of great reminders and practical examples that CEOs need to have put in front of them. This is not a utopian book about a mythical land where businesses are all happy and don't care about profits. Rather, it is a book that reminds us all of the significant returns our businesses and our souls receive when we make choices that align with our values. Full disclosure /transparency-I read this book because I know and really respect Mark and because I am quoted in it. I expected to like the book but my expectation was not to have it spark me into action. It did. Every CEO, executive and manager (not just those that define themselves as socially responsible) should read this book. If you do, it will help you better support your team, beat projections and build a stronger company culture.
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