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Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values

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More and more business leaders are catching on to an often-overlooked fact: consciousness is our basic faculty for survival and success. Without it, we forget what's important to us and lose sight of the steps we might take to reach those goals. Conscious business, explains Fred Kofman, means shining this awareness on every area of your work: in recognizing the needs of ot More and more business leaders are catching on to an often-overlooked fact: consciousness is our basic faculty for survival and success. Without it, we forget what's important to us and lose sight of the steps we might take to reach those goals. Conscious business, explains Fred Kofman, means shining this awareness on every area of your work: in recognizing the needs of others and expressing your own; in seeing the hidden emotional obstacles that may be holding your team back; in making good decisions under pressure; and even in delving into such spiritual questions as "Who am I?" and "What is my real purpose here?" In Conscious Business, this visionary teacher and consultant to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and other leading companies presents the complete training manual in the breakthrough techniques he has shared with over 20,000 executives on four continents.

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More and more business leaders are catching on to an often-overlooked fact: consciousness is our basic faculty for survival and success. Without it, we forget what's important to us and lose sight of the steps we might take to reach those goals. Conscious business, explains Fred Kofman, means shining this awareness on every area of your work: in recognizing the needs of ot More and more business leaders are catching on to an often-overlooked fact: consciousness is our basic faculty for survival and success. Without it, we forget what's important to us and lose sight of the steps we might take to reach those goals. Conscious business, explains Fred Kofman, means shining this awareness on every area of your work: in recognizing the needs of others and expressing your own; in seeing the hidden emotional obstacles that may be holding your team back; in making good decisions under pressure; and even in delving into such spiritual questions as "Who am I?" and "What is my real purpose here?" In Conscious Business, this visionary teacher and consultant to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and other leading companies presents the complete training manual in the breakthrough techniques he has shared with over 20,000 executives on four continents.

30 review for Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values

  1. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Reading this book is hard. You'll realize some awkward truths about yourself. You'll find yourself sitting with the book open staring off into space because a paragraph you've read has led you to spend the past 15 minutes thinking about scenarios and conversations which completely fit what Fred Kofman is talking about. You'll use up a highlighter pen marking all the insights. And at the end you'll agree when he says "This stuff is simple, but not easy." People describe this as an inspirational bo Reading this book is hard. You'll realize some awkward truths about yourself. You'll find yourself sitting with the book open staring off into space because a paragraph you've read has led you to spend the past 15 minutes thinking about scenarios and conversations which completely fit what Fred Kofman is talking about. You'll use up a highlighter pen marking all the insights. And at the end you'll agree when he says "This stuff is simple, but not easy." People describe this as an inspirational book. In fact, it's a book that challenges you. In a similar vein to Steve Jobs, Kofman says "When I start losing perspective, I hear Death's whisper, 'If this were the last five minutes of your life, is this the way you would want to spend them?'" Kofman challenges you to look deep inside yourself, ask the important questions and push yourself to find your way to change the world. Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg for recommending this in Lean In, and to Abenet and Stephanie for their encouragement to read it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Taylan

    Like many books in this genre (self-help/business), this whole book can be summed up in one or two points which the author repeats again and again for three hundred-some pages. In this specific case, they are "Take responsibility (even if you're not technically responsible)" and "Don't be an asshole". As valuable as these points are, both of them should come naturally to people who have an ounce of common sense and five minutes to sit and think (about how to go through life and treat other peopl Like many books in this genre (self-help/business), this whole book can be summed up in one or two points which the author repeats again and again for three hundred-some pages. In this specific case, they are "Take responsibility (even if you're not technically responsible)" and "Don't be an asshole". As valuable as these points are, both of them should come naturally to people who have an ounce of common sense and five minutes to sit and think (about how to go through life and treat other people). The rest of the book can be categorized up in three points: 1. Pointless anecdotes (most of which boil down to "This is not your fault but it's in your lap now because you work in a crappy company, so you have to take responsibility and fix it because no-one else will!") 2. Asinine imaginary dialogues between complete imaginary dickheads (which always end with the lesson of "Hey now, don't be an asshole!") 3. Excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita and The Art of War (how original! A business book quoting Sun Tzu!) so that the author can differentiate himself and his book among the million other books in its category as "spiritual" and "conscious". I think he would have squeezed in "mindful" in there somewhere if that phrase had been in vogue back in 2006. I also realize that this review is a bit harsh, which means I need to work more on not being an asshole. I normally don't write reviews for anything, but the inanity of this book actually gave me energy and I couldn't stop myself from writing this review. I guess it's my fault for reading this type of "self-help/business" book (see, I'm taking responsibility!) even though I know that almost all of them work on the same bullshit formula (1. Take simple idea which is basically common sense. 2. Express said idea in as many different sentences as possible until you have something that resembles a book. 3. Profit!) Anyway, if you want to go through a whole book thinking "how many different ways can you repeat a point you explained in the first chapter", then you will absolutely love this. If you are sick of self-help books which can (and should) be whittled down to 10-15% of their original size, then feel free to skip this one. Also, if you've read this book and gone "wow, I've never looked at life/business from this perspective before" more than once or twice, then god help us and the business world in general for having a sociopath like you in it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Neelesh Marik

    There are two kinds of people in the world of business (including the business of life!) – those who have read this book, and those who will read it. Conscious Business is about ‘entering the market with helping hands’. “This Way has no return and it never ends. There is nowhere to arrive, no final summit to conquer. Only higher and higher reaches of the human spirit. Whenever I feel like I’ve gotten it, that I am finally in control, I am humbled by a challenge that exceeds by ability to respond There are two kinds of people in the world of business (including the business of life!) – those who have read this book, and those who will read it. Conscious Business is about ‘entering the market with helping hands’. “This Way has no return and it never ends. There is nowhere to arrive, no final summit to conquer. Only higher and higher reaches of the human spirit. Whenever I feel like I’ve gotten it, that I am finally in control, I am humbled by a challenge that exceeds by ability to respond. However, I have found peace and satisfaction in success beyond success.” To understand ‘Conscious Business’ and ‘success beyond success’ you have to read this book. It establishes the conscious business organizational map on a 3X3 matrix, with three dimensions of the organization as a noun (the impersonal ‘It’, the interpersonal ‘We’ and the personal ‘I’) and three dimensions of the organization as a verb (the ‘having’ product, the ‘doing’ process, and the ‘being’ platform). And it establishes that the highest leverage is in beginning with the platform or ‘culture’ and its systemic artefacts, because that drives or causes everything else. There are seven attributes of a conscious business culture, namely unconditional responsibility, essential integrity, ontological humility, authentic communication, constructive negotiation, impeccable coordination and finally emotional mastery. Each of these are explained in a manner which will touch your left brain, your right brain, and your heart. The book begins with an extraordinary prologue, and an extraordinary epilogue, both reflecting the deeply personal experiences of the author. Reading them will make you agree with Ken Wilber, who calls Fred Kofman a ‘genius with a heart as big as his brain, if that’s possible’. If you savour the experience of upliftment at work, and would like a ready reckoner of that on your table, gift yourself this book today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    MGMaudlin

    After hearing Sheryl Sandberg gush about this book in LEAN IN and then that same week reading a quote by Fred Kofman in Seth Godin's blog, that was enough for me to think the heavens were saying I needed to check out this book. I think the concepts will be basic for some people, but I also found them deeply insightful and profound. In fact, I was surprised to discover that everything Kofman says about the importance of staying conscious in business settings--admitting uncomfortable truths, being After hearing Sheryl Sandberg gush about this book in LEAN IN and then that same week reading a quote by Fred Kofman in Seth Godin's blog, that was enough for me to think the heavens were saying I needed to check out this book. I think the concepts will be basic for some people, but I also found them deeply insightful and profound. In fact, I was surprised to discover that everything Kofman says about the importance of staying conscious in business settings--admitting uncomfortable truths, being an active agent, honoring emotions and learning from them, demonstrating integrity and respect in all relationships--were equally applicable spiritually. In fact, with little rewriting, this could not only be a spirituality book, but a very good and needed one. I highly recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mindful Reader

    I would recommend this book as an intro to conscientious business practices. Some good applicable breakdowns of theoretical issues such as how to practice authentic communication skills in a step-by-step fashion, etc. The concepts are true and implementable to at least some degree. One hole that was never filled was how to work effectively with individuals who have not been introduced to the practices in the book on more than a passing level. Most examples in the book indicated that both parties I would recommend this book as an intro to conscientious business practices. Some good applicable breakdowns of theoretical issues such as how to practice authentic communication skills in a step-by-step fashion, etc. The concepts are true and implementable to at least some degree. One hole that was never filled was how to work effectively with individuals who have not been introduced to the practices in the book on more than a passing level. Most examples in the book indicated that both parties had taken the training Mr. Korman provides through his consulting practice. Overall, the book relies on the karmic truth and you can't argue with that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Edwin B

    Fred Kofman makes no bones about living by principles at work, he judges by no less than that standard. "Take responsibility, don't play the victim blaming others, and clean your side of the street," he writes. His wise advise is to know thyself, to be conscious of the delusionary egoistic value we place on winning and being right, and then to ground ourselves on the truth about our real self beyond status, success and our strongly-held opinions. Attuned to our ever-present self-centeredness, fea Fred Kofman makes no bones about living by principles at work, he judges by no less than that standard. "Take responsibility, don't play the victim blaming others, and clean your side of the street," he writes. His wise advise is to know thyself, to be conscious of the delusionary egoistic value we place on winning and being right, and then to ground ourselves on the truth about our real self beyond status, success and our strongly-held opinions. Attuned to our ever-present self-centeredness, fears and resentments, and through this awareness, to be mindful of doing the right thing - this is the practice at work. Very useful for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    One of, if not my favorite book I've read that is actionable. This book does a great job providing analogies that are accessible to understand and to work into your daily life--be it in a business context, personal, or relationship. I spent so much time reading this book because I tried to work on each chapter before reading the next. While the concepts are all simple, implementing them take lots of practice! This is a must read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lance Willett

    DNF. Maybe later.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea James

    I rarely give books five-stars and whenever I do, I still second guess myself a little. Why was this book THAT good? And I suppose, more pertinent to my insecure vanity, how will *I* be judged? Of course, rationally I know that it's simply down to "did I enjoy it? did it give me value/insights?" and that you may completely disagree with my opinion but there's a small voice in me that says "is this the height of experience? And if this experience was that great, then that somehow makes life disap I rarely give books five-stars and whenever I do, I still second guess myself a little. Why was this book THAT good? And I suppose, more pertinent to my insecure vanity, how will *I* be judged? Of course, rationally I know that it's simply down to "did I enjoy it? did it give me value/insights?" and that you may completely disagree with my opinion but there's a small voice in me that says "is this the height of experience? And if this experience was that great, then that somehow makes life disappointing so you should hold back on calling this great". But now I just say "[email protected]$k it": https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Anyway, back to the review... The book contains many examples of what Kofman refers to as "simple but not easy/common sense but not common practice" statements. For instance: "Ability to respond does not mean ability to succeed. There is no guarantee that what you do will yield what you want." I believe we understand this statement, yet we hold great attachment to the outcome of our efforts. Of course we do, the outcome is often a big part of our motivation for doing something and drives us to perform at our best. Understanding this statement and behaving as if we fully understand the statement are quite separate things. And this book explores the discrepancies and offers practical ways in which we can reconcile the differences. The book reminds us to say "I prefer to focus on other priorities" instead of "I don't have the money or time". It is far more honest and productive to say the former as it allows for a more meaningful conversation with ourselves and with others. The author challenges us to hold ourselves to total responsibility even if it can be painful to do so. We are encouraged to be better friends, managers etc. by asking better questions, difficult and awkward and supportive as they may seem (and of course to ask ourselves in a similar way too). Instead of the first set of questions, we could ask the second set of questions. Victim Questions: What happened to you? Who wronged you? What was wrong (or unfair) about what he did to you? Why do you think he did this to you? What should he have done instead? What should be done to repair the damage? How should he be punished? Responsible Questions: How did you contribute, by acting or not acting, to create this situation? How did you respond to the challenge? Can you think of a more effective course of action that you could have taken? Could you have made some reasonable preparations to reduce the risk or impact of the situation? Can you do something now to minimise or repair the damage? What can you learn from this experience? I think this book prompts us to examine our perspectives and our actual behaviour (and not how we believe we behave) and gives us the opportunity to have insights that potentially improve our interactions and relationships.

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Mason

    I was very torn between barely being able to tolerate this book and thinking it was full of great new mental models for communication and self-reflection. I almost stopped reading it after the first 20 or so pages because it seemed like the epitome of those useless/predatory self-help books. Eventually though it got better and I enjoyed it. However, he would periodically go to such basic things like "a fact is a " vs "a opinion is a" that were painful to get through. It also really bothered me t I was very torn between barely being able to tolerate this book and thinking it was full of great new mental models for communication and self-reflection. I almost stopped reading it after the first 20 or so pages because it seemed like the epitome of those useless/predatory self-help books. Eventually though it got better and I enjoyed it. However, he would periodically go to such basic things like "a fact is a " vs "a opinion is a" that were painful to get through. It also really bothered me that he sometimes said things like "I don't know if this scientific study actually happened or if its just a story" or "I don't know the source of this". Well this is a damn book! Find out before you publish it! That would've been fine in a conversation but seemed very lazy for a published work. Overall though, most of the content was extremely, almost eerily, similar to that in the leadership graduate course I took. I really enjoyed that course, so this book brought back some good feelings.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    From the content, I would wonder of Mr. Kofman had taken courses from Landmark Education. I found a lot of similarities. Perhaps, it is because, as I've been told by some that Landmark isn't particularly profound, or perhaps that is one of the many influences on this book. I would say his points are overall quite sound. Would love to see more businesses adopt a more holistic view of their staff as too often we treat employees, vendors, and contractors as machines who will produce on schedule wit From the content, I would wonder of Mr. Kofman had taken courses from Landmark Education. I found a lot of similarities. Perhaps, it is because, as I've been told by some that Landmark isn't particularly profound, or perhaps that is one of the many influences on this book. I would say his points are overall quite sound. Would love to see more businesses adopt a more holistic view of their staff as too often we treat employees, vendors, and contractors as machines who will produce on schedule without variation regardless of conditions. I particularly valued some of the descriptions of some of the types of employees, such as the "knower" and what their motivation is, and how best to engage with them. I will take these lessons back to my day to day work life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tiffani

    Kofman defines conscious business and outlines 7 elements to enable a conscious business life. Of the 7, I learned the most from unconditional responsibility where Kofman describes how we have the response-ability to deal with different business circumstances (In this section I was introduced to Victor Frankl who wrote 'Man's Search For Meaning'). I appreciated how the author began each chapter with a unproductive, yet realistic dialogue example, explained his proposed theory and then implemente Kofman defines conscious business and outlines 7 elements to enable a conscious business life. Of the 7, I learned the most from unconditional responsibility where Kofman describes how we have the response-ability to deal with different business circumstances (In this section I was introduced to Victor Frankl who wrote 'Man's Search For Meaning'). I appreciated how the author began each chapter with a unproductive, yet realistic dialogue example, explained his proposed theory and then implemented his theory in the revisited mock dialogue.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jimi Ballard

    Excellent book. It looks at the culture and values of organizations and people in them from an Integral Perspective. I have seen videos of the author, Fred Koffman in coaching sessions and he seems to live the philosophy he espouses in this book. Have also hired his consulting organization, Axialent, to do some staff training. Their approach and methodology is very effective.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book begins by addressing the concept of work/ life balance. I love this. Dispelling the idea that while you are working, you are not living. Easy / simple read with some good takeaways for staying on mission and true to your own values.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abenet

    Two things: 1. Add this book to your shelf, like, right now; 2. Go and purchase this book, like, right now. Review to come.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Loose

    This continues to be a book I read & re-read continuously. I really value his voice and find his approaches quite insightful to the various issues I run into on a daily basis with my consulting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    A highly meditative take on how to conduct oneself in life and in business with others, Kofman’s book contains much to discuss and learn. I picked it up in response to reading an article by the CEO of San Francisco tech firm Inkling, where the book is required reading for all employees. Having just wrapped up my first experience taking an early stage startup from 1 to 20 employees, and wishing to understand more about how leaders may intentionally create business culture where employees can not A highly meditative take on how to conduct oneself in life and in business with others, Kofman’s book contains much to discuss and learn. I picked it up in response to reading an article by the CEO of San Francisco tech firm Inkling, where the book is required reading for all employees. Having just wrapped up my first experience taking an early stage startup from 1 to 20 employees, and wishing to understand more about how leaders may intentionally create business culture where employees can not only create business value but thrive personally and emotionally as well, Conscious Business felt highly relevant. Like many entries in the popular, introspective “how to succeed in business” genre, this book can be summed up quickly at a surface level with a few pieces of seemingly basic advice. Here they are, boiled down: First, take personal responsibility to the extreme, and approach problems from a place of curiosity about how you can take more responsibility. Second, practice extreme compassion in your dealings with others. Third, when you act in accordance with your values, you will succeed in life even when you appear to lose. I address each of these main points and their implications in my full review here: http://irenekaoru.com/review-consciou...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Cihodariu

    I was first prompted to read this by one of the organizations I worked with/for, but then I was charmed enough with the book to continue reading it for myself. Since I'm a pretty big fan of awareness in every aspect of human relationships (lest we cause pain to ourselves and others), I think a book about practicing this skill in a professional context is more than welcome. It's a pity how many work environments are toxic and how many bosses practice more or less subtle bullying tactics, especial I was first prompted to read this by one of the organizations I worked with/for, but then I was charmed enough with the book to continue reading it for myself. Since I'm a pretty big fan of awareness in every aspect of human relationships (lest we cause pain to ourselves and others), I think a book about practicing this skill in a professional context is more than welcome. It's a pity how many work environments are toxic and how many bosses practice more or less subtle bullying tactics, especially in my country where many managers are pretty uneducated. This alone is reason enough for Kaufman's book to be mandatory reading before you can open a business :)). Of course, this doesn't mean it doesn't have its self-help slang here and there, but all in all, it's a good read, beyond these occasional slips.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jason Carter

    There is very little in this book with which I would disagree. Fred Kofman is a well-read, thoughtful, and--by all accounts--engaging teacher. His advice in the book is sound, throughout, and supported by science, experience, and anecdotal stories. It's just a lot longer than it needed to be, and is less about "business" than about "being a good businessman/businesswoman," where good is defined primarily as being a man or woman of integrity. I liked Fred's later book, "The Meaning Revolution," bet There is very little in this book with which I would disagree. Fred Kofman is a well-read, thoughtful, and--by all accounts--engaging teacher. His advice in the book is sound, throughout, and supported by science, experience, and anecdotal stories. It's just a lot longer than it needed to be, and is less about "business" than about "being a good businessman/businesswoman," where good is defined primarily as being a man or woman of integrity. I liked Fred's later book, "The Meaning Revolution," better.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Li Li

    An excellent books full of insights. I have to admit that attention to detail without summary and highlights makes it very challenging to finish this 9-chapter book. I certainly will reread this book and be more focused on all the examples he provided - I've skimmed through some of the examples just to make sure I can finish where I started. On and off, took me a month to finish a book, very unusal.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Geert Hofman

    Very thoughtful book that should be required reading for everyone who wants to build sustainable relations doing business. It's even good advice for all kinds of relations, not only in a business context. The advice in the book is really practical and well organized. With the table of contents at hand you can easily recall the lessons introduced. As said, this is a practical, thorough and well structured book for everyone actively trying to build a better world in cooperation with other people.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Roller coaster ride. I've found myself highlighting and reflecting throughout the first half of the book. The attention to detail as the book progressed caused me to disengage over time, but the first half is worth the price of admission and more. Must read for the modern work environments. Leaders and front line will find value!

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Sutton

    This a very long book for what it offers, but there is a lot of really good information and perspective in here. This is a good one and done book to read. I re-listened to it and don't feel I got out nearly as much as I did the first time. My favorite part of this book is Fred's ability to offer simple, real life examples to make his points and show perspective.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolina Polanco

    A must read! I have read many great books, but sometimes I found books that are so applicable and life changing, that I just feel like giving it to everyone I know. This book is one of them. Fred finds a very practical and authentic way to connect one’s true self with the business world. Highly recommended!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    This book resonated with me and made me reflect on my interactions in the workplace. I think this transcends the business environment and can be applied to all relationships My concern lays with the concept of ontological humility. If the the receiving party is not as aware and open, wouldn't the humility be misconstrued as a lack of self-confidence? This has been my experience, at least.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jesper Vestergaard

    A really great book that over-delivers vastly on it's promise to teach you about business and working with others. It's applicable to life in a larger context. The straight forward concepts and elaborations of the book makes it easy to digest and relate to you day to day life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Serena Cappellini

    A must read for anyone who is currently employed anywhere. Or own their own business and has to deal with other humans on a business level. And everyone else outside these two boxes. Such an inspiring and eye opening work of art. Truly insightful.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    I was very skeptical initially but this book ended up having tons of good insight into how to work with people but also about disentangling your own self worth and image from what you do at work or how things go for you at work. The only downside is that it was very long.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Glen Leavens

    Challenging read. 12 chapters (sessions!) with Fred. Responsibility, Wisdom, Humility, Compassion, courage, Honesty, Respect, Creativity, Integrity, discipline, commitment & Vision. Much more than words and new way of thinking.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I read this book to learn more approaches to mindful listening and empathy development. There were some helpful passages but found the book disjointed overall. One lesson made it worth the read for me which is to think of “response” as “response-ability”.

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