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Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by [Mackey, John, Sisodia, Rajendra]
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Kindle Edition, 25 Dec 2012
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Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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As seen on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday

A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller

In this book, Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today’s best-known companies, they illustrate how these two forces can—and do—work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders: including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.

These “Conscious Capitalism” companies include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, Patagonia, The Container Store, UPS, and dozens of others. We know them; we buy their products or use their services. Now it’s time to better understand how these organizations use four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—to build strong businesses and help advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential.

As leaders of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Mackey and Sisodia argue that aspiring leaders and business builders need to continue on this path of transformation—for the good of both business and society as a whole.

At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness, this book provides a new lens for individuals and companies looking to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1528 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1st edition (25 December 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A9WE10Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #414,111 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.3 out of 5 stars 262 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be required reading in all business schools. 1 March 2013
By GKD - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be enormously inspiring. When I finished it, I felt as though I'd had an evangelical experience. It makes you wonder why business hasn't always been conducted in this way. I guess the answer is, because we didn't know any better. We had to evolve to this point, just as we've stopped pouring industrial waste into our rivers and no longer x-ray our feet at the shoe store.

I'm no tree-hugger. I'm not even that much of an environmentalist, but I do recognize a good idea when I read about it. We have a responsibility to our planet and to each other to make this world the best it can be. John Mackey may have amalgamated the ideas of a lot of other people, and he may even have co-opted the term "conscious capitalism" from Muhammad Yunus (I did my homework), but he deserves an enormous amount of credit for what he did do, i.e. put these ideas into practice and then bring them to public consciousness by writing his book.

I didn't know much about Mackey before reading the book, only what was in the news a few years ago about his postings on the Yahoo! message boards. At the time I thought his behavior reprehensible, but given that no charges were filed and that the buyout of Wild Oats was allowed to proceed (and now reflecting on his account of the events), I am inclined to believe that the "news" we were given was incomplete and more than a little tainted by the usual media spin.

In summary, I am completely taken with Mackey's ideas as expressed in his book and can only hope that the world takes notice. I must confess that as I read it I did have a sudden urge to break into a chorus of "Kum Ba Yah" from time to time. It can come across as a bit treacly. But it is a hopeful paradigm for the future of business.
4.0 out of 5 stars It has proven to grow companies and countries faster than all competing ideas while at the same time raising the happiness quoti 11 April 2017
By Ian Mann - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The basis of Conscious Capitalism is the moral and economic superiority of Conscious Capitalism over all other economic theories. It has proven to grow companies and countries faster than all competing ideas while at the same time raising the happiness quotient of its beneficiaries.

There are four principles that underpin the practice of Conscious Capitalism: Higher purpose and core values, stakeholder integration; conscious culture and management; and conscious leadership. I am going to focus on the first two.

Author Richard Leider, asks every audience he addresses the following question: What are the two most important days in your life? Most people, he reports, identify the day they were born and an event such as their wedding day. The answer Leider wants them to get to is, obviously the day you are born, but less obviously the day you realize why you were born.

(Pause here and think about this.)

Consider how different your working life would be when it dawns on you that you were born to ensure fairness in business, which is why you are a commercial litigator. You were born to make people’s movement about their cities and country safer and smoother. That is why you are so committed to your work in the Integrated Traffic Systems department of the local roads authority.

When the employees of your company, department or unit, see their work as infused with meaning, you will see a commitment rarely seen elsewhere.

Executive of Medtronics, the world’s largest medical technology company, regularly tell staff: “Your job here is not just to make money for the company; your job is to restore people to full life and health.” To drive this point home six patients are brought to every year-end party to describe about how a Medtronic defibrillator, or a stent, or a spinal surgery with a stimulator has changed their lives.

The Container Store, a hugely successful, multinational chain of stores selling containers, practices Conscious Capitalism. Their purpose is to “help people get organized so that they can lead happier lives.” Cofounder and CEO encourages his sales staff to do everything they can to sell customers products that they might not be aware they need.

He repeats “his lost man in the desert story” at every opportunity. Imagine a man lost for days in the desert, dehydrated, terrified and almost delusional with thirst. He sees you and desperately asks for water. Most people would feel good that they have helped the man by giving him a flask of fresh water. That is all the thirsty man asks for and wants at that moment.

However, there is so much more one can do for him. “He probably has heat exhaustion or sunstroke; he obviously needs a hat and sunscreen; he needs to be re-hydrated. You could call his wife and family and let them know he’s okay, since he’s been missing for days.”

A salesperson whose only focus is to meet target behaves very differently from salesman with a higher purpose. Up-, on- and cross-selling containers is not a way to extract more sales, but a way to get the customer more organized so he can lead a happier life. Purpose-driven salespeople outperform the target driven type across all product groups.

I have emphasised this principle of higher purpose because in my experience with a wide variety of companies in 14 countries, it is the one that seems to “get lost” over time. Often, the founders of the firm where driven by a higher purpose, but without a constant reminders, in a wide variety of ways, (bringing patients to the party or telling stories,) their initial purpose fades or is ambushed by slumps or the race to meet payroll.

It is well worth revisiting the issue of your business’ higher purpose if for no other reason than its economic value.

“Stakeholder integration,” another Conscious Capitalism principle, is a philosophical issue with profound practical consequences.

The stakeholders in any business are the shareholders, the staff, suppliers, the customers or clients, and the community in which the business operates. The common view of stakeholder groups is as a zero-sum game. There is only so much to go around and if staff get increases or suppliers are paid on time, and if contributions are made to the community, someone must get less.

The “Conscious” part of the book’s title “Conscious Capitalism, refers to wider and deeper understanding of how the world really works. People who are not highly conscious, think narrowly and in short time-frames. The do not see the whole picture and they do not see consequences.

When stakeholders are seen as an integrated whole, and this collective is not viewed in terms of a zero-sum game, we know we have to think win-win, and be highly creative.

If staff feel underpaid they will be disgruntled so they may work with less enthusiasm. This leads to lower profits of shareholders, and less satisfied customers. Businesses run on Conscious Capitalism principles outperform businesses based on other economic models.

The business is not mechanical it is organic. Every part affects every other part because each part is connected and interdependent.

There is much food for thought in this wise book. It deserves a slow read.

Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and doesn't live up to expectations 6 April 2017
By Doug - Published on
Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this after reading the intro and the first couple of chapters. It is a concept that is near and dear to me. The author's thoughts on Purpose and Stakeholders are excellent. Unfortunately, it becomes a little preachy around diets and other topics that could have been avoided. It also lacks some of the practical application I was seeking. Finally, this could have been about 100 pages shorter.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profit Is Not evil 19 February 2014
By Leanne Hoagland Smith - Published on
Verified Purchase
Even though profit is what pays taxes, makes innovation possible and improve the quality of life, in today's society for profit, capitalistic businesses continue to be slammed as uncaring, greedy entities. John Mackey as the co-author of this book takes the reader through his own personal evolution regarding how capitalism is not evil.

What makes this book different than some others is the authors demonstrate the practicality of how by being intentionally conscious about one's behavior, any business from the smallest to the largest can be make money and be a positive contributor to all stakeholders through the 4 tenets of: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Integration, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Integration

I particularly enjoyed the purpose reference specific to Plato's transcendent ideals of The Good, The True and The Beautiful. The authors adding a four ideal purpose of Heroic reaffirmed the necessity of businesses to identify and define their purpose.

Additionally, the authors present some very strong facts about how capitalism is good especially South Korea that went from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in approximately 50 years.

This is truly a practical, hands on book that can support any business to Be the Red Jacket and propel that organization ahead of the flow.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of Business World-wide 28 September 2013
By Carolyn M. Appleton - Published on
Verified Purchase
"People are most fulfilled and happiest when their work is aligned with their own inner passions. Personal passion, corporate purpose, and business performance all go together." This books is smart, thoughtful, comprehensive and eye-opening. Anyone thinking about launching a new business - and those who have been in business for many years - will both benefit. Written by John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and Raj Sisodia of Babson College, the book begins with a look at John's early experiences in Austin founding Whole Foods.

Having no formal business background myself, I gained many new insights and inspiration from "Conscious Capitalism." John and Raj cite several examples of purpose-driven companies that are successful and highly regarded, from Southwest Airlines, The Container Store and Google to UPS and TATA. I found telling a Gallup poll about human happiness cited by the authors that revealed, "... the leading determinant of happiness is 'a good job': work that is meaningful and done in the company of people we care about," rather than wealth, health or family. Every aspect - or "stakeholder" - of business is discussed in detail in the book from employees to customers, from suppliers to investors, from the environment to nonprofit organizations. As a longtime nonprofit executive, I appreciated the opinion of the authors, "business is a natural ally of the nonprofit sector, and the two should work hand in hand. Conscious businesses seek ways to be more effective serving their community stakeholders. Conscious nonprofits can leverage this desire to help fulfill their own purposes."

Helpful information regarding leadership skills, the importance of innovation, how to transform into a "conscious" business, and the positive effect conscious capitalism can have on the "bottom line" is included. The book contains an extensive bibliography for additional follow-up. I was impressed - but not surprised - that the book was published by Harvard Business Review Press.