The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good

by James O'Toole

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: March 20, 2019

ISBN: 9780062880246

Binding: Hardback

Availability: 7-14 Days

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An expert on ethical leadership analyzes the complicated history of businesspeople who attempted to marry the pursuit of profits with virtuous organizational practices-from British industrialist Robert Owen to American retailer James Cash Penney and jeans pioneer Levi Strauss to modern-day entrepreneurs Anita Roddick and Tom Chappell.In The Enlightened Capitalists, James O'Toole tells the largely forgotten stories of men and women who adopted forward-thinking business practices designed to serve the needs of their employees, customers, communities, and the natural environment. Rejecting philanthropy as ineffective, these innovators wanted to prove that executives didn't have to make trade-offs for profit and virtue. Combining a wealth of research and vivid storytelling, O'Toole brings to life historical figures like William Lever, the inventor of bar soap, who created the most profitable company in Britain and used his money to greatly improve the lives of his workers and their families. Eventually, he lost control of the company to creditors and successor managers who subsequently terminated the enlightened practices he had initiated-the fate of most idealistic capitalists.Today, corporate leaders in Britain and America are attempting to respond to increasing pressures to address urgent social and environmental issues. But will they-can they-succeed where others failed By examining the tangled histories of the Enlightened Capitalists, O'Toole explores a major question being posed today in the UK and US: Are virtuous corporate practices compatible with shareholder capitalism