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Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
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Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,278 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
A 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: inclu

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Mar 16, 2016 Meghan rated it it was ok
I read this book in an effort to catch up on recent thinking around Sustainable business strategy and practices. There aren't as many books as I'd hoped to find on this topic (please send recommendations if you have any). I actually really liked the central idea of this book and I did find some interesting insights, but it was sadly devoid of evidence and full of hokey, prescriptive spiritual buzzwords. Ultimately, the amount of eye-rolling this book inspired has probably left me with damaged vi ...more
Jim Ainsworth
Oct 31, 2013 Jim Ainsworth rated it it was amazing
Whole Foods CEO Mackey and Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism Sisodia teamed to write a book that should be read by every working American, no matter where they are on the wage scale or organization chart.

As I turned the first page, I was a little hesitant for two reasons. First, Whole Foods and Mackey have been portrayed as a “hippie” culture. I expected a lot of esoteric drivel that has little to do with the world of business. Mackey does mention Holotropic Breathwork, usually associated with
Jun 16, 2013 Helene rated it it was ok
Disappointed with this book. Why? Well:

1) I assumed the book would talk about many different case studies of different companies utilizing conscious capitalism. NO! Instead, dear John Mackey talked so much about Whole Foods and how great it is, blahblahblah, that I felt the book needed a better subtitle: "How Whole Foods Does it".

2) HUGE section devoted to shareholders, very small sections for all the other tenets of conscious capitalism. Come on, Mackey and Sisodia: if you're going to say all f
Christine Bader
Feb 18, 2013 Christine Bader rated it it was ok
The starting premise of "Conscious Capitalism" will be enough to turn off many: that business is "fundamentally good and ethical." It is true that economic development has lifted millions out of poverty. But business has also harmed individuals and communities around the world, as demonstrated by mining accidents from West Virginia to Africa, labor abuses in factories from China to New York, and the global financial crisis.

Saying that business is "inherently virtuous" because it has helped some
Mark Skousen
Jan 25, 2013 Mark Skousen rated it it was amazing
I just reviewed John Mackey's new bestseller, "Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Herioc Spirit of Business" (Harvard Business Press) in Feb. 2 issue of Barron's (forthcoming). I'll post the link when it comes out. "Conscious Capitalism" is revolutionary in changing the brand of capitalism and taking it to a new level. John Mackey will be at FreedomFest once again this year, where we have dozens of new authors speak.....C-SPAN Book TV will be there this year (July 10-13, Caesars Palace, Las Ve ...more
Apr 18, 2017 Ilana rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2017
I don't even know where to begin.
Athan Tolis
Mar 10, 2014 Athan Tolis rated it liked it
Shelves: business
A preachy book about management, not capitalism.

I'm frustrated by what's been happening with capitalism. I'm old enough to remember the times when some of us had to defend capitalism against what many believed to be sensible alternatives and it makes me sick to the stomach to watch a cabal of no more than ten thousand big money investors and their CEO puppets do some truly nasty things in the name of capitalism.

Other than call today's state of capitalism by its name (crony capitalism) this book
May 13, 2016 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great book. I gave it three stars because it had quite a bit of inspirational material that I thought could have been omitted or assigned to another book. That's just my opinion. Maybe others will find those parts indispensable. In any case, I think this book is beginning to change my view of business. For a long time, I've thought that beneficent businesses were possible but idealistic and only workable on a small scale: only folks with personality disorders (narcissism, sociop ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Anne rated it liked it
Well, this was interesting in terms of the case studies racked up. Certainly the writing makes _Leaning In_ look like a candidate for the Pritzker Prize--yes, the prize that rewards good architecture. Cause CC doesn't have one. I think the many people who have praised this book just haven't read many books of the entrepreneur genre, as the insights that business is "fundamentally good and ethical" seemed rather gateway to me--if a timely reminder of the "higher calling" that many of the 1% incre ...more
Jun 23, 2014 Laurel rated it did not like it
I was given this book as a gift and I had looked forward to reading it. The first 20 pages or so were imaginative, yet it quickly disappointed. I felt like I was back in the late '90's reading a book that fell in to the genre of "Emotional Intelligence". There were a whole spate of books that came out in the 90's that claimed to explain how to be successful in the workplace and corporate culture. John Mackey (or his ghost writer) were overly pretentious, continually applauding the way the chose ...more
Fred Forbes
Jan 16, 2014 Fred Forbes rated it really liked it
Capitalism has probably raised the standard of living of more people than any system yet devised by man but even Adam Smith, renowned champion of the free market folks, realized that pure capitalism of "bloody tooth and claw" needed some restraint, usually via regulatory action. Still that has not prevented the type of excess we now see throughout the system as "gunslinger" management with the focus on their pocketbooks to the expense of others and the short term focus which has ground the middl ...more
Rachel Terry
Jan 10, 2014 Rachel Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
I really enjoyed the first third or so if this book. It convincingly refutes the current popular notion that business is evil by laying out the incredible advances in the human condition since free market capitalism has been around (vast reductions in poverty and illiteracy and incredible advances in education and standard of living). He points out that the things people don't like about capitalism are actually the result of what he calls, "crony capitalism," which is capitalism tainted by gover ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
The title of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business begs the question, “Really?” With corporate greed and misdeeds undermining American’s faith in capitalism it’s not easy to envision business as the hero of the story. As I picked up the book, I thought to myself, “Sounds too good to be true, convince me”.

The Bottom Line

The idea of all stakeholders, including the environment, benefiting from conscious capitalism is compelling. It appeals to the human desire to work togeth
The American Conservative
'Having read dozens of business books over the years, I can say with considerable authority that Conscious Capitalism is the most ambitious management model ever conceived, and if implemented it could catapult the world of business to what Adam Smith described eloquently as the “highest degree of opulence.”

Indeed, if Mackey’s application of higher consciousness had been in the boardroom a generation ago, I like to think that we could have avoided the suffocating regulations of Sarbanes-Oxley an
This is a book that needs to be read by those that think capitalism is a blight on the world and those who tend to idolize profit as their God. Mackey and Sisodia show effectively how the break down in capitalism is truly not a pure capitalism but a bastardized crony capitalism. At the same time, they are able to show how business is truly at it's best when it is motivated not just by profits but by having a 'conscious' while striving to bring value to all stakeholders. This is the business mode ...more
Jewel Miller
Mar 18, 2016 Jewel Miller rated it it was amazing
This book illustrates how the word "Capitalism" has evolved to be said with a sneer. There is a negative emotional reaction to the thought. Conscious Capitalism describes a way of doing business that removes all positions of "Us v. Them". Labor v. Management, Quality v. Cost, Morals v. Profits, Production v. Environment. If you consider all individuals involved with your business as a stakeholder in the business, with no one individual being more important than any other, you can have a Win/Win/ ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Alyce rated it it was amazing
Loved it, but then again I was already down with the philosophy. I think it's an important book for lots of people to read and at least try to challenge certain black/white assumptions about what GOOD capitalism and entrepreneurship really is (opposed to the prevailing notions and politicized and polarized opinions these days).

Review on here:
Bill Hennessy
Jan 22, 2013 Bill Hennessy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Free market capitalism is dying, and this book is the only cure. Any manager or executive who fails to read and apply the ideas Mackey presents is ripping off his or her shareholders, employees, bosses, community, and country.

Businesses that have no purpose excepting making money deserve our contempt, not our patronage.

Conscious Capitalism will launch a revolution, or free markets will die.
Michael Burns
May 05, 2013 Michael Burns rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
Recommended to Michael by: Saw in store
Great book, encourages real capitalism which is responsible and conscious instead of what most of us know which the book label's "Crony Capitalism" which looks for profits above all else. Truly great read from the owner of a great company
Jurgen Appelo
Mar 21, 2013 Jurgen Appelo rated it really liked it
Must-read about an amazing company. I just can't stomach the spiritual fluff.
Sep 22, 2014 Johannes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Great context from the founder of Whole Foods
Nicholas Robison
Jul 26, 2013 Nicholas Robison rated it liked it
While I agree with most of the points in this book, unfortunately it's largely superfluous and contributes very little original thinking into the overall discussion.
Anthony Greco
Dec 30, 2014 Anthony Greco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Inspiring and empowering.
Many of the ideas in this books are very intriguing and make sense. It is easy to understand and readable. H
owever sometimes they lay it on a little thickly:
Starbucks is a concious business and can thus afford to hire capable barristas who remember your name and order? Whole Foods has an armada of customer envoys who champion them? Whoever thinks this is true without question has never been on the internet. In general the challenges of the digital are left mostly untouched.

Feb 21, 2017 Chanel rated it it was amazing
Page, 195 states, "More than once in the history of Whole Foods Market, the company was unable to collectively evolve until I myself was able to evolve - in order words, I was holding the company back. My personal growth enabled the company also to evolve."

This was an extremely good book. It's a different business model that most companies used today. But if more companies would embrace the principles in this book, they would have great wealth than just financial profits.
Wesley Fox
Feb 22, 2014 Wesley Fox rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
A decent read, mostly about business with some self-help crap to go with it. The discussions on economics are short. The authors weren't going for anything about actual capitalism or economic theory in general. They were focused exclusively on how to build a compassionate, socially conscious business that is also successful. It had a little too much self-help advice and a few other flaws, but some of the text was actually pretty persuasive and inspirational.

John Mackey and Raj Sisodia are two ve
Joseph McGarry
Apr 29, 2014 Joseph McGarry rated it liked it
Shelves: business, christmas
Conscious Capitalism review I received a free copy of this book at an Express Employment Professionals seminar.I couldn't read this book without thinking of GM. They had installed faulty ignition switches in many of their cars and trucks for several years. The malfunction of these switches was linked to several fatal auto accidents. At first, they did a limited recall, but as the news spread, they were called before Congress, and asked the Watergate question: What did you know about this, and wh ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it
This book infuses philosophy with capitalism to elevate businesses to the great heights they should always aspire to. Businesses need to inspire, add value to all they touch, instill pride, bring joy, fulfillment and meaning, and care and contribute to the betterment of society and the planet. What is different from corporate social responsibility is that conscious capital takes a holistic view of responsible behavior towards all stakeholders as a core element of business strategy and operations ...more
Mar 04, 2013 Breakingviews rated it it was ok
By Daniel Indiviglio

Free markets often get the blame for such troubling outcomes as inequality, corporate scandals and economic crises. In “Conscious Capitalism,” Whole Foods co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey and business professor Raj Sisodia argue that economic liberty needs a reboot.

The authors say that the trouble with capitalism isn’t that firms have too free a rein; it’s that economists have told them to focus on the wrong thing and that government gets in the way. They suggest that compan
Mar 16, 2014 Brick&rope rated it it was ok
Can you like the central idea of a book, want to believe in it, look for confirming evidence throughout the read, and still dislike the book? Conscious Capitalism confirms to me that you can.

I derive my livelihood out of a capitalist enterprise, as I presume do vast numbers of other readers of the book. The people I work with are genuinely nice, honest, caring. The same can be said of my organization as a whole. I don't see any psychopaths in suits running corner offices here. So when I get into
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“I realized that with everything I did from that point onward, I would have to ask myself this question: "How would I feel if what I'm doing right now is written up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times or if it is on television? Would I still do it?" That is a very useful exercise for leaders to engage in, because we shouldn't do anything we might be embarrassed by or ashamed of.” 3 likes
“Business can be a wonderful vehicle for both personal and organizational learning and growth. I have experienced many more awakenings as Whole Foods has grown and evolved over the past three decades. We will share some of these throughout the book. Most importantly, I have learned that life is short and that we are simply passing through here. We cannot stay. It is therefore essential that we find guides whom we can trust and who can help us discover and realize our higher purposes in life before it is too late. In my early twenties, I made what has proven to have been a wise decision: a lifelong commitment to follow my heart wherever it led me—which has been on a wonderful journey of adventure, purpose, creativity, growth, and love. I have come to understand that it is possible to live in this world with an open, loving heart. I have learned that we can channel our deepest creative impulses in loving ways toward fulfilling our higher purposes, and help evolve the world to a better place.” 2 likes
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