Doing Virtuous Business – Review

Doing Virtuous Business: The Remarkable Success of Spiritual EnterpriseDoing Virtuous Business: The Remarkable Success of Spiritual Enterprise by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, though it took me into waters where I seldom swim. I am a theologian by education and a teacher by trade. I know next to nothing about economics, but I was intrigued by this book’s title, especially as I am just beginning to learn about how the church should engage in business and in economic development. Dr. Theodore Malloch maintains that companies can do good, while still succeeding in business. The examples he presented were persuasive and encouraging. There are a number of people and companies which put ethics above profits, but who have also made huge profits.

Malloch brought a number of philosophers and theologians into the broader discussion of what “virtue” is. I was a little uncomfortable with the vague use of terms like “spirit” and “faith.” He wants to affirm the best in other religious traditions, such as Islam, which set off my conservative warning bells. But, if he wants to persuade young Muslim men to pursue a life of “doing virtuous business,” rather than blowing people up, then I gladly support that. I would argue, from an apologetics vantage, that any virtue and morality in other religions comes from being made in the “image of God,” and having a God-given conscience (as Romans 1 teaches). If a Hindu is doing business virtuously, then he is acting like a Christian should act, and that opens up an avenue for dialogue and discussion. I believe only a Christian worldview supplies the moral and philosophical foundation for doing anything virtuously, but that would not sell as many books.

Malloch also has done a valuable service in offering an alternative picture to what capitalism is. If business is done within a framework of “virtue” and with sustained attention to spiritual realities, then that is a powerful corrective to the go-for-the-jugular stereotype of the Wall Street jungle. God created Adam and Eve to tend and care for a garden–isn’t doing good business just an extension of good and faithful gardening?

(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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

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