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Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business Hardcover – 15 Jan 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (15 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422144208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422144206
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Conscious Capitalism is full of thoughtful insights and original observations that could help organisations from start-ups to multinationals become better at creating financial and social wealth for all their stakeholders... I recommend it to entrepreneurs and investors everywhere -- I strongly suspect it will be one of the outstanding business books of the year." -- Luke Johnson, Financial Times " a time when the public reputation of big business has hit a dangerous low, surely the efforts of Messrs. Gates, Porter and Mackey--and even Ms. Nooyi--to 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 vision--essentially, startups for grownups--seems viscerally compelling, and describes the sort of enterprise that I suspect most would love to join." -- David Shaywitz, "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, "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 reading--by 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 ( 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, "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 analysis--a 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 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 capitalism--properly comprehended, there is no more beneficial economic system--and 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 capitalism--one that includes positive societal impact as well as traditional business metrics."

About the Author

John Mackey is co-CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market and cofounder of the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc. He has devoted his life to selling natural and organic foods and to building a better business model. Dr. Rajendra (Raj) Sisodia is cofounder and trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and professor of marketing at Bentley University. He has authored seven books, including Firms of Endearment.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia make a number of affirmations with which I wholly agree. For example of what they characterize as "Conscious Capitalism": for profit business initiatives "galvanized by higher purposes that serve and align the interests of all major stakeholders; businesses with conscious leaders who exist in service to the company's purpose, the people it touches, and the planet" and which conduct business "with resilient, caring cultures that make working there a source of great joy and fulfillment."

Presumably they agree with me that it is no coincidence that, each year, most of the companies ranked by Fortune magazine among the most highly admired and best to work for are also ranked among those most profitable and having the greatest cap value in their respective industry segments.

I also agree with Mackey and Sisodia concerning the process (the "HOW") by which business leadership at all levels and in all areas (including but by no means limited to the C-suite) can "liberate the heroic spirit of business." As they explain, "the sad reality is that for too long, business has [as have its leaders] been stuck in a defensive and reactive posture. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople are the heroes of our modern world, yet they have been caricatured as heartless and soulless mercenaries." That's true but what is much more significant, in my opinion, is the fact that business leaders are only now beginning to understand and [begin italics] appreciate [end italics] the importance of getting the values, hopes, dreams, and goals of workers in proper alignment with those of the given enterprise. To a significant extent, in recent decades, it has been the spirit of the workers that has needed liberation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Mackey and Raj Sisodia describe the challenges and the hope for all organisations and businesses as we forge deeper into the 21st Century. The good news for business is that making profits is a good thing (an essential thing) and really serves humanity (as well as the shareholders).
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At Whole Foods, John Mackey created a new way of doing business that has proved as successful as it is revolutionary. In this book, Mackey describes the tenets of the Conscious Capitalism movement he has helped develop. He presents business as a heroic endeavour, with the power to change the world for the better. He argues that business has always had the power to do good for society, but that free-market Capitalism has erroneously been associated with corrupt forms of enterprise focused solely on making profit for shareholders. By being more 'conscious' of the real place and benefit of business in society, we are able to bring our businesses in line with this ideal.

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.
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