Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity

August Turak. Columbia Univ., $29.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-231-16062-9
Entrepreneur and corporate executive Turak, who spent 16 years working with the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C., argues that capitalism raises a moral conundrum, in which altruistic goals (“higher purpose, putting people first, and looking out for the customer”) are sometimes at odds with boosting the bottom line. As Turak spent more time living and working among the monks, he realized that their successful economic model allowed for capitalism and selflessness to coexist. The monks have been successful not despite, but because of, their commitment to higher values and principles. Turak argues that the qualitative side of business—“things like mission, purpose, values, principles, integrity, ethics, service, and people”—is “critical to success.” The monks, Turak suggests, can teach us how to keep “what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions.” Turak provides instructive case studies on how these ideas can play out in the business world. For those wishing for a more ethical approach to business, this book offers a viable option. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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