Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values

Rate this book
More and more business leaders are catching on to an often-overlooked fact: consciousness is our basic faculty for survival and success. Without it, we forget what's important to us and lose sight of the steps we might take to reach those goals. "Conscious business," explains Fred Kofman, means shining this awareness on every area of your work: in recognizing the needs of others and expressing your own—in seeing the hidden emotional obstacles that may be holding your team back—in making good decisions under pressure—and even in delving into such "spiritual" questions as "Who am I?" and "What is my real purpose here?" In Conscious Business, this visionary teacher and consultant to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and other leading companies presents the complete training manual in the breakthrough techniques he has shared with over 20,000 executives on four continents, including: • Unflinching integrity, the key to "success beyond success" • Why culture, not know-how, is the best place to first focus a company's improvement efforts—and how to pull it off • Right leadership, and how it translates into making more money "A conscious business fosters peace and happiness in the individuals, respect and solidarity in the community, and mission accomplishment in the organization," teaches Fred Kofman. With Conscious Business, you hold the definitive resource for maximizing profit and potential in the workplace and beyond. Available in two formats: book and audio CD.

362 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 30, 2005

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Fred Kofman

11 books68 followers
Alternate Names: Fredy Kofman

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
895 (43%)
4 stars
628 (30%)
3 stars
323 (15%)
2 stars
142 (6%)
1 star
92 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 135 reviews
Profile Image for Suzanne.
218 reviews35.9k followers
February 8, 2017
Reading this book is hard. You'll realize some awkward truths about yourself. You'll find yourself sitting with the book open staring off into space because a paragraph you've read has led you to spend the past 15 minutes thinking about scenarios and conversations which completely fit what Fred Kofman is talking about. You'll use up a highlighter pen marking all the insights. And at the end you'll agree when he says "This stuff is simple, but not easy."

People describe this as an inspirational book. In fact, it's a book that challenges you. In a similar vein to Steve Jobs, Kofman says "When I start losing perspective, I hear Death's whisper, 'If this were the last five minutes of your life, is this the way you would want to spend them?'" Kofman challenges you to look deep inside yourself, ask the important questions and push yourself to find your way to change the world.

Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg for recommending this in Lean In, and to Abenet and Stephanie for their encouragement to read it.
Profile Image for Taylan.
1 review18 followers
April 3, 2017
Like many books in this genre (self-help/business), this whole book can be summed up in one or two points which the author repeats again and again for three hundred-some pages. In this specific case, they are "Take responsibility (even if you're not technically responsible)" and "Don't be an asshole". As valuable as these points are, both of them should come naturally to people who have an ounce of common sense and five minutes to sit and think (about how to go through life and treat other people).

The rest of the book can be categorized up in three points:

1. Pointless anecdotes (most of which boil down to "This is not your fault but it's in your lap now because you work in a crappy company, so you have to take responsibility and fix it because no-one else will!")
2. Asinine imaginary dialogues between complete imaginary dickheads (which always end with the lesson of "Hey now, don't be an asshole!")
3. Excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita and The Art of War (how original! A business book quoting Sun Tzu!) so that the author can differentiate himself and his book among the million other books in its category as "spiritual" and "conscious". I think he would have squeezed in "mindful" in there somewhere if that phrase had been in vogue back in 2006.

I also realize that this review is a bit harsh, which means I need to work more on not being an asshole. I normally don't write reviews for anything, but the inanity of this book actually gave me energy and I couldn't stop myself from writing this review.

I guess it's my fault for reading this type of "self-help/business" book (see, I'm taking responsibility!) even though I know that almost all of them work on the same bullshit formula (1. Take simple idea which is basically common sense. 2. Express said idea in as many different sentences as possible until you have something that resembles a book. 3. Profit!)

Anyway, if you want to go through a whole book thinking "how many different ways can you repeat a point you explained in the first chapter", then you will absolutely love this. If you are sick of self-help books which can (and should) be whittled down to 10-15% of their original size, then feel free to skip this one. Also, if you've read this book and gone "wow, I've never looked at life/business from this perspective before" more than once or twice, then god help us and the business world in general for having a sociopath like you in it.
Profile Image for Yevgeniy Brikman.
Author 3 books582 followers
February 6, 2022
A wonderful book on improving communication, that applies not just to business, but to all aspects of life. Here's a summary of my main takeaways:

1. Put yourself at the center of things you care about

The book makes a distinction between seeing yourself as a "victim" versus a "player." I'm not a fan of using either of these terms, as they have many other (not particularly positive) connotations, but the definitions the book uses are roughly:

- Victim: things happen to you, and you have no control over anything.
- Player: you take an active role in every aspect of your life and assert control where possible.

The advice in the book: be a player, not a victim. This is a shift in mindset.

Example: you show up late for a meeting and someone asks you why. The way a victim might respond is, "There was just so much traffic." Note how there's no subject in this sentence: the traffic just exists, and there's nothing you can do about it. The way a player might respond is, "I didn't take the traffic into account when planning my trip over here." Note how there's a clear subject—"I".

Here's why this is so important: you can't change the world around you, but you can change yourself. E.g., You can't change the fact that there's traffic in the world, but you can change your planning to to take traffic into account.

If you always think like a victim, you'll often fail, and feel helpless to do anything about it. But if you make the mindset shift to think like a player—if you consciously put yourself at the center of things you care about—you will have the ability to affect the outcome.

It's a small change in language—a small change in how you speak—but it can have a profound impact on your thinking.

2. Sharing truth effectively

In any given situation, there are many "truths." E.g., if someone asks you what you had for lunch, one way to answer that question is to vomit your lunch all over the person. While that certainly answers the question, and presents the raw truth, it's probably not what the person was looking for, and won't help your relationship with them.

With any topic, there are many truths—many ways to answer the question. But not all of those truths are equally useful in every situation. Sharing the raw truth, for example, can be hurtful. But if you try to hide the truth, then you probably won't get what you want, and the other person can often tell you're hiding something anyway.

So how do you share the truth in a way that helps you without hurting the other person? The next several sections talk about some of the ingredients to doing this.

2a. Separate facts from opinions

We tend to assume everything we think is a fact, and everything someone else thinks is an opinion. The difference can be subtle. For example, a husband and wife are lying down to go to sleep, and the wife says, "it's cold." The husband responds, "it's hot." Now they start to argue.

Why? Well, both the husband and wife think that "it's hot" or "it's cold" are facts, but these are actually opinions. Here's an actual fact: it's 68 degrees. Here are two more facts: at 68 degrees, the wife feels cold, while the husband feels hot. But "it is cold" or "it is hot" are just opinions.

Instead of arguing about these opinions, if you separate out the facts (the wife is cold at 68 and the husband is hot at 68), then you can start working together to come up with solutions: e.g,. find a warmer blanket for the wife.

2b. Use first person instead of third person

For example, instead of saying, "it's cold," say "I'm feeling cold." This has several benefits:

- This puts you at the center of the situation, which, as per (1), gives you the power to change that situation. For example, consider the statement "this is hard" vs "I don't know how to do this." The former feels final, as if you're just not good enough, and never will be; the latter makes it clear what actions you can take—spend time learning!
- It turns an opinion ("it's cold") into a fact ("I'm feeling cold"), which as per (2a), makes it possible to think of solutions, rather than arguing.
- It can make your claims easier for the other person to accept. For example, compare, "this report is bad" to "I'm concerned with the report." If you wrote that report, hearing the former sounds like there's something wrong with you and your work, and you're likely to argue with it. On the other hand, you can't really argue with the latter—that is, with how someone feels—and it doesn't necessarily imply there's anything wrong with you, so it's easier to accept.

Note that adding "I think" to a statement isn't enough: e.g., "I think you're stupid" isn't any different than "you're stupid." This is still an opinion; there's some deeper truth or fact that you need to present instead.

2c. Show your work

While you should separate facts from opinions, you will of course still have opinions, and it's OK to share those. The key to doing this effectively is:

- Present. Start with your opinion, using the first person. This way you take responsibility, showing it is an opinion of yours and not a fact of the world.
- Past. Show how you arrived at that opinion. Show the source of information (typically: facts!) and the deductions you drew from that. Explain your reasoning.
- Future. Show the implications of your opinions so the person knows why this all matters. Tell the person what you want to see happen.
- Inquiry. Check in with the other person to see what they think. You want to make it clear that this is your current thinking, and that you're open to discussion.

For example, instead of saying, "this meeting is a waste of time," a better way to phrase this may be: "I’m feeling uncomfortable about amount of time we are spending on this topic. We spent 15 min already, have only 15 min left, and I’m worried we won’t get to this other topic I think is important. What do you think we should do?"

2d: Diffusing toxic comments

Not everyone will know how to share truth effectively, so you'll have to know how to deal with people who, lacking the proper communication skills, make toxic comments. For example, someone might blurt out, "this meeting is a waste of time."

A good way to diffuse this sort of comment is to respond, "I understand that you see this as a waste of time. What do you see here as unproductive?" Perhaps they say something like, "we've already discussed this topic in the past and decided ..." Now, you can accept what they said or push back and debate it a bit. After that, you might ask, "OK, well, what do you recommend we do instead?"

In other words, you're subtly guiding the person, step by step, through the "show your work" approach from (2c)!

- Present. The first step is to acknowledge that person's belief as their belief—as an opinion. You need to make it clear to the person that you heard, accept, and understood their opinion. Note that you can accept someone's opinion without adopting that opinion as your own. The key thing is you are making it clear to that person that you've understood their opinion—people won't make progress unless they feel heard and understood. Note that you are also subtly (a) making it clear it's an opinion, not a fact and (b) forcing them to take responsibility for their opinion.
- Past. Next, you prompt the person to show how they arrived at their opinion. Hopefully, they'll show the facts they used and the deductions they made from those. Guide them along with inquiry.
- Future. After that, you are asking the person what the implications are of that opinion and what they would like to see happen. Once they've explained what they want, you can either accept it or push back. If you push back, you have a conflict. Dealing with conflicts is described next.

3. Dealing with conflict

When you have a conflict—some sort of debate or argument—there are several ingredients on how to deal with it effectively, as described in the next sections.

3a. Demonstrate understanding

In a conflict, the first step is for each party to (a) present their point of view, which everyone tends to do anyway but just as importantly, (b) demonstrate you have understood the other party's point of view. Acknowleding the other person's point of view is essential in moving a conflict forward: if you show you've understood the other person's point of view—which you can do without adopting that view as your own—then the person will feel heard and the discussion can move forward; if you don't show that, then the discussion will stall as the other person just keeps pushing their viewpoint forward in the hope of being acknolwedged.

One way to accomplish this is to ask each party to present the other party's argument. Have each person present the other person's point of view and then check if they understood it correctly; keep working on it until the other person has agreed that you have fully understood their viewpoint. Then, switch sides. Do not move on until both sides feel that their views have fully been understood.

3b. Move from positions to needs

The next step is to move from positions to needs. In many arguments, it's common for people to just toss out positions: one person says, "I want to go skiing," while the other says, "I want to go to the beach." Negotiating positions is not effective: e.g., trying to find some compromise that's a midway point between a ski slop and a beach, such as a moderately warm, moderately flat place, is unlikely to make either party happy.

The key to resolving conflicts effectively is to understand the underlying needs. Ask the person what they are trying to get that is beyond the position itself? For example, perhaps the underlying needs for the person who wants to go skiing are to get exercise and feel a sense of speed, whereas the underlying needs for the person who wants to go to the beach are to feel warm and to relax. Once you understand these needs, you can think of ideas that meet as many of those needs as possible: for example, perhaps you can both go to a beach, and the person looking for exercise and a sense of speed can try water skiing; or perhaps you can both go to a ski slope, but one that has some sort of resort with hot tubs, saunas, massages, and other ways to feel warm and relax.

4. Working with managers effectively

It's common to have conflicts with your manager: e.g., they ask you to do two things that are contradictory, such as "keep quality super high" but also "ship as quickly as possible." Saying "no" to a manager is hard, so what do you do? The effective way to discuss this sort of thing with a manager is:

- Here's what you asked me to do: X, Y, Z.
- I'm totally and board and want to get this done.
- However, you asked for both X and Y, and these seem contradictory.
- I don't know how to do both.
- Could you help me?

The key point here is to take full responsibility for the work (put yourself at the center of things). Instead of complaining or just saying no, you are doing your best to get done what the manager has asked, and are looking for ways to improve yourself and your understanding to make it happen.

5. Feedback

Presenting and receiving feedback, whether positive or negative, is hard. The next few sections have several tips.

5a. How to present negative feedback

- Start with a phrase like, "when I see" and then state a fact.
- Next, state your concerns.
- Then, state the conclusion you've drawn based on those facts and concerns.
- After that, ask the other person how they see the situation.
- Next, listen. Really listen and check your understanding.
- Next make a clear request. Note that you are expressing a desire, NOT a command. More on requests later.
- Finally, listen.

Example:

- When I see three severe outages in a span of a couple weeks...
- I get worried that customers are going to start thinking of our product as unreliable and stop trusting our business.
- It seems like our technical debt is really catching up to us, and if we don't do something about it soon, we're going to be in trouble.
- What are your thoughts on this?
- (listen)
- Here's my request: let's start measuring our uptime, and set a goal of 99.9% (three nines). Do you think that's something you and the team can do?
- (listen)

5b. How to receive negative feedback

If you get negative feedback:

- First, take a few deep breaths. Deep breaths are an "emotional surgebreaker." They give you a bit of time and space to not feel overwhelmed by emotions, and help you avoid reacting in a way you might regret.
- Next, instead of getting mad, get curious. Inquire to understand what the person is thinking.
- After that, check your understanding. If it's still unclear, inquire some more.

This approach is especially important when dealing with emotions—whether the other person's emotions or your own. Never challenge the emotion itself. Instead, inquire to understand the underlying belief that is driving that emotion, and focus the discussion on those beliefs.

Example:

- Your boss blurts out one day, "I'm unhappy with your performance."
- First, take a few deep breaths. Hearing that feedback is upsetting, and you don't want to react purely based off emotions.
- Next, inquire: "OK, could you help me understand in exactly what way I didn't meet expectations?"
- Perhaps the next response is still vague: e.g., "You just haven't been a great team player."
- In that case, inquire some more: "Could you give me a concrete example where I could've acted differently?"
- As you keep inquiring, you'll be able to get to the heart of the matter, and have a more productive discussion.

5c. How to give positive feedback

Many people, when delivering praise publicly, phrase it along the lines of, "Joe did a great job on XXX." It's delivered almost as if the person isn't there at all, like a funeral.

A more effective way is to direct the praise at the person. "Joe, I wanted to thank you, in front of everyone, for the great work you did on XXX." Praising someone directly and personally, in front of everyone else, sends a much more powerful message.

6. Commitments

The world runs on networks of commitments. Trust is built on meeting or not commitments. Here's a few tips on getting better at commitments.

6a. Commit with integrity

You should take commitments seriously, and only commit with integrity. That means that before you commit to something, you check:

- Intent: do you really mean to do this? Or are you just agreeing to be nice?
- Skills: do you have the ability to deliver on this commitment?
- Resources: do you have the resources—e.g., time, money, etc—to deliver on this commitment?

Only after deeply thinking through each of these items should you commit (or not).

6b. Making requests

There are several ingredients to making requests effectively:

- Separate identity from request. Many people fear making requests because if the request is rejected, they feel like it's a rejection of them as a person, rather than a rejection of that specific request. Sometimes, people are afraid to make requests because the implication of asking for help is that you can't do it yourself. If you want to be good at making requests, you need to know how to separate your self esteem and identity from the request itself.

- Request phrasing: "I request that X do Y by date Z." There are a few key elements in this phrasing:

- It uses the first person, making it clear that you are the person making the request (always put yourself at the center of things).
- Using the first person and the phrase "I request X" makes it clear it's a request and not an order. You're asking person X for help, and it is OK for them to say no.
- The item you are asking for ("do Y") should have clear standards to check when it's done. In the product management world, these are called acceptance criteria. Defining clear performance standards will allow you to discuss commitments in terms of facts (rather than opinions).
- Every request should have a deadline. Without a deadline, it's not a real commitment.

- Making a request is not enough. A commitment is a contract between two parties, so you don't have a commitment until the other person has accepted. However, they may respond to your request in other ways too, as discussed next.

6c. Responding to requests

When someone makes a request, the reasonable responses you can use that lead to productive conversations are:

- Yes I promise: this means you've made a commitment.
- No I decline: this means you have explicitly not made a commitment.
- Request for clarification: you need more information to decide.
- Commit to respond: you need more time to decide (e.g., so you can check if you have the resources you need). Here, you're committing to respond, but not to the original request. Note that this response MUST have a deadline: e.g., "I'll let you know by next Monday."
- Counteroffer: you offer to fulfill the underlying desire/need, but through some other mechanism.

Note that, "I’ll try" is NOT a commitment. Similarly, "I'll let you know," but without a deadline, is also NOT a commitment. If someone responds this way, follow up to get one of the responses above.

6d. What to do if you can't fulfill a commitment

Even if you try to commit with integrity, there will still be times when you can't deliver on your commitment; that's just life. Here's what you should do:

- As soon as you know your commitment is at risk, proactively reach out to the relevant stakeholders.
- First, acknowledge the commitment you made.
- Next, explain that you may not be able to deliver. It's an explanation, not an excuse.
- Then, inquire what problems this may cause the other person.
- Next, make an offer of restitution. A way to make those problems right. The other person may negotiate this.
- Finally, make a commitment to the restitution.

6e. What to do if someone else can't fulfill a commitment

If someone else doesn't fulfill their commitment, and they don't proactively reach out to you, then you should reach out to them. This isn't about bitching and moaning, but about retaining your relationship.

- First, check if the other person understood the commitment the same way.
- Next, if they did understand it the same way, and admit they broke their promise, explain what the consequences were to you.
- Then, make a request and chheck if the request is acceptable to the other person. Often times, the request is (a) fulfill the original commitment and (b) in the future, proactively let you know if there are problems. In many cases, it's not the failure that's the problem, but the lack of a heads up and the lack of an apology.
Profile Image for Neelesh Marik.
75 reviews10 followers
November 1, 2011
There are two kinds of people in the world of business (including the business of life!) – those who have read this book, and those who will read it. Conscious Business is about ‘entering the market with helping hands’.

“This Way has no return and it never ends. There is nowhere to arrive, no final summit to conquer. Only higher and higher reaches of the human spirit. Whenever I feel like I’ve gotten it, that I am finally in control, I am humbled by a challenge that exceeds by ability to respond. However, I have found peace and satisfaction in success beyond success.”

To understand ‘Conscious Business’ and ‘success beyond success’ you have to read this book. It establishes the conscious business organizational map on a 3X3 matrix, with three dimensions of the organization as a noun (the impersonal ‘It’, the interpersonal ‘We’ and the personal ‘I’) and three dimensions of the organization as a verb (the ‘having’ product, the ‘doing’ process, and the ‘being’ platform).

And it establishes that the highest leverage is in beginning with the platform or ‘culture’ and its systemic artefacts, because that drives or causes everything else. There are seven attributes of a conscious business culture, namely unconditional responsibility, essential integrity, ontological humility, authentic communication, constructive negotiation, impeccable coordination and finally emotional mastery. Each of these are explained in a manner which will touch your left brain, your right brain, and your heart.

The book begins with an extraordinary prologue, and an extraordinary epilogue, both reflecting the deeply personal experiences of the author. Reading them will make you agree with Ken Wilber, who calls Fred Kofman a ‘genius with a heart as big as his brain, if that’s possible’. If you savour the experience of upliftment at work, and would like a ready reckoner of that on your table, gift yourself this book today.
Profile Image for MG.
741 reviews9 followers
May 22, 2013
After hearing Sheryl Sandberg gush about this book in LEAN IN and then that same week reading a quote by Fred Kofman in Seth Godin's blog, that was enough for me to think the heavens were saying I needed to check out this book. I think the concepts will be basic for some people, but I also found them deeply insightful and profound. In fact, I was surprised to discover that everything Kofman says about the importance of staying conscious in business settings--admitting uncomfortable truths, being an active agent, honoring emotions and learning from them, demonstrating integrity and respect in all relationships--were equally applicable spiritually. In fact, with little rewriting, this could not only be a spirituality book, but a very good and needed one. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Edwin B.
269 reviews12 followers
June 22, 2008
Fred Kofman makes no bones about living by principles at work, he judges by no less than that standard. "Take responsibility, don't play the victim blaming others, and clean your side of the street," he writes.

His wise advise is to know thyself, to be conscious of the delusionary egoistic value we place on winning and being right, and then to ground ourselves on the truth about our real self beyond status, success and our strongly-held opinions. Attuned to our ever-present self-centeredness, fears and resentments, and through this awareness, to be mindful of doing the right thing - this is the practice at work.

Very useful for me.
Profile Image for Mindful Reader.
40 reviews2 followers
January 14, 2013
I would recommend this book as an intro to conscientious business practices. Some good applicable breakdowns of theoretical issues such as how to practice authentic communication skills in a step-by-step fashion, etc. The concepts are true and implementable to at least some degree. One hole that was never filled was how to work effectively with individuals who have not been introduced to the practices in the book on more than a passing level. Most examples in the book indicated that both parties had taken the training Mr. Korman provides through his consulting practice. Overall, the book relies on the karmic truth and you can't argue with that.
Profile Image for Shannon.
9 reviews1 follower
June 2, 2016
One of, if not my favorite book I've read that is actionable. This book does a great job providing analogies that are accessible to understand and to work into your daily life--be it in a business context, personal, or relationship. I spent so much time reading this book because I tried to work on each chapter before reading the next. While the concepts are all simple, implementing them take lots of practice!

This is a must read.
88 reviews
March 3, 2021
I think this book does a lot, maybe more than I need it to.

It makes an assertion that doing things in line with your values is not just better but necessary to prevent mental anguish and provides a framework to teach you how to act in a way commensurate with your values. I liked the examples weaved in because it made more concrete the otherwise abstract principles. Plus the author modified the same examples to cover both perspectives' or variations where the principles were applied with varying degrees with fidelity. This thorough examination makes more clear what advice was provided.
Profile Image for Andrea James.
338 reviews37 followers
September 1, 2014
I rarely give books five-stars and whenever I do, I still second guess myself a little. Why was this book THAT good? And I suppose, more pertinent to my insecure vanity, how will *I* be judged? Of course, rationally I know that it's simply down to "did I enjoy it? did it give me value/insights?" and that you may completely disagree with my opinion but there's a small voice in me that says "is this the height of experience? And if this experience was that great, then that somehow makes life disappointing so you should hold back on calling this great".

But now I just say "F@$k it": https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Anyway, back to the review...
The book contains many examples of what Kofman refers to as "simple but not easy/common sense but not common practice" statements. For instance: "Ability to respond does not mean ability to succeed. There is no guarantee that what you do will yield what you want."

I believe we understand this statement, yet we hold great attachment to the outcome of our efforts. Of course we do, the outcome is often a big part of our motivation for doing something and drives us to perform at our best. Understanding this statement and behaving as if we fully understand the statement are quite separate things. And this book explores the discrepancies and offers practical ways in which we can reconcile the differences.

The book reminds us to say "I prefer to focus on other priorities" instead of "I don't have the money or time". It is far more honest and productive to say the former as it allows for a more meaningful conversation with ourselves and with others.

The author challenges us to hold ourselves to total responsibility even if it can be painful to do so. We are encouraged to be better friends, managers etc. by asking better questions, difficult and awkward and supportive as they may seem (and of course to ask ourselves in a similar way too).

Instead of the first set of questions, we could ask the second set of questions.

Victim Questions:
What happened to you?
Who wronged you?
What was wrong (or unfair) about what he did to you?
Why do you think he did this to you?
What should he have done instead?
What should be done to repair the damage?
How should he be punished?

Responsible Questions:
How did you contribute, by acting or not acting, to create this situation?
How did you respond to the challenge?
Can you think of a more effective course of action that you could have taken?
Could you have made some reasonable preparations to reduce the risk or impact of the situation?
Can you do something now to minimise or repair the damage?
What can you learn from this experience?

I think this book prompts us to examine our perspectives and our actual behaviour (and not how we believe we behave) and gives us the opportunity to have insights that potentially improve our interactions and relationships.
Profile Image for James Mason.
434 reviews12 followers
January 21, 2017
I was very torn between barely being able to tolerate this book and thinking it was full of great new mental models for communication and self-reflection. I almost stopped reading it after the first 20 or so pages because it seemed like the epitome of those useless/predatory self-help books. Eventually though it got better and I enjoyed it. However, he would periodically go to such basic things like "a fact is a " vs "a opinion is a" that were painful to get through. It also really bothered me that he sometimes said things like "I don't know if this scientific study actually happened or if its just a story" or "I don't know the source of this". Well this is a damn book! Find out before you publish it! That would've been fine in a conversation but seemed very lazy for a published work. Overall though, most of the content was extremely, almost eerily, similar to that in the leadership graduate course I took. I really enjoyed that course, so this book brought back some good feelings.
Profile Image for Miriam Cihodariu.
576 reviews114 followers
October 25, 2018
I was first prompted to read this by one of the organizations I worked with/for, but then I was charmed enough with the book to continue reading it for myself. Since I'm a pretty big fan of awareness in every aspect of human relationships (lest we cause pain to ourselves and others), I think a book about practicing this skill in a professional context is more than welcome.

It's a pity how many work environments are toxic and how many bosses practice more or less subtle bullying tactics, especially in my country where many managers are pretty uneducated. This alone is reason enough for Kaufman's book to be mandatory reading before you can open a business :)).

Of course, this doesn't mean it doesn't have its self-help slang here and there, but all in all, it's a good read, beyond these occasional slips.
Profile Image for David.
786 reviews8 followers
April 3, 2016
From the content, I would wonder of Mr. Kofman had taken courses from Landmark Education. I found a lot of similarities. Perhaps, it is because, as I've been told by some that Landmark isn't particularly profound, or perhaps that is one of the many influences on this book. I would say his points are overall quite sound. Would love to see more businesses adopt a more holistic view of their staff as too often we treat employees, vendors, and contractors as machines who will produce on schedule without variation regardless of conditions. I particularly valued some of the descriptions of some of the types of employees, such as the "knower" and what their motivation is, and how best to engage with them. I will take these lessons back to my day to day work life.
Profile Image for Tiffani.
13 reviews
July 6, 2013
Kofman defines conscious business and outlines 7 elements to enable a conscious business life. Of the 7, I learned the most from unconditional responsibility where Kofman describes how we have the response-ability to deal with different business circumstances (In this section I was introduced to Victor Frankl who wrote 'Man's Search For Meaning'). I appreciated how the author began each chapter with a unproductive, yet realistic dialogue example, explained his proposed theory and then implemented his theory in the revisited mock dialogue.
Profile Image for Jimi Ballard.
12 reviews
August 22, 2009
Excellent book. It looks at the culture and values of organizations and people in them from an Integral Perspective. I have seen videos of the author, Fred Koffman in coaching sessions and he seems to live the philosophy he espouses in this book. Have also hired his consulting organization, Axialent, to do some staff training. Their approach and methodology is very effective.
Profile Image for Natalie.
29 reviews
November 28, 2015
This book begins by addressing the concept of work/ life balance. I love this. Dispelling the idea that while you are working, you are not living. Easy / simple read with some good takeaways for staying on mission and true to your own values.
Profile Image for Loose.
7 reviews2 followers
Currently reading
March 11, 2009
This continues to be a book I read & re-read continuously. I really value his voice and find his approaches quite insightful to the various issues I run into on a daily basis with my consulting.
Profile Image for Abenet.
20 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2013
Two things: 1. Add this book to your shelf, like, right now; 2. Go and purchase this book, like, right now.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Nikolina.
43 reviews
August 4, 2019
This book is touching upon a Zeitgeist in business and it is immensely important for our development in our national economic lives but also our development as human beings.
Profile Image for Irene.
275 reviews41 followers
May 6, 2017
A highly meditative take on how to conduct oneself in life and in business with others, Kofman’s book contains much to discuss and learn. I picked it up in response to reading an article by the CEO of San Francisco tech firm Inkling, where the book is required reading for all employees. Having just wrapped up my first experience taking an early stage startup from 1 to 20 employees, and wishing to understand more about how leaders may intentionally create business culture where employees can not only create business value but thrive personally and emotionally as well, Conscious Business felt highly relevant.

Like many entries in the popular, introspective “how to succeed in business” genre, this book can be summed up quickly at a surface level with a few pieces of seemingly basic advice. Here they are, boiled down: First, take personal responsibility to the extreme, and approach problems from a place of curiosity about how you can take more responsibility. Second, practice extreme compassion in your dealings with others. Third, when you act in accordance with your values, you will succeed in life even when you appear to lose. I address each of these main points and their implications in my full review here: http://irenekaoru.com/review-consciou...
Profile Image for Jason Carter.
271 reviews5 followers
March 19, 2019
There is very little in this book with which I would disagree. Fred Kofman is a well-read, thoughtful, and--by all accounts--engaging teacher. His advice in the book is sound, throughout, and supported by science, experience, and anecdotal stories.

It's just a lot longer than it needed to be, and is less about "business" than about "being a good businessman/businesswoman," where good is defined primarily as being a man or woman of integrity.

I liked Fred's later book, "The Meaning Revolution," better.
Profile Image for Geert Hofman.
113 reviews9 followers
May 16, 2017
Very thoughtful book that should be required reading for everyone who wants to build sustainable relations doing business. It's even good advice for all kinds of relations, not only in a business context. The advice in the book is really practical and well organized. With the table of contents at hand you can easily recall the lessons introduced. As said, this is a practical, thorough and well structured book for everyone actively trying to build a better world in cooperation with other people.
164 reviews6 followers
August 21, 2017
An excellent books full of insights. I have to admit that attention to detail without summary and highlights makes it very challenging to finish this 9-chapter book.

I certainly will reread this book and be more focused on all the examples he provided - I've skimmed through some of the examples just to make sure I can finish where I started. On and off, took me a month to finish a book, very unusal.
April 12, 2020
Si vale la pena leer un libro, vale la pena releerlo.
Aprendí bastantes cosas de este libro. Propone un cambio en la forma de pensar muy interesante y da muchos consejos prácticos.
Siento que no aprendí realmente todas las —muchas— cosas que plantea, pero vale la pena leerlo y aplicar las cosas que se retienen. Probablemente tenga que darle una repasada en el futuro.
No me gustó mucho la forma de escribir y me costó leer algunas partes, pero el contenido vale la pena.

Profile Image for Alon Gildoni.
26 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2020
This book speaks miles about human interactions in the workplace and how each of us has the capacity to transform our work experience to be more aligned with values and appreciation. I recommend this book to anyone because it is not only filled with practical advice about how to make a business grow and overcome challenges but it is filled with deep wisdom about how to groom relationships as a whole.
Profile Image for Lawrence.
Author 9 books3 followers
July 13, 2021
Hard to describe...

The last few chapters were transformational. Not sure where I heard or read something about someone finishing a book and they felt like they experienced a surreal event... then realizing that reading is a solitary adventure.

The part about the four monks thinking one may have been the "Messiah" was kind of funny. Because of the change in them, the atmosphere of the monastery also changed drawing on others who also became moved.
Profile Image for Chris.
19 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2017
Roller coaster ride. I've found myself highlighting and reflecting throughout the first half of the book. The attention to detail as the book progressed caused me to disengage over time, but the first half is worth the price of admission and more.

Must read for the modern work environments. Leaders and front line will find value!
December 1, 2017
A must read!
I have read many great books, but sometimes I found books that are so applicable and life changing, that I just feel like giving it to everyone I know. This book is one of them. Fred finds a very practical and authentic way to connect one’s true self with the business world. Highly recommended!!
47 reviews
November 29, 2018
This book resonated with me and made me reflect on my interactions in the workplace. I think this transcends the business environment and can be applied to all relationships My concern lays with the concept of ontological humility. If the the receiving party is not as aware and open, wouldn't the humility be misconstrued as a lack of self-confidence? This has been my experience, at least.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 135 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.