Reviews for Conscious Capitalism : Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business

Book News Reviews
John Mackey, CEO of the high-end grocer Whole Foods, and Raj Sisodia (marketing, Bentley U.) make the case for a vision of progressive capitalism. They argue that capitalism is misunderstood to be about greed, but they are also adamant that there is no progress without profits. This is no excuse for neglecting the needs of a business's various stakeholders, which they define broadly as including owners, employees, suppliers, investors, consumers, the environment, and society. The book is organized into four sections that define the corporation's need for a higher purpose, how to integrate stakeholder interests, the qualities of conscious leadership, and how conscious culture leads to conscious management. Three appendices outline "the business case for conscious capitalism," related ideas, and misconceptions about conscious capitalism. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Booklist Reviews 2013 January #1
Mackey and Sisodia, leaders of the corporation Conscious Capitalism, describe the movement in the context of Mackey's reflections as cofounder of Whole Foods Market. The term conscious capitalism refers to businesses that serve the interests of all major stakeholders--customers, employees, investors, communities, suppliers, and the environment. Mackey's realization of conscious capitalism began on Memorial Day 1981, as the fledgling Whole Foods Market was basically wiped out by a flood. Unexpectedly, dozens of customers and neighbors showed up to help; employees worked for free, not knowing if the store would survive; suppliers resupplied on credit; investors stepped up, too, and the Whole Foods Market's bank loaned it money to restock; the store reopened in 28 days. Following two introductory chapters, part 1 covers purpose; part 2 is about stakeholders; part 3, conscious leadership; and part 4, conscious culture and management. Mackey and Sisodia cite companies such as Southwest Airlines, Google, the Container Store, Whole Foods Market, and Nordstrom as embracing this sound vision of reality. A very solid examination. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2013 July
Conscious Capitalism is a book, but it is also the name of a nonprofit organization --perhaps even an ashram somewhere dedicated to being a paean for free-market capitalism. As Jerry Seinfeld would have said, and this reviewer would concur, not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, there is a lot to be said for it, and the volume's subtitle, Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, certainly conveys that unabashedly pro-business message. Whole Foods cofounder and CEO Mackey and marketing professor Sisodia (Bentley Univ.) have teamed up to produce a feel-good, how-to volume for "with it" (or wannabe) business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors. Eighteen stand-alone chapters grouped in four sections or tenets--"Higher Purpose," "Stakeholder Integration," "Conscious Leadership," and "Conscious Culture and Management"--spread the gospel about how to develop a prosperous business that also benefits society. The book contains many examples of successful companies that employ these tenets in their business operations, e.g., Southwest Airlines, Google, Patagonia, and UPS. Decent notes and index. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and practitioners. General Readers; Professionals/Practitioners. A. R. Sanderson University of Chicago Copyright 2013 American Library Association.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
Whole Foods co-founder Mackey, writing with economist Sisodia, offers a persuasive paean to free enterprise. "In the long arc of history, no human creation has had a greater positive impact on more people more rapidly than free-enterprise capitalism," write the authors. That statement serves as a good summary of this book, which combines a brief but lucid history of the capitalist system with Mackey's own sometimes-idiosyncratic interpretation of it. Flying in the face of Economics 101, for instance, he insists that a goal of the capitalist need not be profit maximization and that self-interest can be broader than the mere individual self. Mackey combines a strong sense of social service with the thought that there are goals beyond mere money for the successful investors. As the book progresses, Mackey's vision becomes more singular, with sharp attacks on crony capitalism--the unholy wedding of big government with certain strands of big business--side arguments on animal welfare, and heightened consciousness and a well-reasoned critique of the vaunted "triple bottom line." Throughout, his insistence on long-term thinking is welcome--and too seldom found in popular business writing. Though he has been in the news lately for seemingly off-the-mark statements equating health care reform with fascism and holding that there's a positive side to climate change, Mackey presents a reasonable and mostly unobjectionable defense of capitalism at a time when, thanks to the excesses of the wealthy, it needs defending. Light on ideology and long on thoughtful analysis--a good book to hand to the budding entrepreneur in the family. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #4

How can capitalist enterprises embrace a more socially conscious approach to doing business? Mackey, co-CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market, and Bentley University marketing professor Sisodia (Firms of Endearment) seek to inspire the creation of businesses galvanized by "higher purposes that serve and align the interests of all major stakeholders." To emphasize their message, they offer a fairly dry historical perspective on capitalism, occasionally enlivened by stories from the early days of Whole Foods, including "showering" in a Hobart dishwasher and devastating floods that nearly bankrupted the company. The authors show how other organizations, including Waste Management and the Tata Group, operate with a conscious capitalism mindset and reap tremendous value. They identify four tenets of conscious capitalismâ??higher purpose, loyal customers, conscious leadership, and conscious cultureâ??and offer guidance on related issues. The most challenging of these tenets involves stakeholders, and the authors rightly devote attention to the challenge of creating a win for all, including team members, environment, and community. 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. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary Agency. (Jan.)

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