Can capitalism and Christianity work together?

26 Mar

Doing Virtuous Business

Book Review: Doing Virtuous Business: The Remarkable Success of Spiritual Enterprise, by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Is it possible to operate a successful business if you don’t put profit first on your priority list? Is it possible to create wealth through virtuous means?

These are the questions tackled by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch in his book, Doing Virtuous Business. His contention is that “the creation of wealth by virtuous means is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and others, for our society, and for the world at large.”

In my analysis, the book can be divided into three parts. In the first two chapters, he lays out his model for using “spiritual capital” on which to establish a business. He describes 14 virtues which make up a business’ spiritual capital—faith, honesty, gratitude, perseverance, compassion, forgiveness, patience, humility, courage, respect, generosity, discipline, chastity, and thrift. To be honest, this was the hardest part of the book for me to wade through. It felt too theoretical and textbook-ish for my taste. I kept wishing for real life examples to flesh out and prove his theory.

The author seemingly heard my concerns and provides numerous examples in chapters 3-5. In this section, he illustrates his concepts in the lives of several different corporations, business people, and CEOs. I believe this middle section is the strength of the book.

In the last third of the book, Malloch tries to answer the questions and concerns of those who might be cynical and resistant to his beliefs.

Once I got through the first 45 pages, I found the book to be rewarding and helpful. I came away convinced that faith can and should play a vital role in the leadership and operation of a successful business.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com http://BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Books


One response to “Can capitalism and Christianity work together?

  1. Bob Lepse

    March 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    A couple years ago I took a course class at the UW designed for senior citizens. It was taught by a retired UW professor, Robert Richards. Richards is an economist, entrepreneur, banker and church lay leader. After his retirement from UW he spent three years devoted to study of scripture, prayer, and seeking answers to the relationship between capitalism and Christianity, working at Fuller Seminary. He sees great virtue in capitalism in that it is the only economic system consistent with the Christian imperative to “love one another.”
    I took that last quote from the book jacket as I think it suggests the theme of the 500 plus page book, “God and Business: Christianity’s Case for Capitalism.”
    I have a signed copy of the book which I am happy to lend. I was impressed with Richard’s career and views.


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