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Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, December 25, 2012||
at a time when the public reputation of big business has hit a dangerous low, surely the efforts of Messrs. Gates, Porter and Mackeyand even Ms. Nooyito make capitalism better can't be all bad. As the authors put it: "Free market capitalism is one of the most powerful ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to even more. Let's not be afraid to climb higher." Alan Murray, The Wall Street Journal
"... a good read with useful insights for those who are, or aspire to be, entrepreneurial." Pamela Hartigan, Financial Times
Even if you don’t agree with all or most of Mackey and Sisodia’s arguments, their visionessentially, startups for grownupsseems viscerally compelling, and describes the sort of enterprise that I suspect most would love to join.” David Shaywitz, Forbes.com
Had [Mackey and Sisodia’s] application of higher consciousness been in the boardroom a generation ago, we might have avoided the suffocating regulations of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, and the dire straits of companies like General Motors, Sears, Citibank, and even Enron Conscious Capitalism is still an inspiring blueprint for a better world.” Mark Skousen, BARRON’s
Conscious Capitalism is a wonderful book, full of fiery passion and incisive insights. So buy it. Read it. Implement it. It’s a true guide to future.” Steve Denning, Forbes.com
Mackey and Sisodia make a valiant effort to redeem a practice often tainted by greed and corruption and show that if the individuals managing the system commit to conscious capitalism, everyone benefits.” Publishers Weekly
I would place Conscious Capitalism at the top of my list of good readingby far. It's not just the writing; the intent of the book is very good.” Gilda Chan, Senior Merchandising Planner at Vera Bradley
Conscious Capitalism, raises valid points about heroic entrepreneurs’ and conscious companies’ that are butterflies’ as opposed to the normal caterpillar’ companies, focused only on profit optimisation and shareholder value.” Outlook Business (India)
The book is an exceptional guide to best practices in organizational leadership. It is refreshing, high on ideals, and has a fair dose of prescription for creating and operating enterprises with a conscience.” Business World
Conscious Capitalism builds the case for free market enterprise, driven by a purpose other than profit.” Mint (livemint.com)
In stark contrast to today’s often pessimistic view of capitalism, MacKey and Sisodia defend the old principles while simultaneously urging business leaders to transform how they do business. Business cases ... show that companies are perfectly capable of creating more value for all of their stakeholders, from customers, employees, suppliers, and investors to society as whole and the environment. Business Digest (France)
In all the chapters, you’ll find how the effects of having a passionate, inspired team build stakeholder relations at a variety of firms in many industries.” Jim Pawlak, Dallas Morning News
a must-read, with a message especially appropriate for these times of dysfunctional political polarization, with red-state” Republicans over-simplistically depicted as conservative and pro-business and blue-state” Democrats as liberal and anti-business.” Lanny Davis, TheHill.com
Conscious Capitalism is in keeping with the ancient wisdom of India as it views leadership as trusteeship, which is all about focusing on the right actions and not being attached to outcome.” The Economic Times
the most powerful part of Mackey’s message: running a wholesome business doesn’t mean your business has to cut back on profitability. Doing the right thing pays, Mackey writes.” Robert Gratton, Austin Business Journal
Whole Foods co-founder Mackey, writing with economist Sisodia, offers a persuasive paean to free enterprise. Light on ideology and long on thoughtful analysisa good book to hand to the budding entrepreneur in the family.” Kirkus Reviews
Conscious Capitalism demonstrates conclusively that in business, nice guys don’t always finish last. They may finish first.” Anthony J. Sadar, Washington Times
A timely explanation of what is wrong with capitalism and how it can be made right. Recommended for business owners, employees, customers, and investors.” Library Journal
As an HR professional [this book] has helped me realize I need to focus on the business mission and company values to reconcile my professional goals and personal values.” HR Magazine
Like a trip to Whole Foods, you may not buy everything Mackey offers, but overall, the book rings up as good value and good for you.” Associations Now
a superb new book essential reading for every businessman, investor, or lover of a good story. This is a fascinating tale. Read the book. Enjoy the story. And spread the word." Alexander Green, Investment U Chief Investment Strategist, Market Daily News
Conscious Capitalism spells out the practices which Mackey, I and many others believe will restore the trust which has been eroded, both in corporations and markets, and will allow capitalism to continue. I welcome this book and hope asset-managers will take heed.” Hazel Henderson, Seeking Alpha
Thus it is the responsibility of ethical and conscious businesspeople and entrepreneurs to demonstrate to society their important role in the world, what businesses can do for local communities, for families and to solve deep social problems. Conscious capitalism is therefore not only a story worth telling but is a vision of our world worth preserving.” The Classic Libertarian Perspective (Blog)
If you believe in fair, open, and voluntary exchange, you’ll love Mackey’s book. If you don’t believe in those things, you need Mackey’s book.” Hennessy’s View (Blog)
very good, with useful insights on almost every page ” Marc Gunther, Sustainable Business Forum
Conscious capitalism is a refreshing vision of economics that assumes people want more than just money. It’s also a vision that supplements the narrow interests of investors with the broader interests of employees, managers, customers, and the larger community. As the success of Whole Foods demonstrates, it works.” James A. Ogilvy, strategy+business
Conscious Capitalism is a book you will want to share with every business owner, manager, and worker you know.” Jo Ann Skousen, Liberty
an inspiring defense of free enterprise an exceptional guide to best practices in organizational leadership...Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business is a treatise for a cultural revolution.” Wesley Gant, Values and Capitalism, an initiative at the American Enterprise Institute
Conscious Capitalism is [Mackey's] philosophy of how capitalism and good business can - and should - be the driving force of change in the world. Business leaders must be attuned to an 'ethical consciousness', argue the authors, and through this all stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders and society as a whole will benefit.... making the case that companies who take genuine care of their workers and communities and the environment actually end up creating the most profits and long-term shareholder value.” SAPress South Africa
ADVANCE PRAISE for Conscious Capitalism:
From the Foreword: Bill George, bestselling author of True North
This is the book I always wanted to write.”
Howard Schultz, chairman, president, and CEO, Starbucks
I have long believed that companies have a responsibility to balance profitability with a social conscience, yet few leaders have an inherent understanding of just how to do it. In Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia provide a timely, realistic framework so companies can better serve a variety of stakeholders. I highly recommend listening to what they have to say.”
Herb Kelleher, former Chairman and CEO, Southwest Airlines
Conscious Capitalism is a welcome explication and endorsement of the virtues of free-enterprise capitalismproperly comprehended, there is no more beneficial economic systemand a simultaneously pragmatic and inspirational extolment of higher purpose and humanism in business. I hail and revere the tenets of Conscious Capitalism!”
Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons
This book provides the script for a much-needed different narrative for free- enterprise capitalism. Businesses need to be driven by a purpose higher than maximizing profit, and they must ensure optimal benefits to all stakeholders. Only if that happens can capitalism deliver to all humanity the full societal benefits it is capable of.”
Sally Jewell, CEO, REI
By so clearly and thoughtfully articulating the tenets of Conscious Capitalism, Raj and John have helped me understand the power behind the sustainable success in our business, raising my consciousness in guiding REI forward to serve a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards.”
Biz Stone, Cofounder and Creative Director, Twitter
John Mackey’s journey to awakening is an inspiration not just to entrepreneurs, but to anyone who believes in a new definition of success for capitalismone that includes positive societal impact as well as traditional business metrics.”
- ASIN : B00A9WE10Y
- Publisher : Harvard Business Review Press; 1st edition (December 25, 2012)
- Publication date : December 25, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 1160 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #767,081 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Reading about spiritualism in this book was a complete turn-off. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I wish people would stop advising others to "raise their consciousness." No man can wake-up one day and decide to "raise his consciousness." That would be a natural process that would take place and change one from within. The narrator's voice came across as "holier-than-thou." I live in America and the The United States is not a country that embraces an individual's spiritual needs.
"...few people knew much or cared about environmental issues," (Mackey, Sisodia, 2014) indigenous people such as Native Americans have always cared about the environment and the planet.
"What people want in life is to be recognized, to grow and to have made a difference," (Mackey, Sisodia, 2014). The authors should speak for themselves they have no way of knowing what other people want out of life. These are not my goals in life.
"However, when any profession becomes primarily about making money, it starts to lose its true identity and its interests start to diverge from what is good for society as a whole," (Mackey, Sisodia, 2014). Have these men been living under a rock or something? This statement perfectly describes how American Business is conducted today. I love how entrepreneurs become millionaires and tell other people not to focus on money.
On page 54 of the book the authors discuss how employees only care about a paycheck. Of course people care about a paycheck. That was what they have been led to believe. Throughout the course of one's life this was heard: "Graduate high school, go to college and graduate, land a good job and make money and you are set for the rest of your life." Not to mention nowadays people dedicate 40-plus hours to their job. A person will get up to get ready for work, commute to work and work all day long. God-forbid if a person had to run errands after work. A person's entire life will now center on working at a company. That is not living and enjoying life in my humble opinion.
The authors really are not a big fan of Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric.
I did manage to find one great quote in this book, "Leadership and management are not synonymous. Leadership is mostly about change and transformation. Management is about efficiency and implementation," (Mackey, Sisodia, 2014).
This book dragged and it contained entirely too much unnecessary information. This book could have easily been cut in half had it not included so much information that was not pertinent to the subject matter of conscious capitalism. The beginning half of chapter 7 is interesting because it focuses on business matters.
I cannot recommend "Conscious Capitalism," to other readers. Normally, if a book was a dull read, I would advise other readers to check out the book at a library, borrow the book, purchase it dirt cheap at a yard sale or flea market. Please do not waste your time reading, "Conscious Capitalism." This did strike me as a book that was slapped together just to generate revenue through sales.
There are four principles that underpin the practice of Conscious Capitalism: Higher purpose and core values, stakeholder integration; conscious culture and management; and conscious leadership. I am going to focus on the first two.
Author Richard Leider, asks every audience he addresses the following question: What are the two most important days in your life? Most people, he reports, identify the day they were born and an event such as their wedding day. The answer Leider wants them to get to is, obviously the day you are born, but less obviously the day you realize why you were born.
(Pause here and think about this.)
Consider how different your working life would be when it dawns on you that you were born to ensure fairness in business, which is why you are a commercial litigator. You were born to make people’s movement about their cities and country safer and smoother. That is why you are so committed to your work in the Integrated Traffic Systems department of the local roads authority.
When the employees of your company, department or unit, see their work as infused with meaning, you will see a commitment rarely seen elsewhere.
Executive of Medtronics, the world’s largest medical technology company, regularly tell staff: “Your job here is not just to make money for the company; your job is to restore people to full life and health.” To drive this point home six patients are brought to every year-end party to describe about how a Medtronic defibrillator, or a stent, or a spinal surgery with a stimulator has changed their lives.
The Container Store, a hugely successful, multinational chain of stores selling containers, practices Conscious Capitalism. Their purpose is to “help people get organized so that they can lead happier lives.” Cofounder and CEO encourages his sales staff to do everything they can to sell customers products that they might not be aware they need.
He repeats “his lost man in the desert story” at every opportunity. Imagine a man lost for days in the desert, dehydrated, terrified and almost delusional with thirst. He sees you and desperately asks for water. Most people would feel good that they have helped the man by giving him a flask of fresh water. That is all the thirsty man asks for and wants at that moment.
However, there is so much more one can do for him. “He probably has heat exhaustion or sunstroke; he obviously needs a hat and sunscreen; he needs to be re-hydrated. You could call his wife and family and let them know he’s okay, since he’s been missing for days.”
A salesperson whose only focus is to meet target behaves very differently from salesman with a higher purpose. Up-, on- and cross-selling containers is not a way to extract more sales, but a way to get the customer more organized so he can lead a happier life. Purpose-driven salespeople outperform the target driven type across all product groups.
I have emphasised this principle of higher purpose because in my experience with a wide variety of companies in 14 countries, it is the one that seems to “get lost” over time. Often, the founders of the firm where driven by a higher purpose, but without a constant reminders, in a wide variety of ways, (bringing patients to the party or telling stories,) their initial purpose fades or is ambushed by slumps or the race to meet payroll.
It is well worth revisiting the issue of your business’ higher purpose if for no other reason than its economic value.
“Stakeholder integration,” another Conscious Capitalism principle, is a philosophical issue with profound practical consequences.
The stakeholders in any business are the shareholders, the staff, suppliers, the customers or clients, and the community in which the business operates. The common view of stakeholder groups is as a zero-sum game. There is only so much to go around and if staff get increases or suppliers are paid on time, and if contributions are made to the community, someone must get less.
The “Conscious” part of the book’s title “Conscious Capitalism, refers to wider and deeper understanding of how the world really works. People who are not highly conscious, think narrowly and in short time-frames. The do not see the whole picture and they do not see consequences.
When stakeholders are seen as an integrated whole, and this collective is not viewed in terms of a zero-sum game, we know we have to think win-win, and be highly creative.
If staff feel underpaid they will be disgruntled so they may work with less enthusiasm. This leads to lower profits of shareholders, and less satisfied customers. Businesses run on Conscious Capitalism principles outperform businesses based on other economic models.
The business is not mechanical it is organic. Every part affects every other part because each part is connected and interdependent.
There is much food for thought in this wise book. It deserves a slow read.
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
Feels at times like a book written by a guru. So four stars. Four very well deserved stars.
Then, I started realizing that businesses are part of a much bigger ecosystem which include the Planet and Society.
This book is humbling, tranquilizer, and visionary. Let's change together our destiny!
Top reviews from other countries
I must declare a bias: I am a real fan of the ideas presented here, and I have met both authors.
But trying to put that to one side, I still think it is a great book.
It is very thorough, very complete, and like my colleague Will McInnes' book Culture Shock: A Handbook For 21st Century Business it is full of practical advice and suggestions on building a different type of business.
It is clearly written, full of good stories and quotes. It also seems to include a good measure of honesty - as when John Mackey describes the problems he had with the SEC.
It is ideological, yes, but I think that is what we need right now. There's a lot of talk in business about disruption, and how business should respond, but this book sets out the beginnings of an intellectual and emotional framework for business in the 21st century.
Umair Haque's Betterness: Economics for Humans (Kindle Single) also comes to mind.
After an introduction, which aims to reset the narrative of business, the book is broken into several sections on making practical changes to the way a business works:
- Higher Purpose
- Stakeholder Integration
- Conscious Leadership
- Conscious Culture and Management
The book pulls together a lot of thinking from a range of very diverse sources. That is the whole point I suppose: to bring topics such as economics, sustainability, business management, psychology and systems thinking together. Indeed, the authors aren't afraid to mix words like love and care in with the kind of terminology (innovation, collaboration, decentralisation) you will read in many modern books on business management.
There are lots of practical examples and stories from Whole Foods Market. That company is obviously better known in the US than the UK, and there is a notable lack of any European examples (John Lewis, the Co-op, Cadburys etc). But as founder and CEO, John Mackey has been through most of the major decisions that need to be made in setting up and growing a large, listed company.
Once or twice I had a bit of a sharp intake of breath.
The term "free-enterprise capitalism" personally reminds me of "free market capitalism", in the style of Reagan and Thatcher. Something to which I have an instinctive and somewhat negative reaction. But, after a moment, I reminded myself to suspend a little, remember that I am not an economic theorist or expert, and read on.
And their real point is that capitalism generally has given itself a very bad name with the people who should be supporting it - those of us who believe in freedom for individuals and also in sharing, giving etc.
The other slight intake of breath came when Margaret Thatcher is listed amongst a list of leaders with high integrity, including Gandhi and other personal heroes. Again personally, I found this hard to take.
But again the truth is this is probably more about my biases and prejudices than anything else. And a good book, I believe, should challenge one's thinking, not just confirm one's prejudices. I resolved to dig out a biography and do some deeper research.
The book ends with sections on starting a conscious business, and transforming to become one.
An appendix covers the business case for Conscious Capitalism - including reference to Raj Sisodia's work on Firms of Endearment and a comparison with the "Good to Great" companies. This, in my view, is a very strong and compelling financial case.
Another appendix gives a very useful list of similar, related approaches (such as sustainable business, B-corporations etc), and explains why conscious capitalism is different.
In a final section, which contains a call to action, I was pleased to see a reference to Tom Paine, author of Common Sense and the Rights of Man. These, at the time, were seditionary works. They stirred people up.
This book is similar - some will hate it, but the mixture of emotion and intellect is powerful. Which is important, because, as the authors say, there's no time to waste.
Overall, this is a manifesto for a new type of business. Or, if you simply want to find out what Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Business are all about, this is a great starting point.
It is a big book as well as a great book. It will take you a while to read. But in my view it is really worth the effort.
The rub is that conscious capitalism only makes sense when you have become sufficiently conscious to understand what it means. Until you do the work on your self and become more aware and more conscious - you will never really be aligned with these ideas, and if you are not aligned, your business will not become a conscious business.
This is not another smart consultants fad (although many will try to jump on the bandwagon), it is a way of furthering the cause of human well being in all its forms - and we so desperately need this focus after centuries of serving the "Master" or the "Machine" .
Please read this book and absorb the ideas so that you feel as well as understand the message.
Mackey redefines what it means to be a successful business. Traditionally, a successful business is one that makes large amounts of money for its shareholders. Conscious Capitalism offers the alternative of a business that sees synergy (rather than conflict) between stakeholders (including shareholders, customers and the wider society). Underscoring this is the concept of a successful business being one that understands its purpose. A purpose-driven business, then, should make profits, but that is not its purpose, merely a side benefit. This paradigm shift in thinking helps businesses to see socially beneficial activity as an integral part of their operation rather than an addendum or compromise.
Although Mackey refers to the experience at Whole Foods and other large international conscious businesses, this book is applicable to the small one-man-band business as it is to the large corporation, and is an inspiring read for anyone who is in business for more than just earning a living.