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The Manager and the Monk: A Discourse on Prayer, Profit, and Principles Hardcover – 10 May 2013


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Review

[The Manager and the Monk] reassures and awakens readers to life and business choices that celebrate generosity, honesty, and authenticity.
SUCCESS Magazine

The Manager and The Monk is a book for leaders who aspire to evolve their way of thinking and acting by keeping an open mind, to make for a better world.
Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group

The Manager and the Monk is a great example of the new partnership between matter and Spirit, business and spirituality, effectiveness and meaning. This is where we must go!
Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author, Falling Upward and Immortal Diamond

The Manager and the Monk, scaling very different pyramids of success, meet at a single summit in the same world a world of competition, but also of heightened awareness, hope, and wonder.
John Elkington, cofounder, SustainAbility and Volans; coauthor,The Power of Unreasonable People

The Manager and the Monk is a vibrant, beautifully articulated, and stunningly fresh narrative that takes you on a unique literary adventure that can′t but help to leave you inspired. Not only does it allow for an intimate insight into the world of two extraordinary characters, but it also masterfully articulates the processes we will all require, if we are to learn to sculpt a more positive outcome towards our collective future.
David de Rothschild, founder, Sculpt the Future Foundation, and author,The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook and Plastiki

From the Inside Flap

When Jochen Zeitz and Anselm Grn first met onstage in 2008 as "the manager and the monk," Zeitz was CEO and chairman of PUMA and Father Grn was a monk serving as cellarer, the business manager of his Benedictine abbey. They came together to discuss their shared goal: what it means to lead and manage responsibly and sustainably in today′s shifting world.

Available for the first time in English, The Manager and the Monk features topical essays and dialogues inspired by their ongoing series of conversations.

Touching on the most pressing challenges facing any business today, both Zeitz and Grn draw deeply on the stories and lessons of their managerial and spiritual backgrounds. Zeitz served as the youngest CEO of a publicly–listed company in German history, transforming PUMA from an ailing brand into a multibillion–dollar powerhouse and developing PUMA′s trailblazing "Environmental Profit and Loss Account," an award–winning corporate sustainability initiative. As the business manager of the Mnsterschwarzach Abbey in Germany, Grn was responsible for the economic administration of the abbey, its 300 employees, and 20 businesses.

What truly unites them, however, is a keen interest in exploring the spiritual and ethical dimensions of their work. Both manager and monk call on sources as diverse as the Bible, contemporary religious thought, and psychological theory to explore provocative questions on a variety of topics, such as:

  • When we speak of corporate "culture" what does that have to do with "culture" in society at large?
  • Can a business simultaneously embrace spiritual values while delivering shareholder value?
  • Are there lessons in the way we should manage natural resources for how we should manage people?

Rich with insights on spirituality, values, and sustainability in business, The Manager and the Monk is a thoughtful exploration and impassioned plea for how to manage responsibly in the modern world.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 28 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Can Business, Ethics and Spirituality Mix? 16 July 2013
By L. M. Keefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are wondering if business, ethics and spirituality intersect, this book claims they do. This book deserves praise for originality and for offering a fresh, much-needed look at the meshing of business, ethics and spirituality.

The CEO of the sports lifestyle provider PUMA may seem like an unlikely partner for a dialogue with a monk who manages a Benedictine abbey. Turns out the CEO and Cellarer (business manager) of the abbey are passionate about many of the same topics: success, prosperity, culture, values, acting ethically, the environment, commerce, sustainability, strengths and weaknesses, responsibility and awareness.

Some of the intriguing ideas in this book - you will enjoy finding your own:

* Every person has to find a balance between material and nonmaterial prosperity.

* C. G. Jung maintained that affluence has a tendency to amplify a person's mask, and can cause that individual to cut himself off from his soul and center his life entirely on money and riches, with the result that he becomes empty within.

* We could establish indicators for companies that integrate environmental and social issues, such as the ... Global Sustainability Index.

* There is a divine space in each person that is not subject to worldly power.

* Our conscience shows us whether we are handling money properly - whether we are letting it take the place of God, or keeping God as our focal point with money merely serving to regulate life well.

* There are three basic aspects of the economy which we must consider: what it takes, what it produces, and what it wastes.

* Today I see at least three important social fields in which companies should be active as models: ethics, awareness of responsibility and sustainability.

One quote I disagreed with: "The children of this generation, the baby boomers, thought it would continue like this, always progressing upward, without any exertion on their part. They were sated and lethargic, and had forgotten that we have to work for prosperity."

As a baby boomer, when I look at my life and those of my contemporaries I know, we've worked as hard, if not harder, than my parents' generation. Most of the women in this generation worked outside of the home, in addition to parenting. Our parents lived longer than previous generations, so we're helping to take care of them in addition to working. Who are the most admired poster boys for our baby boomer generation? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? Wouldn't call them slackers, sated or lethargic. It could be argued we've been too workaholic and neglected our cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual development.

If you are interested in a thoughtful discussion on why it's important to incorporate ethics and values in business - and some actions to do so - you should find the articulate conversation in this book of interest. Would love a list of action steps for companies by these authors on how to integrate these, with more examples of other companies who are doing so. I hope this book will, and these individuals, will keep the conversation going.
4.5 stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Profoundly Transformative Book 19 May 2013
By Ram Nidumolu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've now read this book a couple of times and have come away with an even deeper appreciation for how profound and imaginative it is. It is a most unusual book at the intersection of business, spirituality, and a sustainable world. It is imaginative because it contrasts two completely different worlds (a monastery and a global business) and two completely different leaders (a monk and a CEO) through reflective conversation. From these seemingly profound differences, it draws out the great similarities and underlying truths that are common to our different ways of living and being.

These profound truths are explored in a variety of themes: What does success and prosperity really mean for business as well as individually? How does being differ from having or seeming, especially in a business setting? How can culture embody an authentic way of being in business that is also pragmatic? What are the great values that should embody great companies? How can they be made manifest through practice in business? What does it mean to act ethically in a corporate setting? How can we embody ethics in our everyday interactions? How can we become aware of the environment in which our companies and our institutions are embedded? What are the limits of our commercial activities and what are the consequences of our insatiable consumption? What can companies and business leaders do to create a more sustainable world? How can we become aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and our responsibilities in business? The book fittingly ends with the ways in which we can expand our awareness of who we are and where our world is going.

In providing deeply illuminating answers to these questions, the authors explore and examine the contrasting currents that lie underneath: God and mammon, idealism and pragmatism, strength and weakness, action and reflection, growth and destruction, material prosperity and spiritual wealth, and many others. What the book provides is a way to not just reconcile these different dialectics, but to create a shared vision that can guide a new worldview. It is a worldview that is much needed today where the world of business is colliding with our internal world and the world of nature.

I can think of one word that expresses this new way of living and being in the world: Zeitzgeist.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Business meets Christian 25 July 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Grun (Benedictine) and Zeitz (PUMA) put together an interesting meld of business and quasi-Christian wisdom.

At first I did not like the format. They alternate writing an introduction to each subject (chapter) then take turns discussing the matter. The format came across as unwieldy but it makes sense for what they seemed to be trying to accomplish.

At times they build off each other and at times they disagree. Subject matters include success, prosperity, culture, values, acting ethically, the environment, commerce, sustainability, strengths and weaknesses, responsibility, and awareness.

No doubt people will disagree with the theology or what might seem like extreme views. But the insight is interesting to process. My suspicion is that disagreeing (or not liking the content) is fine with the writers since this is supposed to be a discussion, and the reader is invited to participate.

I think the chapter on culture is worth the price of the book. Zeitz gives a road map for how he changed the PUMA corporate culture (practical, motivational, psychological, essence). Zeitz politely challenges the concept of "vision" (individual) and opts instead for "culture" (group). Grun then suggest religion is the constant thread to "culture."

Read it, think about it, argue with it... that's what it's designed to do.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Lacked Specifics and Examples 28 Jun. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I blame the editors for the problems found in this book. The content itself was fine and unobjectionable, with a heavy emphasis on environmentalism. But (and this is a huge "but") there was no genuine content. If I were to take every excerpt of every example that the authors used to make their points, I could put those excerpts easily on two pages. In other words, there are essentially no examples of how they themselves have applied their abstract concepts. As a result, it is almost impossible to know what they truly mean. (Sometimes I wondered if they had any idea what they meant!)

In addition, a book without examples makes for deadly dull reading. Even though this book is short (about 175 pages), I finished it only because I felt an obligation to do so, due to my receipt of the book as a Vine member.

Occasionally, Mr. Zeitz hints at examples. For instance, he discusses PUMAVision, his company's move from being strictly a shoe company to a lifestyle company, and PUMA's ethics policies, but these discussions are so high level that they lack virtually any content.

There were a few true examples that the authors presented that would have made excellent case studies. For example, Mr. Zeitz mentioned (in a sentence or two) that he directed PUMA to conduct business only in English, despite the fact that the PUMA headquarters was in Germany and that many employees did not speak English. The reason for this policy change was never truly provided, but it was implied that Mr. Zeitz wanted the company to become more international in outlook. I was very curious to learn how this policy was developed: who made the decision? how was the decision reached? how was it communicated? what timetable was used for the transition? what happened to non-English-speakers -- were they dismissed, given a time period to learn English, or moved to other positions? what did it mean to move to English only -- could employees have casual conversations in German, how were visitors to the facility greeted, did everyone carry around an German-English dictionary for the first few months? how did the policy affect morale and business? This policy decision could easily have filled 10 pages of the book and would have greatly helped me understand Mr. Zeitz's business philosophy.

Father Anselm also offered an example, again limited to only a sentence or two. Father Anselm writes that the abbey decided to outsource its laundry function to save money, though this move was controversial. I wanted to know: who made the decision, what process was used to make the decision, how was it communicated (as a fait accompli or one of many options), what was the timetable for the change, how were objections handled (Father Anselm does discuss this issue in very general terms), was money actually saved, what were the long-term effects for the abbey in terms of brotherly relations and morale?

I also wanted to learn about the organizations. While Mr. Zeitz spoke more about PUMA than Father Anselm did about his abbey, Mr. Zeitz's comments about PUMA were so vague (and, frankly, self-congratulatory) that I do not think that I have very much genuine knowledge about it. How are the abbey and PUMA organized? Who has the power (decision-making authority) for various levels of decisions? What does the decision-making process look like -- process, communication, after-the-fact evaluation, etc.? I would have been interested to understand the different authority that the Cellarer has compared to the Abbot. (I did appreciate Father Anselm's descriptions of St. Benedict's rule.)

Finally, I wanted to know about the people. In an organization as large as PUMA, there has to be dozens of people who contributed (negatively and positively) to Mr. Zeitz's efforts at PUMA. Mr. Zeitz never mentions even one of those people, except to mention that, when he would be promoted, that meant that someone else sometimes had been discharged (though the reason for the dismissal is not mentioned). Father Anselm mentions his Abbot once in passing, and he states that he manages 300 people -- who are they and what the unique issues with managing those particular people? I can understand the authors not wanting to embarrass colleagues, but surely composite characters could have been constructed. Management is about teamwork and interpersonal relationships, but there is nary a hint of that in this book (except in the platitudes, which make up most of the book).

I have no doubt that Mr. Zeitz and Father Anselm are fascinating men who have a great deal to tell me about business principles, but one cannot glean this information from their book. I do not feel that I know Mr. Zeitz at all. I liked and respected Father Anselm, but again my knowledge of him is also quite limited. (The reader does not receive even basic biographical information about either author.)

For these reasons, I do not recommend this book, though I plan to read other books by Father Anselm.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Erudite discussion of a wide range of topical issues. 4 July 2013
By Christine Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Zeitz and Father Grun have successfully covered a wide range of philosophical and ethical issues from the perspective of business but of interest to any reflective person. The book, which has been concisely captured in 208 pages, is insightful and though provoking. It is encouraging that it gives voice to high ideals that are succinctly captured in Mr. Zeitz' mantra of "fair, honest, positive and creative", without discounting the practical realities of everyday commerce that may present themselves as hurdles - whether in a multinational profit making concern or in a self-sustaining abbey.

I would be pleased to see the book as required reading, especially for business students. To this end one would hope that efforts are underway to include it on the curriculum of tertiary level institutions around the world.

If I have a criticism of the book it is that the conversation ended too quickly for this reader. But perhaps it is best to leave the reader wanting more and looking forward to the next installment... Meanwhile, this "discourse on prayer, profit, and principles" provides a challenge to readers to find ways that they too can be part of the solution.
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