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370-Word Book Review: Bringing Your Business to Life

Short review: 64 words
A quick read, Bringing Your Business to Life is full of practical advice, concrete examples and reflective ideas for the entrepreneur. It's a primer on creating a venture that is not just successful, but meaningful for the entrepreneur on a personal and societal level. Written from a Christian perspective, it should appeal to anyone seeking to add moral or communal value to a business.

How to read it:

  • In one sitting (or two)
  • With a highlighter or pen to make notes
  • Yearly, or every time you launch something new

Longer analysis: 306 words
I bought this book after hearing the authors present on its theme. Both Jeffrey Cornwall and Michael Naughton are skilled professors in their respective fields (business and theology) and the book is the product of their teaching a course together.

The combination of both minds knits together this worthy read, which calls attention to the four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, courage and temperance) as they relate to the entrepreneur personally and professionally. It's a reminder that it's simply not enough to be successful – one must also be good (as defined by the four virtues).

And to be good, the entrepreneur must remember that business is never just business. A new or growing venture is always a part of our lives, and our lives also contain things like our families, our communities, our religious expressions and our free time. When all the components of our life are not held in proper balance, we truly miss a chance at being good.

While the book is short on 'self-help' – at least in the form of checklists, reminders and metrics – it is rich with examples of companies that have achieved financial and ethical success. It calls to the reader's attention businesses in a variety of sectors that treat employees well, produce quality goods and services, and ultimately set a standard for just how good an entrepreneur and his or her business can be.

I made note of several key quotes, some of which I'll share to end this review:

Entrepreneurs are a powerful force in our society because they create trends, break molds and cause significant changes within society. (page 29)

If businesses fail to act as agents of justice, it most often defaults to government agencies to act. (page 101)

Temperance helps us see the importance of saying no. Our nos clarify the yeses of our commitments. (page 147)

Other books reviewed in 2009:

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