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Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity (Columbia Business School Publishing) [Kindle Edition]

August Turak

Kindle-Preis: EUR 15,13 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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I truly believe this book will improve not only your business but your life. Read it. Apply what you learn and then, in keeping with the very spirit of the book, pass it on to someone else. -- Michael Keaton, actor Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks is an eye-opening read. August Turak delivers a timely, insightful message about the power of purpose and the surprising ways that service can fuel success. The engaging narrative -- which is grounded in Turak's rich, diverse experiences as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, and monastic guest -- paints a picture of a path to profits that is both pioneering and provocative. -- Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success This book is both quietly provocative and groundbreaking. With great simplicity, August Turak unlocks these monastic 'secrets' that go to the core of succeeding in an economic era in which authenticity and passion have become key. Who knew the monks had so many things right? -- Tom Freston, former CEO of Viacom and MTV Networks The Business Secrets of Trappist Monks is sure to be a business classic. It is a compelling and important tutorial on how to build authentically sustainable companies. August Turak's stories and examples are magical, yet the philosophical ideas they're founded on resonate with truth. It is a must read for the thoughtful executive. -- Mark Booth, former chairman and CEO of NetJets Europe This is an eloquent, powerful book that accentuates the power of trust and the surprising gift that selfless leadership can bring to institutions. August Turak expertly shows how Trappist ways and wisdom connect character to the art of leadership, and how this unique approach can be helpful in our current thinking about leadership, business, and the meaning of our own lives. New insights and ancient truth blend in this remarkable book by a remarkable teacher. -- Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School and author of Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins This is an inspirational book that presents a different view of business leadership and success that is important for serious and aspiring business leaders to take into consideration. August Turak also has a narrative voice that is both genuine and authoritative, and he has thoughtfully organized 'take-aways' throughout the book into lists that will be extremely useful for readers. -- Lindsay Thompson, John Hopkins University- Carey Business School The book is an inspirational, provocative and ground-breaking tour-de-force and should be required reading for business leaders and in business schools. -- Ray Williams Psychology Today 6/27/13 Part philosophy, part economics, and very much about service The Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks will guide you to a better understanding of why you do what you do. 1-800-CEO-Read 7/12/2013


In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, and consultant, for the last sixteen years August Turak worked alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey, watching firsthand as they undertook new enterprises and sustained an incredibly successful business practice.

Service and selflessness are at the heart of this 1,500-year-old monastic tradition’s remarkable business success, an ancient though immensely relevant economic model that preserves what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions. Combining the lessons he's learned from thirty years of business experience with intimate portraits of the monkns at work, Turak shows how Trappist principles have been successfully applied in a variety of business settings. He demonstrates how the monks and such agnostics as Warren Buffett are wildly successful not despite their fanatical commitment to the highest principles but because of them. Turak also points to other “transformational organizations” that share critical components of the abbey’s philosophy conducive to success.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.8 von 5 Sternen  62 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An amazing mix of spirituality, psychology, and business 8. Juli 2013
Von Kenny Felder - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
It's hard to describe this book because I've never read another like it. It's deeply personal and completely universal; it's nuts-and-bolts business insight and it's profound spiritual insight; it's ancient philosophy told through the lens of "Star Wars" and "The Devil Wears Prada."

The best review I can give, I think, is a direct quote. Watch how he starts with a fairly commonplace psychological insight about money, moves to a concrete business application that most businesses could benefit from tremendously, twists it into an unusual look at the entertainment industry, and then (as he would say) "transcends" all that as he brings it back to his overarching theme of selflessness.

One of the most useful things I learned as a sales and marketing executive is the concept of "dollar votes"...if we really want to understand what motivates people, we should look at how people actually spend their money...I may argue quite persuasively that helping others is my top priority, but if I donate far more money to my favorite casino than to my favorite charity, I shouldn't be surprised if you remain unconvinced.

In my own company, after some disappointing forays with surveys, we dispensed with this type of market research altogether. Instead, whenever we had a new product idea, we would presell the product into our customer base with a discount for prerelease software. Only if our customers were willing to pony up cold, hard cash would we in turn invest in full-blown product development. If the requisite number of sales was not forthcoming, we gave refunds to the disappointed few and headed back to the drawing board. This approach guaranteed that every product we introduced had a market, and it was actually less expensive and time consuming than traditional forms of market research.

When we look at the world through the lens of dollar votes, we see an almost insatiable human demand for stories. Books, movies, and television are multibillion-dollar industries...The fact that we spend so much money on stories--in good times and bad--demonstrates that stories offer something we really want, not just something we like to say we want.

And what most stories offer is the vicarious experience of transformation. We all learned in English 101 that in every compelling story, the main character must be transformed over the arc of the story...According to dollar votes, the fact that we spend so much time and money watching others being transformed proves that it is this essential transformation from selfishness to selflessness that we all really want. Of course the tragic part of this analysis is that for most of us, this urge toward transformation remains vicarious...deep inside we realize that just as we can't pay someone else to go to the gym, we can't be transformed secondhand either.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen #2 out of 1000 13. August 2013
Von Stephen Schneider - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm 65, and I calculate that I have read approximately 1,000 books over the past 50 years. Of those, the most personally influential was "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. The second most personally influential book was "Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks" by August Turak. I can't give you a better reason for reading it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Inspiring Performance 11. Juli 2013
Von Jonathan Reams - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
For almost twenty years I've been drawn to the notion that true leadership in business is about the transformation of consciousness. In writing a Ph.D. around this subject, I found a great deal of literature exploring this topic and related subjects such as developmental psychology, transpersonal psychology, leadership studies and transformative learning. The complexity of all of this could seem overwhelming, yet somehow I knew there must be a simplicity on the other side of it.

On a long flight I took recently I read through Turak's Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. In it I found readable stories linked to principles that touched me to the core. More than that, they inspired me to tell colleagues that this is how I wanted us to run our new business. It is all well and good to talk about being purpose driven, yet it demands putting those aspirations into practice. This book is a treasure trove of how this can be done.

Out of all that I found useful in the book, three things stood out for me as representing essential distillations of the most important things I had learned from my own experience and doing my Ph.D. The first is that the core business of the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey is service and selflessness. While much is written about servant leadership, the more profound meaning of this orientation only becomes apparent when you hear the stories of how the monks gave of themselves in ways that inspire the best of being human.

The second thing that stood out for me was detachment. It is set as the antidote for identification, which is easy to get caught up in. How often do we identify with our accomplishments, role, position or even sense of power? All of these limit our ability to lead and to inspire performance in others. Detachment becomes the principle to generate the selflessness described above. It takes us out of our identifications, our limitations; the myths that trap us firmly in their clutches. Detachment brings freedom to inspire and lead by serving a higher purpose.

The third thing is about the transformation of being. While transformations of condition and circumstance can be motivators for performance, they cannot match the power that transformation of being brings to generating business performance. Whether conscious of it or not, we all crave a sense of meaning in our lives and in our work. Given the opportunity to have our work touch the core of our being, we can be inspired to perform well beyond what the call of duty or a paycheck can provide.

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks is a gem, showing us the path of authenticity so much sought after in leadership today. Listen deeply and let the lessons between the lines seep into your soul.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A lot better than expected 28. Juni 2013
Von I. Darren - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a title that will stop you momentarily as you scan through a shelf of books. What do Trappist monks have to do with business? Is this some form of ecclesiastical wordplay?

Yet the world of work is key to the rule of St. Benedict and its motto "ora et labora" (pray and work). Here the author takes an insider's view of monastic life, acquired through a 17-year association as a frequent guest of the monks of Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina, USA and weaves this in with business experiences and case studies to bring forth an interesting and fresh viewpoint.

The relatively-enclosed nature of a monastery reinforces the necessity of cooperation and community cohesion and this can in turn be an essential "corporate lubricant" that is often missing in many businesses. Some business gurus seek to flatten a corporate hierarchy yet even monastic life has a necessary hierarchy of sorts. Determination towards a common series of goals can have a rather cohesive, beneficial effect.

Egg production was the commercial powerhouse of the Abbey with over 40,000 hens literally sitting on a veritable production line, until they switched gears and moved to mushroom production after alleged controversial practices were highlighted by an animal welfare group in the late 2000s. Business is not so uncommon within religious orders either. Some brew beer, some sell preserves and other products yet a philosophy seems to be that they sell to live and not live to sell (meaning that profit is not their sole objective).

This is certainly not your typical business book. It is not dry and full of jargon, it is not full of positivity and rah-rah-you-can-do-it praise. It is a more personal storybook-style, albeit a little awkwardly written and defocussed in places - fortunately the subject is so different and engaging that these little niggles get overlooked. Whilst naturally this book does reflect deeply on religious matters it might be important for some to highlight that it does not seem to be promoting a specific religious agenda or advocating a given spiritual pathway. Irrespective of your religious viewpoint, or lack thereof, a path of certain "behaviour" can be quite interesting to examine.

There is a lot more to this book than just business. The reader gets a wonderful look behind-the-scenes at what can go on in a monastery and how some of the monks function. A sort of human interest look and even a general reader with no specific interest in business or religion may still gain rather a lot from this book if they just pick it up and plough through it. This reviewer was curiously sceptical as to whether this book could possibly work or not. Maybe there was some divine intervention for the author but this turned out to be surprisingly engaging, rather different and a bit of a good read to boot.

If you view this solely as a business book, consider reading it to get a possibly different series of opinions that may shape your future thinking and behaviour. If you are more open to a bit of a broader, general read then you might find yourself getting rather more out of it than you possibly imagined. This might be one of those better books you'd not ordinarily consider purchasing but once you have it in your hands you might not put it down for a long time!
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Another Kind of Invisible Hand 6. November 2013
Von Tom Hoffmann - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As a whole I have been disappointed with the "Jesus (or Moses or provide your favorite biblical character here) CEO" genre of leadership and business books that have been on the market for some years now. Therefore, I reluctantly approached Turak's book, thinking I would be consigning it to the back of the closet (or the Kindle) with the above. Not so. I've already started a second read-through, and this time more slowly.

What's surprising and refreshing about Turak's work is that it comes out of what surprises and refreshes Turk himself. He did not set out to write a business or leadership book; rather, he set out to find a needed set of parentheses--deeper rhythms and sabbaths--for his life. This happened, and in spades (probably not too unexpected when hanging around with Trappists). As he reflected on what this renewal meant for his vocational life, he suddenly realized that all around him there was an amazing, alternative business community, seamlessly at work and (especially) play.

One reason why this book reads so well is that Turak allows his insights linking Trappist and CEO to emerge organically. He is really writing mostly about the Mepkin monastery and its members, and when he stops to review what he's learning, his bullet points are transparent and have integrity. These insights often surprise Turak. "I never expected to tap into one young man's longing for transformation with such dramatic results," Turak confesses as he talks about a mentee back in the 'real world.' "In fact it was only several months [later] . . . that the service and selflessness lessons of my experience . . . gradually dawned on me."

Service and selflessness are the foundational insights of his book, and Turak does a good job of explicating these for non-monastics. Early on he provides s a series of steps that supposedly allow the business leader to corporately achieve these values. These are valuable, but throughout the book Turak continues to provide such lists. He does provide a solid context for each list of insights, and once again they naturally emerge from his writing style. But as I finished the book I realized that there was nothing to help me integrate all of these many and varied bullet points. Some insights are duplicates and reveal his own stronger take-aways (e.g., "aim past the target") but most stand on their own and take somewhat new directions. As a corollary, I'm not sure if I would want him to exclude any of these insights--for example, his later chapters emphasize the critical importance of radical community. However, the author needed to provide a stronger summary and conclusion to help hsi readers pull together the material.

While most of the work succeeds, at times I felt the stress of trying to force the monastic way of life into a business model. Turak's phrase "aim past the target" is good example of this. While I understand why and how he uses it, I am not sure if that image represents a monk's 'practicing the presence of God' fully in the here and now, or the monastery's quick abandonment of egg production because of ethical questions and their compassion for others. If by "aiming past the target" Turak means that the mission of business is to produce a selfless and service-oriented community regardless of its product, then I agree. But the monks would likely say, "Running a business or making an income has never been and never will be our target. We never aim for that. Our target is Christ alone."

Turak also brings the overused business word "passion" into play, and uses the monks as examples of their personal and corporate passion. But even some of his own stories about working in the monastery for the sake of work alone go against this--there is no passion in what he does for the job, only a sense of obedience and a trusting of the process (another of Turak's bullet-point take-aways). Mike Rowe, former host of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, recently gave a TED talk where he suggested that passionate people are not the happiest nor most successful people. He then championed the role of the blue-collar job, and how persons seized the moment simply because it was a job that needed to be done and no one else would do it (see the Dirty Jobs TED Talk video). "Road-kill workers," says Rowe, "whistle while they work as they scrape animals off the road. . . . 'Follow your passion'--what could be wrong with that? Probably the worst advice I ever got." Returning to the religious community, this reminds me of the Wesleyan Covenant often celebrated by Methodists at the start of a new year. Part of the covenant prayer goes like this:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

The monks would likely be very OK praying this prayer, but it would be very not OK for a CEO to pray this as part of his/her staff meeting--for all the right reasons.

But don't let these quibbles deter you from reading this book. In fact, it's the book itself that has made me look deeper at the issues of targets and passion, and I think Turak would understand that. This is a book that I will ask my co-workers to read as we discuss the business of the church and my congregants to read as we discuss the business of life.

(Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge by Speakeasy in return for a public review. However, I was not asked to review the book favorably, but only honestly. All opinions are my own. #SpeakeasyBizMonks)
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