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Z.B.A.: Zen of Business Administration - How Zen Practice Can Transform Your Work And Your Life Paperback – January 21, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (January 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577314697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577314691
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"I love this book. It is profoundly simple. It is understandable and accessible — a powerful way to integrate life and work." — Eileen Fisher, clothing designer and president of Eileen Fisher, Inc.

"Marc Lesser's book illuminates his two-tiered life history — as Zen adept and business entrepreneur — with a skillfully woven fabric of Buddhist teachings and personal stories. I loved reading about his triumphs and tribulations in both spheres. This is how it really is, in Zen and in business. May his readers learn and prosper from Marc's hard-won wisdom!" — Lewis Richmond, author of Work as a Spiritual Practice

"ZBA is a wake-up call for any entrepreneur who seeks self-knowledge, life balance, and boundless vitality. You’ll save yourself years of practice just by contemplating the provocative questions at the end of every chapter." — Will Rosenzweig, former president and CEO of The Republic of Tea and coauthor of The Republic of Tea: How an Idea Becomes a Business

"I have long realized that among spiritual paths Zen is uniquely suited to application in the world of work. The way is right there at your fingertips, not complicated, but it does require a guide, someone who knows Zen practice — and the ins and outs of real-world business. In ZBA Marc Lesser has managed with elegant and honest lucidity to point to a Zen way of working. This book isn't Zen in ten easy steps: it's a reliable companion for the path." — Norman Fischer, former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and author of Taking Our Places

"There is an urgent need for all of us to walk our faith in the marketplace. Z.B.A. Zen of Business Administration by Marc Lesser will surely help. Read, rejoice, and start practicing." — Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager® and The Secret

"Marc does a brilliant job blending the spiritual and the practical in a likeable style of simplicity, genuineness, and self-deprecating humor. His book shows us how the philosophies and practices of Zen will give us resilience in the face of challenges, win the hearts and minds of employees, customers and business partners, and deliver a unique kind of competitive edge in the world of business." — Minh Le, president of The Wilfred Jarvis Institute

"In a world of intense competition and drive for short-term profits, Marc Lesser brings a new and vital message. The world of work is not about profits, promotions, bonuses, and self-interested behavior. True work is the art of living life—a life of vitality, of completeness, of interdependence with our fellow workers, our environment, our loved ones, and most important with ourselves." —John Oliver Wilson, retired executive vice president and chief economist of Bank of America


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Customer Reviews

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The format of the book easy to read.
Carol Wysocki
His book is simply about the process of bringing Zen wisdom to the everyday stresses and strains of business life.
Bruce Feldman
I appreciate him sharing his wisdom with all of us, and allowing us to learn from him.
Barbara E. Disco

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Feldman on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the first chapter of his book, author Lesser asserts "We are all Zen students, We are all Businesspeople." He is in an interesting position to know. A long-term Zen adept and now Zen priest, Lesser is fully immersed in the rich tradition of Zen practice. But, the monk made an interesting turn some 20 years ago. After 10 years of full-time monk existence, in 1983 Lesser decided to go to the big Apple and obtain and MBA degree. Then he founded his own small business, Brush Dance, which he ran as its CEO for 15 years.

Lesser is the CEO-Zen Monk, the MBA-Priest. His book is simply about the process of bringing Zen wisdom to the everyday stresses and strains of business life. Have you ever wondered how the spiritually enlightened businessman would deal with cash flow problems? Read this book. How about firing people? Negotiating with creditors? Raising capital? Dealing with vendors, computer systems, licenses and leases? How would the spiritually enlightened businessman deal with these issues? Read this book.

Of course be careful and "mindful" of what you expect. The venerable Zen saying goes: "Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water; after enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water". Following author Lesser's lead, we might say "Before enlightenment, doing payroll and calling on customers; after enlightenment, doing payroll and calling on customers."

For us ordinary folk, Lesser's book is a reminder of the traps of our own making and a "survival guide" for our own extrication. Of course, we will be back in the same traps soon enough, but the value of the momentary release is not to be underestimated.

Z.B.A. is about listening, awareness, humor, the wonder of failure and the danger of success. Go for it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on June 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"We are all Zen students. We are all businesspeople." This is how the first section of this book opens. As for me, I am a Manager. Also I am a person in search for answers in my spiritual life, and I am seeking into Buddhism for those answers. This combination led me to read by pure accident an ad on Shambhala Sun magazine (highly recommendable, if you are into Buddhism, by the way) that featured Marc Lesser's Z.B.A. I ordered it and it didn't take long for me to get hooked on it.

Walking the reader through means of achieving the Buddhist Eightfold Path while at work, the book offers a refreshing perspective on how to bridge the gap between our "work lives" and our "personal lives", if such a dychotomy makes any sense whatsoever. A good example of how these two things are in essence one and the same is what Lesser makes of the purpose of Zen: "The purpose of Zen and the purpose of business practice is to develop and open, flexible mind, a mind that can deal with a world that is both solid and completely impermanent."

In the end, there are so many fascinating elements proposed by the author, that I cannot avoid but to feel sorry for having finished the book. I almost feel like re-reading it, and I do recommend that you check it out.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara E. Disco on February 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
ZBA was a pleasure to read! I felt moved to laughter, to tears, and to deep introspection. Marc Lesser has accomplished the tremendous feat of bringing heart and soul to the business world. I learned so much practical wisdom for my work life, as well as, precious lessons about life. He is a guiding light and inspiration for us all. We need more role models like him in our culture. I appreciate him sharing his wisdom with all of us, and allowing us to learn from him. I highly recommend this book for anyone searching to find more meaning in work and in life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Gardner on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
One evening when my daughter Erin was young, and I was unusually grumpy, she looked up at me and asked, "Daddy, have you been meditating?" We both laughed and it has become a family joke ever since. Of course I hadn't been meditating. The demands of work and the rest of life had pushed my practice into the background and she noticed. My lack of patience with her, my lack of presence, was only too obvious and she called me on it.

What I realized then is that practice was changing my life, my family life and my work life too. When I practiced interactions with employees were less strained. I didn't respond so quickly out of habit and was able to deal with the ups and downs of daily business life with less effort and emotional repercussion. I was a better businessperson.

Zen is content agnostic. It isn't about family life, or work, or motorcycle maintenance, gardening, or grooming, which is why I sometimes chafe when I see the word Zen put next to some new preoccupation.

This almost kept me from ordering Marc Lesser's book Z.B.A., which would have been a loss because he's the real deal, a devoted Zen student and priest who is also an accomplished businessperson. He draws from both disciplines and we see through his candid revelations how someone who has been transformed by Zen deals with business struggles, disappointments and change. This is the living essence of right livelihood.

Now I see that some are disappointed that there isn't more business focus here. The title, with its play on MBA does suggest a master level business course, but this book is about much more than that.

My daughters are grown now and are working and I regularly listen to their worklife dilemmas, their commitments and how and where they hold back.
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