Lately the headlines have delivered dispiriting news about wrongdoing and scandal in business. But behind the headlines lies a surprising, untold story: Corporate America is changing for the better. Faith and Fortune tells the stories of the extraordinary people who are leading the way and the admirable companies they have built.
This book is called Faith and Fortune because faith provides the fuel that energizes these people as they strive to do business better and to find meaning in their work. Some have faith in God; others do not. But all have faith in the goodness of people and in the possibility of change. Most of all, they believe that corporations can become a powerful force for good in the world, and that they can—and should—serve people and not the other way around.
Faith and Fortune argues that an exciting new model of conducting business is taking hold, not only in small, socially responsible companies like Ben & Jerry’s but inside such bulwarks of the Fortune 500 as Ford, Citigroup, and DuPont. Bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, this new model is replacing a century-old approach that was rooted in the industrial era and looked at business as a series of discrete, win-lose transactions: Executives tried to pay their workers and suppliers as little as possible, charge their customers as much as they could, and maximize their short-term profits. Today, by contrast, forward-thinking executives build their businesses by developing a network of long-lasting, win-win relationships. Great companies serve their workers, customers, shareholders, and the common good.
Powerful forces are driving these changes, including the desire of companies to attract and engage their workforce, the emergence of the 1960s’ generation to positions of corporate power, the spirituality-in-the-workplace movement, the rise of social investing, and the growth and sophistication of activist groups.
At once realistic and inspiring, Faith and Fortune profiles companies and people who represent the best of business and exemplify these new values. Among the stories told here:
•UPS creates opportunities for immigrants and minorities, promotes from within, and provides its people with a much-valued sense of community •Southwest Airlines, the fun-loving airline, has built the concept of servant leadership into its storied culture •Starbucks provides stock options and health insurance even to part-time workers and builds sustainable business models for coffee growers in the developing world •Timberland has turned community services into a valuable corporate asset
Other companies profiled here include Hewlett-Packard, Herman Miller, Staples, PepsiCo, Domini Social Investments, Tom’s of Maine, and Greyston Bakery. The book also includes a chapter exploring what the great religious traditions have to teach today’s businesspeople about creating sustainable enterprises and an analysis of the business case for corporate social responsibility.
Faith and Fortune is a thoughtful, original, and important book that will reshape the debate about the role of business in America.
Marc Gunther is a senior writer at Fortune magazine who has written extensively about corporate social responsibility and faith at work. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Karen Schneider, and their daughters, Sarah and Rebecca.
“I arrived at this book as an avowed, vocal skeptic of the ‘spirituality-in-business movement.’ I departed as a…convert. Even cynics should devour this marvelous book. Marc Gunther makes a compelling case that the right things matter—and pay off; yet he exudes not a dollop of naiveté.” —Tom Peters, author of Re-imagine! and Thriving on Chaos
“In his provocative inquiry into the nature of modern American business, Marc Gunther looks into the darkness of corporate greed and scandal and, in the shadows cast by the likes of Enron and WorldCom, sees a beacon of hope in companies in which profits and values coexist.” —David Wessel, Deputy Washington Bureau Chief & Capital columnist, Wall Street Journal
“Marc Gunther’s Faith and Fortune is a book of hope. It offers the opportunity to open your mind and your heart in your pursuit of a meaningful life. Its well-drawn examples will deepen your ability to see how leaders can use business as a force that creates true personal wealth and public prosperity.” —Dr. Mark S. Albion, author of Making a Life, Making a Living
“With the keen eye of a seasoned business writer and the gentle confidence of a trusted storyteller, Marc Gunther masterfully provides an insider’s view into the faith-at-work movement—the quiet revolution that is transforming corporate America. After reading Faith and Fortune, you can’t help but wonder, now why can’t I do that in my organization?” —Dr. David W. Miller, executive director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, and the former president of the Avodah Institute
“Faith and Fortune offers hope that there is a better way than business as usual. Marc Gunther clearly illustrates that by linking corporate values to personal values; the business leaders profiled in this book have created a new model for addressing the world’s problems in these complicated times. This thought-provoking book should be a ‘must read.’” —Timothy E. Wirth, president, United Nations Foundation