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

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

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by August Turak
 

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August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey for seventeen years. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses.

Service and selflessness

Overview

August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey for seventeen years. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses.

Service and selflessness are at the heart of the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition's remarkable business success. It is 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 vivid case studies from his thirty-year business career with intimate portraits of the monks at work, Turak shows how Trappist principles can be successfully applied to a variety of secular business settings and to our personal lives as well. He demonstrates that monks and people like Warren Buffett are wildly successful not despite their high principles but because of them. Turak also introduces other "transformational organizations" that share the crucial monastic business strategies so critical for success.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Michael Keaton
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.
Adam Grant
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.
Tom Freston
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?
Mark Booth
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.
Will Willimon
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.
Psychology Today - Ray Williams
The book is an inspirational, provocative and ground-breaking tour-de-force and should be required reading for business leaders and in business schools.
1-800-CEO-Read
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.
Chief Executive
A quite serious and often fascinating read.
Lindsay Thompson
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.
Cistercian Studies Quarterly
Turak has done an excellent job of identifying and articulating the homegrown and unique business model the Trappists use… interesting and unique… It's a book worth reading.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231160629
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Series:
Columbia Business School Publishing Series
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

After a corporate career with companies like MTV, August Turak founded two highly successful software businesses, Raleigh Group International (RGI) and Elsinore Technologies. He received a B.A. in history from the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a Masters in theology at St. John's University, Minnesota. Turak's essay "Brother John" received the grand prize in the John Templeton Foundation's Power of Purpose essay contest. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week, and is a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com.

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Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
. How do you measure or compare the success of this Trappist monks company compared to a typical secular business? There are two major cost (overhead) components that are missing from the Trappist monks that make the definition of their success ambiguous at best. None of their employees are paid and they are a tax exempt organization. What would happen to their business if these two very common, cost of doing business, were applied? How about failure? No wonder they were able to sell eggs and mushrooms on the cheap and have a competitive (unfair) advantage. I can’t help but respect the monk’s selfless work ethics but the reason for their success is no secret. Do the math. Great concept but it doesn’t pass through the test-tube of reality economics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being selfless, authentic and trustworthy may seem like quaint characteristics to cutthroat capitalists, but in Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, August Turak argues that these qualities are essential to ever-greater success not only in life but in business.   Through Turak’s many retreats to Mepkin Abbey, we get to know Brother John, Brother William and the other colorful monks who authentically live the Trappist way.  Their hard work unquestioning devotion to God and community transforms Turak in his own business dealings.  One example he tells - upon finding out Microsoft’s plan to take over the manufacturer of his company’s product (Source Safe), thereby rendering it obsolete, August tells his partners at RGI he’s leaving. But after a weekend of soul-searching, he realizes he can’t abandon ship.  He must keep his word to his partners and employees come what may.  The next months are harrowing until the deal is done but then a funny thing happens - Microsoft makes Source Safe their only provider and soon competitors want it too! RGI becomes bigger than ever.   If we are, as Turak hopes, to transcend capitalism then we have to accept that it’s not only okay, but necessary to believe that we work for interests greater than our own.  (Take THAT Ayn Rand!)  It’s a great book, conversational in style and a quick read for all you masters of the universe out there – and for the rest of us too!  Highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago