Synopses & Reviews
Why do we work so hard at our jobs, day after day? Why is a job well done important to us? We know there is more to a career than money and prestige, but what exactly do we mean by "fulfillment"? These are old but important questions. They belong with some newly discovered ones: Why are people in business more religious than the population as a whole? What do people of business know, and what do they do, that anchors their faith? In this ground-breaking and inspiring book, Michael Novak ties together these crucial questions by explaining the meaning of work as a vocation. Work should be more than just a job -- it should be a calling.
This book explains an important part of our lives in a new way, and readers will instantly recognize themselves in its pages. A larger proportion than ever before of the world's Christians, Jews, and other peoples of faith are spending their working lives in business. Business is a profession worthy of a person's highest ideals and aspirations, fraught with moral possibilities both of great good and of great evil. Novak takes on agonizing problems, such as downsizing, the tradeoffs that must sometimes be faced between profits and human rights, and the pitfalls of philanthropy. He also examines the daily questions of how an honest day's work contributes to the good of many people, both close at hand and far away. Our work connects us with one another. It also makes possible the universal advance out of poverty, and it is an essential prerequisite of democracy and the institutions of civil society.
This book is a spiritual feast, for everyone who wants to examine how to make a life through making a living.
Richard L. Lawson President and CEO, National Mining Association Michael Novak has penned a masterpiece. Business as a Calling is a must-read for everyone interested in capitalism, American style. From student to CEO; employee to major stockholder; government bureaucrat to politician -- all will find something to enjoy and profit from.
Dan Quayle A career in business can be entirely consistent with high standards and serious moral purpose, if only the right path is followed. Michael Novak, one of America's wise men, reveals what that path might be. This book is exceptional and timely.
Irving Kristol This is easily the best book ever written on business as a vocation from a religious point of view. It is both thoughtful, and practical, a rare combination.
William E. Simon Former Secretary of the Treasury Michael Novak is our finest -- and wisest -- writer on the intricate interplay between religion and economics in American life. His new book, Business as a Calling, breaks new ground by understanding business as a vocation with its own spiritual requirements. His book deepens our understanding of the religious dimensions of business life, and it also makes us aware once more of the pervasive influence of spiritual issues in a society which, on the surface, seems obsessed with material things. Michael Novak, as always, teaches us to think about old subjects in new and creative ways.
Os Guinnes Senior Fellow, the Trinity Forum Rich, wise, and illuminating, Novak's essay simultaneously rehumanizes capitalism and remoralizes business -- an immense and timely contribution to our much-needed Western renaissance.
About the Author
Michael Novak is a theologian and former U.S. ambassador who currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He is the 1994 winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, and the author of over twenty-five books on philosophy, theology, politics, economics, and culture, including The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife.
Table of Contents
PLENTY ISN'T ENOUGH
Bored with Making Money
The Anti-Business Skeptics
Three Specific Objections
A Glance Ahead
WHAT IS A CALLING?
Four Characteristics of a Calling
Can a Calling Remain Tacit?
Can a Calling Be Entirely Secular?
Meteorites Across the Sky
LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT BUSINESS
The Most Religious Elites
Today Most Religious People Work in Business
Morality and Us
The Only Moral Majority: Sinners
A MORALLY SERIOUS CALLING
Andrew Carnegie, Wealth Creator
The Moral Case for the System qua "System"
Sinners in the System
Wrong About Capitalism
FOR THE POOR AND FOR DEMOCRACY
One Cheer Is Quite Enough
But What Is "Capitalism"?
Capitalism Is Better for the Poor
A Necessary Condition for Democracy
A Necessary Condition for Capitalism
Capitalism Reduces Envy
The Tyranny of a Majority
Natural Liberty -- Political and Economic
VIRTUE IN THE MODERN CITY
Virtue in the Ancient City
Passions and Reason
Reflection and Choice
Practical Wisdom and Other Virtues
A Modem Culture of Virtue?
Our Incurious Elites
Business Depends on Virtue
THREE CARDINAL VIRTUES OF BUSINESS
The Virtue of Creativity
The Virtue of Building Community
The Virtue of Practical Realism
And Don't Forget the Fun of It!
SEVEN PLUS SEVEN CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITIES
Mediating Structures, Civil Society
Seven Internal Responsibilities
Seven Responsibilities from Outside Business
Special Business Codes
A Moral Institution
BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Transnational Firm
Morality Has Costs
MAKING THINGS BETTER
The Bad Side of Downsizing
New Ideas for Labor Unions
Organizing to Help the Homeless
Solidarity with the World's Poor
GIVING IT ALL AWAY
In Giving, Be Vigilant: Caveat Donor!
The Glory of the Nation