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Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,716 ratings  ·  120 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 362 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Sounds True (first published July 30th 2005)
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Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: Sheryl Sandberg
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 bo
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
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 peopl ...more
Neelesh Marik
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Edwin B
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, fea
Mindful Reader
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 ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lance Willett
DNF. Maybe later.
Andrea James
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 disap ...more
James Mason
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 t ...more
Miriam Cihodariu
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, especial
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wit ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 implemente ...more
Jimi Ballard
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
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.
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 11, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two things: 1. Add this book to your shelf, like, right now; 2. Go and purchase this book, like, right now.

Review to come.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
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 ...more
Jason Carter
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," bet
Jean Sung
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Geert Hofman
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. ...more
Li Li
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alon Gildoni
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Carolina Polanco
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!!
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
John Sutton
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This a very long book for what it offers, but there is a lot of really good information and perspective in here. This is a good one and done book to read. I re-listened to it and don't feel I got out nearly as much as I did the first time. My favorite part of this book is Fred's ability to offer simple, real life examples to make his points and show perspective. ...more
Serena Cappellini
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A must read for anyone who is currently employed anywhere. Or own their own business and has to deal with other humans on a business level. And everyone else outside these two boxes.
Such an inspiring and eye opening work of art. Truly insightful.
Glen Leavens
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Challenging read. 12 chapters (sessions!) with Fred. Responsibility, Wisdom, Humility, Compassion, courage, Honesty, Respect, Creativity, Integrity, discipline, commitment & Vision. Much more than words and new way of thinking.
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