GOOD BUSINESS: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning
Asking business leaders to turn a profit in this climate is tough enough, but psychologist Csikszentmihalyi challenges them to do something even tougher: make people happy. The author first explored flow, the enjoyment felt when an individual is focused on a complex task, in 1991's bestselling Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, and he has often returned to the subject (The Evolving Self; Creativity; etc.). Now he wants to show business leaders how to foster flow and use their psychic energy to enhance the happiness of their employees, customers and even themselves. The advice book offers predictable but sound guidance to business leaders: know oneself, set clear goals for employees and consider the consequences of business decisions. Insightful quotes from figures like Aristotle, Dante Alighieri and John Locke provide some historical grounding, but mostly the author focuses on how modern businesses motivate employees and contribute to the common good. By conducting extensive interviews, the author collects the secrets of successful business leaders, including the Body Shop CEO Anita Roddick; McDonald's chairman and CEO Jack Greenberg; and AOL Time Warner's Ted Turner. Roddick, for example, says that looking at company's lavatories and cafeteria can reveal a lot about a firm's corporate culture and the happiness of its employees. If a firm fails to create a clean, healthy environment for its workers, it probably isn't doing much good. Csikszentmihalyi shows how moral responsibility, respect for the environment and clean bathrooms can make a business good and the whole world better. (Apr. 14)
Forecast:Csikszentmihalyi's name recognition and the success of his previous bestsellers guarantee a ready audience for this book among business readers.