Customer Reviews

3 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Performance, 11 July 2013
Jonathan Reams "Jonathan Reams" (Trondheim, Norway) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity (Columbia Business School Publishing) (Kindle Edition)
For almost twenty years I've been drawn to the notion that true leadership in business is about the transformation of consciousness. In writing a Ph.D. around this subject, I found a great deal of literature exploring this topic and related subjects such as developmental psychology, transpersonal psychology, leadership studies and transformative learning. The complexity of all of this could seem overwhelming, yet somehow I knew there must be a simplicity on the other side of it.

On a long flight I took recently I read through Turak's Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. In it I found readable stories linked to principles that touched me to the core. More than that, they inspired me to tell colleagues that this is how I wanted us to run our new business. It is all well and good to talk about being purpose driven, yet it demands putting those aspirations into practice. This book is a treasure trove of how this can be done.

Out of all that I found useful in the book, three things stood out for me as representing essential distillations of the most important things I had learned from my own experience and doing my Ph.D. The first is that the core business of the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey is service and selflessness. While much is written about servant leadership, the more profound meaning of this orientation only becomes apparent when you hear the stories of how the monks gave of themselves in ways that inspire the best of being human.

The second thing that stood out for me was detachment. It is set as the antidote for identification, which is easy to get caught up in. How often do we identify with our accomplishments, role, position or even sense of power? All of these limit our ability to lead and to inspire performance in others. Detachment becomes the principle to generate the selflessness described above. It takes us out of our identifications, our limitations; the myths that trap us firmly in their clutches. Detachment brings freedom to inspire and lead by serving a higher purpose.

The third thing is about the transformation of being. While transformations of condition and circumstance can be motivators for performance, they cannot match the power that transformation of being brings to generating business performance. Whether conscious of it or not, we all crave a sense of meaning in our lives and in our work. Given the opportunity to have our work touch the core of our being, we can be inspired to perform well beyond what the call of duty or a paycheck can provide.

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks is a gem, showing us the path of authenticity so much sought after in leadership today. Listen deeply and let the lessons between the lines seep into your soul.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A LOT better than expected, 28 Jun 2013
I. Darren (Fi) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is a title that will stop you momentarily as you scan through a shelf of books. What do Trappist monks have to do with business? Is this some form of ecclesiastical wordplay?

Yet the world of work is key to the rule of St. Benedict and its motto "ora et labora" (pray and work). Here the author takes an insider's view of monastic life, acquired through a 17-year association as a frequent guest of the monks of Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina, USA and weaves this in with business experiences and case studies to bring forth an interesting and fresh viewpoint.

The relatively-enclosed nature of a monastery reinforces the necessity of cooperation and community cohesion and this can in turn be an essential "corporate lubricant" that is often missing in many businesses. Some business gurus seek to flatten a corporate hierarchy yet even monastic life has a necessary hierarchy of sorts. Determination towards a common series of goals can have a rather cohesive, beneficial effect.

Egg production was the commercial powerhouse of the Abbey with over 40,000 hens literally sitting on a veritable production line, until they switched gears and moved to mushroom production after alleged controversial practices were highlighted by an animal welfare group in the late 2000s. Business is not so uncommon within religious orders either. Some brew beer, some sell preserves and other products yet a philosophy seems to be that they sell to live and not live to sell (meaning that profit is not their sole objective).

This is certainly not your typical business book. It is not dry and full of jargon, it is not full of positivity and rah-rah-you-can-do-it praise. It is a more personal storybook-style, albeit a little awkwardly written and defocussed in places - fortunately the subject is so different and engaging that these little niggles get overlooked. Whilst naturally this book does reflect deeply on religious matters it might be important for some to highlight that it does not seem to be promoting a specific religious agenda or advocating a given spiritual pathway. Irrespective of your religious viewpoint, or lack thereof, a path of certain "behaviour" can be quite interesting to examine.

There is a lot more to this book than just business. The reader gets a wonderful look behind-the-scenes at what can go on in a monastery and how some of the monks function. A sort of human interest look and even a general reader with no specific interest in business or religion may still gain rather a lot from this book if they just pick it up and plough through it. This reviewer was curiously sceptical as to whether this book could possibly work or not. Maybe there was some divine intervention for the author but this turned out to be surprisingly engaging, rather different and a bit of a good read to boot.

If you view this solely as a business book, consider reading it to get a possibly different series of opinions that may shape your future thinking and behaviour. If you are more open to a bit of a broader, general read then you might find yourself getting rather more out of it than you possibly imagined. This might be one of those better books you'd not ordinarily consider purchasing but once you have it in your hands you might not put it down for a long time!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read, 8 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book wouldn't be for everyone but in my view it is an excellent and thought provoking take on authenticity. Rather more authentic than many of the books I have read on the subject.
It is equally useful from a business or an individual perspective.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews