Posted by: irenesroth | October 14, 2013

Book Review First Published on Blogcritics

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks
One CEOs Quest for Meaning and Authenticity
By: August Turak

Can a business executive be authentic, virtuous and successful? Can an individual be a successful business person and not be selfish or greedy? Turak in his wonderful book answers both questions in the affirmative.

Very little has been written about the work half of the monastic equation. So, Turak fills this gap in the literature. And even fewer individuals have explored the highly successful business methodologies that the monks have preserved and prospered by for centuries. This book takes a step toward redressing this imbalance by bringing these neglected monastic business principles to light and sharing them with the world.

For more than a hundred years, the dominant approaches in business have been predominantly quantitative and analytic. But this only captures a small part of business and not even the most important part of it. We need to address and take into account some of the qualitative aspects of business which hinge on concepts such as mission, purpose, values, principles, integrity, ethics, service, and people. These are all critical to every businesses success. What makes the monks so successful is that they attend to these qualitative aspects of business and they have become the most important overarching aspects to their success.

Authenticity seems to be an important concept in most of the business approaches advocated by theorists. However, Trappist authenticity is very different from ordinary day authenticity. Trappist authenticity falls in three main areas of the monastic way of life and business: mission, personal transformation and community.

A qualitative approach to business according to the Trappist monks means to first articulate a high, overarching mission worthy of being piously served. To be authentic in this regard, the mission must genuinely drive the decision-making that in turn determines all the activities of the enterprise. Secondly, the Trappist monks believe that authentic businesses and leaders can only be created by authentic people. Saintliness is just a religious term for authenticity and the monastic way of life. It is designed to take ordinary people and transform them into authentic individuals. The Trappist monks value personal authenticity above anything else. Lastly, Trappist business success depends on the cooperative lubrication that only an authentic community can provide. The monks have an unwavering commitment to community.

Trappist monks don’t just make success happen, they let it happen through grace. The success of the Trappist monks lies in that kind of sincerity—an overwhelming desire to become a sincere person in every aspect of their lives. And we can be too if we follow their principles.

I loved the book from beginning to end. This book is relevant not only for business executives but also for ordinary people who want to live extraordinary lives.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


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