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The Hungry Spirit: New Thinking for a New World: Beyond Capitalism - A Quest for Purpose in the Modern World Paperback – 3 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; Revised edition (3 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009922772X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099227724
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Hungry Spirit, by esteemed British business guru Charles Handy, is an extraordinarily eloquent and original treatise on the discomfort that many feel as a result of the overriding quest for corporate profit and personal advancement. Offering a carefully considered and compelling alternative vision, the book challenges the status quo on everything from capitalism and organization to goal-setting and morality. With nods to Kant, Keynes, Sartre and Drucker, The Hungry Spirit is not your usual business tome, but that, of course, is part of Handy's plan.

Review

"The Hungry Spirit is the distillation of a lifetime’s experience, a personal recipe for what we have to do to survive in a capitalist society." (People Management)

"The Hungry Spirit is a wide-ranging examination of business and social problems … shrewd, scholarly, thoughtful analysis." (Modern Management)

"Charles Handy is Britain’s only world-class management guru." (Director)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By daniel_n_smith@hotmail.com on 22 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
A brilliant and insightful text on learning to control and live with the dangerous but highly beneficial animal that is "Capitalism". I had to read it twice, partly for pure enjoyment and partly to fully appreciate the concepts and ideas that Charles was championing. A must read for anyone that has an interest in the politics of economics and the workplace. Charles raises many interesting points that deserve or demand consideration. Charles has a brilliant and extremely readable style of writing that draws you in to his world as if he were chatting to you over a few drinks. This book certainly deserves a place on your shelf and his ideas a place in your life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Late Reader on 13 July 2010
Format: Paperback
As a management visionary Charles Handy is very impressive. I found the idea of the citizen company intriguing. As a social critic he is very eclectic and we are on the whole treated with a hotch potch of ideas, borrowed from numerous sources. Basically he is an old fashioned liberal conservative and from this point of view he reflects 10 years or so ahead of its time the type of Conservatism propounded by the current Tory leadership in the UK today.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Parkinson on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
If you have a serious interest in business or economics then don't read this book. It's one of the worst books on business that I've ever read. Arguing from a position of ignorance is never acceptable. Charles Handy dismisses evolution as mechanical determinism without even bothering to research the subject. He says things like "It is this self-awareness that allows us to develop the idea of progress, an idea which scientists agree is not naturally there in the process of evolution". The evidence that he uses to support this assertion is a conversation that he had with a friend over a bottle of wine on an Italian terrace.

As a scientist with a special interest in evolutionary processes, I can say that he's completely wrong. "Most scientists" don't hold these views and most scientists would probably like to state their own views rather than being misrepresented. Evolution is an information process of learning and therefore not fundamentally deterministic or materialist. In fact the ability to measure information gain by evolutionary process is a major advance of the 20th century. In lay terms, evolutionary processes are analogous to progress. This is the opposite of Charles Handy's clichéd representation of nature/nurture. Evolution evolves new ways of learning (e.g. intelligence) and this is sometimes called meta-evolution. A failure to understand evolution may be forgiveable but not the lack of understanding of the history of growth theory. Failure to understand evolution also indicates a failure to understand Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, Robert Solow and Paul Romer. From a so-called business guru, this is an unforgivable lack of research.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
Handy has yet again challenged the norm and produced critiques and ideas that are both thought provoking and inspiring. A must for business professionals and students.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Thought Provoking! 24 Dec. 2000
By kkant@singnet.com.sg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mr Handy has some very thought provoking ideas about capitalism, work and meaning of life. It was his 'Personal Preface' that attracted me to buy the book. As he said in the conclusion, "Life without hope is dismal."; I wanted to find out what he meant. In Part A of the book he talks about the impact of capitalism on the capitalist society . He explores the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the marketplace and competition. It is in Part B where the main substance of the book is. It is about the self and how individuals should respond. He profiles the changing world of work over the years and its impact on individuals. In reading the section on self-knowledge and self-awareness, I found the 'obituary exercise' took a new meaning in the context of what I had read; although I had done this exercise several times previously. Learning to live with others and discovering connectivity with society is an important aspect of living. This is very vividly brought out by Mr Handy. It is here I found hope that we could live more meaningful lifes. In Part C, there are some possible solutions to the dilemmas we face. It is in this part, Mr Handy elaborates on the 7 cardinal principles of trust. In the context of career management, the idea of of a school for life and work is a valuable concept. His chapter on the role of government mentions about the I's - information, involvement, individuality and infrastructure. He concludes in the epilogue with seven trends and indicators for the future. I would consider the book as required reading for anyone who wants to add value or meaning to their life, actively contribute to society or is interested in people. Unknown to us, I think all us have a 'Hungry Spirit' within us. Mr Handy's book may meet some of this hunger!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The bottom line won't feed your soul 26 Jan. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Capitalism improves the lives of people more effectively than any other economic system. But the underlying principles of capitalism, efficiency and the bottom line, are too widely applied says the author. We are exhorted nowadays to run everything, even our personal lives, like a business. The problem is that the mandates of your life, and even many industries, like healthcare and social services, fall outside the basic structure of capitalist economics. Capitalism can provide wealth and comfort for people and institutions, but it cannot provide a meaning to their existence. People want more than money, says the author, they also hunger to make the best of themselves. The answer is to become "properly selfish." To be properly selfish means to reach beyond economics and find a true purpose to your life, to satisfy yourself by helping others, and building a legacy you can be proud of.

Charles Handy has the following advice for those seeking to add true meaning and richness to their lives:

· Know when to say "enough." Eventually, more wealth doesn't add value to your life, it just accumulates.

· Create the sublime. Make room in your life for things that lift your spirit like music and art.

· Reach for immortality. Find a way to leave something positive behind for the generations that will come after you.

· Help employees achieve their dreams. Give them a vision, a reason to feel passionate about their work.

· Treat your employees as citizens. Today, companies are more often a collection of people, not things.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
If you have been split too thin in any business, read it. 25 Mar. 1999
By cyrus@hermes.com.tw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Don't complete your reading too fast with this article. Take a break from time to time, for reflection within you now and then. You may discover something meaningful, which existed, yet faded away with your busy life.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully challenging 7 Mar. 2002
By Marc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Handy is an incredible author. Reading this book was like sitting at the feet of one of the elders at the gate. He's incredible insightful and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Handy's Best Work .... A Gem of a Masterpiece 15 Mar. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Charles Handy is one of the most literate and eloquent writers in the English language. A lifetime of business experience and a tremendous intellectual depth make his books a tremendous pleasure to read. I've always found his books about 10 years prescient of profound trends in society. The Hungry Spirit gave me an important insight into interesting books I have not read, spiritual insights I had not yet confronted and in the end, a glimpse of spiritual strength I have not yet achieved. A rare and beautiful book. Scholars for several decades will look back on publication of this book as an important event.
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