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

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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

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Product Details

  • Series: Social Venture Network Series
  • Paperback: 171 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (July 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753781
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,093,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 (svn.org), 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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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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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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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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