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Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity

August Turak



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Columbia University Press
05 May 2015
Economics & Business; Management & management techniques
August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey for seventeen years. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses.

Service and selflessness are at the heart of the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition's remarkable business success. It is an ancient though immensely relevant economic model that preserves what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions. Combining vivid case studies from his thirty-year business career with intimate portraits of the monks at work, Turak shows how Trappist principles can be successfully applied to a variety of secular business settings and to our personal lives as well. He demonstrates that monks and people like Warren Buffett are wildly successful not despite their high principles but because of them. Turak also introduces other transformational organizations that share the crucial monastic business strategies so critical for success.
By:   August Turak
Imprint:   Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   326g
ISBN:   9780231160636
ISBN 10:   0231160631
Series:   Columbia Business School Publishing
Pages:   200
Publication Date:   05 May 2015
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Preface1. The Economic Miracle of Mepkin Abbey2. What We All Really Want3. The End of Selfishness4. Goat Rodeos and the Transformational Or ga ni za tion5. Mission6. Selflessness and Community7. Excellence for the Sake of Excellence8. Ethical Standards, or, Why Good Things Happen for Good People9. Faith10. The Power of Trust11. Self- knowledge and Authenticity12. Living the Life

After a corporate career with companies like MTV, August Turak founded two highly successful software businesses, Raleigh Group International (RGI) and Elsinore Technologies. He received a B.A. in history from the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a Masters in theology at St. John's University, Minnesota. Turak's essay Brother John received the grand prize in the John Templeton Foundation's Power of Purpose essay contest. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week, and is a popular leadership contributor at His website is

Reviews for Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity

I truly believe this book will improve not only your business but your life. Read it. Apply what you learn and then, in keeping with the very spirit of the book, pass it on to someone else. -- Michael Keaton, actor Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks is an eye-opening read. August Turak delivers a timely, insightful message about the power of purpose and the surprising ways that service can fuel success. The engaging narrative -- which is grounded in Turak's rich, diverse experiences as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, and monastic guest -- paints a picture of a path to profits that is both pioneering and provocative. -- Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success This book is both quietly provocative and groundbreaking. With great simplicity, August Turak unlocks these monastic 'secrets' that go to the core of succeeding in an economic era in which authenticity and passion have become key. Who knew the monks had so many things right? -- Tom Freston, former CEO of Viacom and MTV Networks The Business Secrets of Trappist Monks is sure to be a business classic. It is a compelling and important tutorial on how to build authentically sustainable companies. August Turak's stories and examples are magical, yet the philosophical ideas they're founded on resonate with truth. It is a must read for the thoughtful executive. -- Mark Booth, former chairman and CEO of NetJets Europe This is an eloquent, powerful book that accentuates the power of trust and the surprising gift that selfless leadership can bring to institutions. August Turak expertly shows how Trappist ways and wisdom connect character to the art of leadership, and how this unique approach can be helpful in our current thinking about leadership, business, and the meaning of our own lives. New insights and ancient truth blend in this remarkable book by a remarkable teacher. -- Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School and author of Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins This is an inspirational book that presents a different view of business leadership and success that is important for serious and aspiring business leaders to take into consideration. August Turak also has a narrative voice that is both genuine and authoritative, and he has thoughtfully organized 'take-aways' throughout the book into lists that will be extremely useful for readers. -- Lindsay Thompson, John Hopkins University- Carey Business School The book is an inspirational, provocative and ground-breaking tour-de-force and should be required reading for business leaders and in business schools. -- Ray Williams Psychology Today 6/27/13 Part philosophy, part economics, and very much about service The Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks will guide you to a better understanding of why you do what you do. 1-800-CEO-Read 7/12/2013 ... A quite serious and often fascinating read. Chief Executive 8/1/14

  • Short-listed for 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, Management category 2013
  • Winner of Axiom Business Book Awards for Business Ethics 2014

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