The Conscience Economy: A book review by Bob Morris

Conscience EconomyThe Conscience Economy: How a Mass Movement for Good Is Great for Business
Steven Overman
Bibliomotion Books + Media (2014)

How and why vales-driven free enterprise may well be the modern agent to make life safer, better, and longer for the human race

According to Louis Rossetto in the Foreword, “If you’re pessimistic about the future, you’re likely to embrace an après moi le déluge attitude and focus on short-term gratification. On the other hand, if you believe the future will be better, you will step up. take responsibility, and do the long-term thinking necessary to make that better world for you and your children.”

I agree with Rossetto. However, before reading and then re-reading this book, I really was not clear in my thinking about the future. More specifically, I was uncertain what stepping up, taking responsibility, and doing the long-term thinking that is necessary to make the world better for my four children and, yes, their ten children really mean. I am grateful to Steven Overman and to each of the pundits who share their thoughts about one or more of the major issues now emerging in the Conscience Economy. (I quote six of them later in this review.) What are the core principles and defining characteristics of conscience-driven economy? Overman suggests these.

1. Collective-Self Actualization: “My fulfillment requires our fulfillment.”
2. Optimism: “We can create a better world. So we will.”
3. Fairness: “Everyone has a right to a great life. Everyone.”
4. Well-Bering: “We expect to be and feel healthy in body, mind, and spirit.”
5. Transparency: “We crave knowing everything, so if you don’t tell us, we’ll find out for ourselves.”
6. Authenticity: “We see right through fake, so keep it real.”
7. Disruptive Irreverence: “Let’s turn it all upside down.”
8. Sensible Environmentalism: “If it’s bad for the planet, it’s not for us.”
9. Global Citizenship: “We are all part of something bigger” so “Think locally, act globally.”

Over the years, I have observed that, however different they may be in most respects, all healthy organizations share this in common: Everyone involved thinks and behaves in terms of first-person plural pronouns, and, they have a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Overman’s coverage:

o Something Different in the Air (Pages 3-4)
o The Ubuntu Mind-Set (4-7)
o Conscience Is Connection (11-13)
o Win-Win, and, Get Ready (13-17)
o The Great Conflux (21-33)
o The Crossroads (33-36)
o Build Your Telescope (36-38)
o Conscious Culture Benefits (43-48)
o Conscious Culture Expectations (48-54)
o Old and New Basics 69-80)
o Baked In (84-86)
o Business and Society (86-88)
o Professional Corporate Citizenship (92-95)
o The Five Cs of Matchmaking (106-114)
o The Power of Giving Up Power (130-131)
o Measuring the Immeasurable (139-142)
o Dimensions of Accountability (142-148)

You now you have in this brief commentary a representative selection from among the invaluable information, insights, and counsel that Steven Overman provides in abundance. Let’s allow him the final observations, affirming values with which I wholly agree: “Business operates in the service of human lives. Life generates infinite data. But life is not made of data. Life is made of experiences, sensations, and emotions. Of course the facts matter. But only when you put them in a meaningful context. Thus, stories are always more effective than stats…The mass movement for good is great for people. And it’s great for resources. And that’s ultimately why the Conscience Economy is great for business. Is there any other option?” I can’t think of one. Can you?

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