Synopses & Reviews
What if the distinction between business and doing good vanished? What if all those who engaged in business were committed to a deeper purpose, and all those committed to doing good were entrepreneurial and enterprising? What would it take for a world of seven billion such people to solve all the world's problems?
More and more people are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives as employees, as consumers, and as investors. More and more people have more than enough material goods and are more interested in the qualities of the goods they buy; in the experiences associated with the services they provide and buy; in the way the companies they buy from act as citizens; and in self-actualizationrising up Maslow's hierarchy. As an increasing percentage of the population reaches the point at which they no longer need more stuff, what will they do, how will they live their lives?
If you are one of these people, wondering where to go from here, how to "be the solution" in the twenty-first century, Be the Solution provides an original perspective on how to create a better world. Focused entirely on entrepreneurial and Conscious Capitalist solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing humanity, Be the Solution shows how the entrepreneurial passion to create a better world, in combination with Conscious Capitalist business practices, can solve far more of the world's problems than any other approach.
In combination with leading Conscious Capitalists such as John Mackey writing on "Conscious Capitalism," leading social entrepreneurs such as Muhammad Yunus writing on "Social Business," and leading legal reform experts such as Hernando de Soto writing on "Is Economic Freedom for Everyone?," entrepreneurial educator Michael Strong lays out a philosophical, social, and legal framework for a FLOW vision through which all problems may be solved entrepreneurially.
FLOW, Inc., is an organization cofounded by John Mackey and Michael Strong to promote Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow as optimal experiencethe state in which we are so immersed in challenging, creative activity that we forget that time is passing. To be engaged in flow activities is happiness itself. Whether we are creators of enterprises or entrepreneurially creative within our life as employees, we can embody the entrepreneurial spirit and, in the words of Michelangelo, "criticize by creating."
In addition, FLOW refers to the global flow of goods, services, capital, humans, ideas, and culture, in a positive win-win-win world based on love rather than fear. Combining the best of the positive psychology and human potential movements with the best of free market thinking, FLOW offers a unique perspective on how to Be the Solution in the twenty-first century.
"If Be the Solution is a bold title, the subtitle is even bolder: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems. . . Author Strong's point, however, is not just that there is plenty of room for idealism in the capitalist system. His main argument is that, to the degree that the world's problems can be solved at all, conscious capitalism is the only possible solution. For example, in the chapter called "Solving All Environmental Problems," you'll find the best argument I've ever read on why government is part of the problem, and why property rights are fundamental to the solution. If you know some young, or old, person who would like to change the world, Be the Solution would be an ideal present." (Barron's)
Be the Solution is a manifesto to conscious capitalism, how it works, and what it takes to make it happen that will inspire everyone who reads it to liberate their spirit to the cause of social entrepreneurism. No matter what you do -- make widgets or high finance -- if you do it right by serving your key stakeholders first (customers, clients), take a larger role in community and society, and believe in the value of the products or services you offer, you can make capitalism a force for good that will reverberate around the world. John Mackey, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Hernando de Soto, Kartar Singh Khalsa, and other thought leaders lay out a path to personal and global prosperity that anyone can put to work immediately to unleash the social entrepreneur that dwells within. Practicing conscious capitalism will create jobs, provide investments for infrastructure, education, and training, develop new technologies to meet human needs from clean water to durable housing, and cultivate meaningful wealth for all. This book will ignite your passion, inspire you to make the most of your life, and expand your sense of what is possible.
An inspiring look at the positive effects of conscious capitalism
In this turbulent economic environment, capitalism has had its fair share of critics. But despite the position we currently find ourselves in, there is much good that can come from this system. Be the Solution is a manifesto to conscious capitalism–how it works and what it takes to make it happen–which will inspire everyone who reads it to liberate their spirit to the cause of social entrepreneurism. No matter what we do–whether it's making widgets or high finance–doing it right by serving key stakeholders first (from customers to clients), taking a larger role in community and society, and believing in the value of products or services you offer can make capitalism a force for good that reverberates around the world. In Be the Solution, top thought leaders John Mackey, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Kartar Singh Khalsa, and other well-respected individuals in this field lay out a path to personal and global prosperity that anyone can put to work immediately to unleash the social entrepreneur that dwells within. Throughout these pages, readers will become familiar with how practicing conscious capitalism can create jobs; provide investments for infrastructure, education, and training; develop new technologies to meet human needs; and cultivate financial wealth for all. Filled with in-depth insights and expert advice, this unique book will ignite readers' passion, inspire them to make the most of their life, and expand their sense of what is possible.
Michael Strong (Austin, TX) is a pioneer in education and independent learning. He is the founder of innovative Socratic, Montessori, and Paideia schools. Strong is also cofounder and serves as CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW–a think tank, inspirational organization, and catalyst for inspiring social entrepreneurship and conscious capitalism globally.
Praise for Be the Solution
"In the past, many believed you either went into 'public service' to do good, or you 'went into business' to make money. Few realized that the long-term success of business depends on serving people, not making money. Few realized that perhaps the best way to serve the public was through free enterprise. Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey, visionary thinker Michael Strong, micro lender Muhammad Yunus, and a few others understand these truths. Be the Solution is the best single book to read to understand the emerging ways in which entrepreneurs can change the world."
—Gary Hoover, serial entrepreneur, founder of Hoover's Business Information Service, Hooversworld.com
"Michael Strong speaks the truth. A must-read for our new American government."
—Sam Wyly, founder, Green Mountain Energy; author of 1,000 Dollars and an Idea
"This book is totally fantastic. Treat your mind to a feast. Use it to tune your vision towards what really works."
—Charles Harper, Senior Executive VP, Chief Strategist, John Templeton Foundation
"Perhaps more than ever before, young people today are motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, many have little idea about how to do it, and their educational studies provide them with little direction. In contrast, this book is a road map about how we can get from where we are to where we want to be—to a more peaceful, more prosperous, and more environmentally sound world. Plus, it is exciting, uplifting, and adventurous. Indeed, it provides the recipe for a better world."
—Dr. James Gwartney, coauthor of Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report; Gus A. Stavros Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida State University
"This is a very thoughtful and timely book that asks us to look around—and to look within—the amazing opportunities that entrepreneurship offers to the world. I recommend this book to anyone interested in finding solutions to the current crisis."
—Giancarlo Ibarguen, Executive President, Universidad Francisco Marroquin
"At last, a book about the heart of capitalism as a force for creating good in the world for solving many of our tough societal problems. I hope our political leaders read it."
—R. Edward Freeman, Olsson Professor of Business Administration, Academic Director, Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, University of Virginia
About the Author
Michael Strong, educated at Harvard, St. John's College, and the University of Chicago, has created several high-performance private and charter schools, including a school that was named the 36th best public school in the United States on the Washington Post's Challenge Index. The author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice, Strong has consulted for hundreds of educational institutions around the world. Prior to his career in education, he was a doctoral student at the University of Chicago working on a dissertation on "Ideas and Culture as Human Capital" under economics Nobel laureate Gary Becker. Strong is currently the CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW, Inc., the nonprofit organization he cofounded with John Mackey.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Entrepreneurial Spirit and How to Liberate It.
Chapter 1 Context (Michael Strong).
Chapter 2 The Entrepreneur as Hero (Candace Allen).
Chapter 3 The Opportunity : The Creative Powers of a Free Civilization (Michael Strong).
Part Two: Conscious Capitalism.
Chapter 4 Creating a New Paradigm for Business (John Mackey).
Chapter 5 Social Business Entrepreneurs Are the Solution (Muhammad Yunus).
Chapter 6 Business as Service:“Doing Well to Do Good” (Kartar Singh Khalsa).
Chapter 7 Leveraging Entrepreneurship for Social Change (Donna Callejon).
Part Three: What Do We Need to Do So That Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems?
Chapter 8 Solving All Environmental Problems (Michael Strong).
Chapter 9 Eliminate Global Poverty (Michael Strong).
Chapter 10 Is Economic Freedom for Everyone? (Hernando de Soto).
Chapter 11 Can Entrepreneurs Help Us Improve Our Understanding of the World? (Michael Strong).
Chapter 12 Improving Health, Happiness, and Well-Being (Michael Strong).
Part Four: Living a Life of FLOW.
Chapter 13 The Upward Flow of Human Development—Maps of the Terrain: From Success to Signifi cance—The Five Bottom Lines of Conscious Capitalism (John Mackey and Dr. Don Beck).
Chapter 14 Areté and the Entrepreneur (Brian Johnson).
Chapter 15 The Creation of Conscious Cultures in Support of Human Flourishing (Michael Strong).
Chapter 16 Liberating the Entrepreneurial Spirit for Good (Jeff Klein).
Chapter 17 The FLOW Vision for the Twenty-First Century (Michael Strong).
About the Contributors.