Doing Virtuous Business
Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Malloch is about how corporations can incorporate a set of spiritual virtues into their business dealings and by doing son create a common good for the consumer, community, and the corporation itself. Malloch explains how profit-only companies parasitic and are a danger to the overall marketplace. The author goes in depth to describe the difference between social capital and spiritual capital. He describes spiritual capital as the “find of beliefs, examples, and commitments that are transmitted from generation to generation through a religious tradition, and that attach people to the transcendental source of human happiness.” Social capital involves the social elements that contribute to knowledge sharing, innovation, and productivity. The author explains that even failed corporations. Such as Enron are able to master social capital by giving money to fashionable causes, and displaying concern for the environment. Corporations such as Enron face their demise by having no spiritual capital. The shear desire to make a profit at all costs is their ultimate undoing.
The first part of the book is very heady. He describes thirteen virtues that are needed to develop spiritual capital. He goes into each virtue and gives specific business leaders and corporations that the reader can learn from. To me that was the best part of the book.
The author uses Mel Gibson and his movie production company ICON Productions as an example of compassion. I personally thought the author could’ve come up with a better example given Mel Gibson’s recent tabloid spotlight.
There are great stories within the book about how Dominoes Pizza, Chick-fil-a, and Habitat for Humanity were started. The author explains how faith and spirituality played a role in their creation. I really like the story behind these three companies. The author mentions other companies, but these two organizations are by far the best known.
At the end the author addresses the three main objections from: the Cynic, the Christian, and the Pragmatists. I thought this was a nice way to close out the book and further the need for a spiritual role in business. I enjoyed the book and the following quote from the author shows the importance of our spiritual life in our business: “Business is the real test of the moral life, and those who engage in it are putting themselves in a position where trust in God’s goodness is surest guarantee of success.”
I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher, and was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and review are my own.