Books

Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming Corporate America

Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming Corporate America (Crown, 2004) tells the stories of the extraordinary business people who are leading the way and the admirable companies they have built.

It’s called Faith and Fortune because faith provides the fuel that energizes these people as they strive to do business better. Some have faith in God, while others do not. But all of them have faith in the goodness of people and faith in the possibility of change. Most of all, they have faith that corporations, guided by strong values and a dedication to serving others, can become a powerful force for good in the world.

Faith and Fortune argues that an exciting new model of conducting business is taking hold, not only in small, socially responsible companies but also inside well-known FORTUNE 500 companies like Herman Miller, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Timberland and UPS. Bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, this new model is replacing a century-old approach that was rooted in the industrial era. The old way of thinking looked at business as a series of discrete, win-lose transactions: Executives tried to pay their workers and suppliers as little as they could, charge their customers as much as they could and maximize their short-term profits. Today, by contrast, forward-thinking executives build their businesses by developing a network of long lasting, win-win relationships with workers, customers, shareholders and communities. Great companies serve their workers, customers, owners and the common good.

Powerful forces are driving these changes. They include the desire of companies to attract and engage their workforce, the emergence of the 1960s generation in positions of corporate power, the spirituality-in-the-workplace movement, the rise of social investing, and the growth and sophistication of activist groups. Even the recent corporate scandals have driven big companies to demonstrate they are about more than greed.

At once realistic and inspiring, Faith and Fortune profiles companies and people who represent the best of business and exemplify these new values.

 

The House that Roone Built: The Inside Story of ABC News

When Roone Arledge became president of ABC News in 1977, he took over a second-rate news organization that lacked the reputation, ratings and star power of its well-established competitors, CBS News and ABC News.

Arledge, who had made his name as an innovative producer of sports, went on to develop bold new ways of delivering news with such programs as Nightline, 20/20, This Week and Prime Time Live, and to assemble a galaxy of stars: Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Sam Donaldson and David Brinkley.

Published in 1994 by Little Brown, The House that Roone Built: The Inside Story of ABC News tells the dramatic story of Arledge’s rise and, eventually, his fall from power. It also explores the evolution of network news from a profession, in which producers and reports saw themselves as serving the public, into a business that played to the crowd. A complex, brilliant and difficult man, Arledge had as much impact on television as anyone in the industry’s history. Roone Arledge died in 2003.

 

Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC’s Monday Night Football

Since ABC introduced Monday Night Football to television in 1970, Monday nights in America have never been the same. Published in 1988 by William Morrow, Monday Night Mayhem: The Inside Story of ABC’s Monday Night Football tells the entertaining story of how ABC and the NFL together turned an otherwise ordinary football game into a national institution with a faithful following of millions.

I wrote Monday Night Mayhem with my friend Bill Carter, who covers television for The New York Times. The book offers a revealing look at some of the most colorful and influential figures in the television industry, notably Roone Arledge, the inventive genius behind the success of ABC Sports and Howard Cosell., the controversial, bombastic star whose powerful personality dominated, and then disrupted, the show.

Monday Night Mayhem was made into a TNT cable movie in 2002. John Turturro played Cosell, John Heard played Arledge and Eli Wallach played ABC chairman Leonard Goldenson.

 

Basepaths: From the Minor Leagues to the Majors and Beyond

Basepaths: From the Minor Leagues to the Majors and Beyond is my first book. Published in 1984 by Scribner and written for young adults, Basepaths is about baseball players and their careers. Some of the players were famous stars (Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter, Bill White, Ferguson Jenkins), some were unknown and most were in between. Each was chosen to represent a stage of a baseball career, from beginning to retiree.

These players had just one thing in common—a willingness to talk to an ordinary fan about what they do. Basepaths is about baseball, but it is also about the pursuit of excellence. These are stories about people who are striving to be the best at what they do.

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