Conscious Capitalism

By John Mackey Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market and Raj Sisodia
Published by Harvard Business Review Press

The book Conscious Capitalism was gifted to me by one of my good customers. He made me promise to read it – which I did. I recall reading the forward to the book by Bill George of Harvard Business School and thinking maybe I should not have made that promise. In the forward George describes how he discovered John Mackey’s philosophies when he read Mackey’s 2005 debate with Nobel Prize – winning economist Milton Friedman about the way capitalism works. Time out! Milton Friedman has been my hero for 30 years! Anybody who disagrees with the individual who inspired me to start a bank whose mission statement is to Elevate the Champions of Free Enterprise – must be a communist.

Well… a promise is a promise. I kept reading. My first observation was Conscious Capitalism is well-written – making it easy and fun to read. Next, it is a wonderful memoir of Mackey’s free enterprise journey and the power of self-education and personal growth. Like all entrepreneurs Mackey experienced painful lessons, set-backs, sacrifice, hard work and breath-taking risks. Like most entrepreneurs Mackey did not have a business degree. As a result, when he founded Whole Foods, he was starving for business related education. Mackey read every book about running a business enterprise, leadership, and economics he could put his hands on. Turns out Mackey became one of Milton Friedman’s biggest fans!

So where do John Mackey and Milton Friedman differ? That would give the story away. I can only say this. I agree with John Mackey. Giving away books is a wonderful way to add value. I am so thankful this book was gifted to me. I have gifted away dozens of Conscious Capitalism.