Incorporating religious values into business practice is a scary topic for many managers. Some see it on the level of church and state separation a sacred division of home life versus work life that should never be crossed. But a new trend in business says honoring life values can translate into better business practices.

As Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield once said, "Sometimes people ask if we're talking about hippie values (at Ben & Jerry's). We say, It's more like biblical values. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. As you give, you receive." Just because the idea that the good you do comes back to you is written in the Bible and not in some business textbook doesn't make it any less valid. Four new books perfectly capture this emerging intersection of the religious or value-based life and the inspired marketplace.

Casting a wider net

Laurie Beth Jones, the author of Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork, says her mission is to recognize, promote, and inspire the divine connection in all of us. The author of Jesus, CEO and Jesus, Inc., Jones utilizes the interactions of Jesus with his disciples and followers to illustrate how the leader in all of us can make our work meaningful and fulfilling. Using New Testament illustrations, Jones attacks almost every leadership dilemma and offers strikingly sensible ways to look at teamwork and workplace problems.

A witty and thoughtful writer, Jones presents arguments that are easy to understand. Her previous books have been bestsellers with good reason. Managers across the country have looked for ways to inspire and motivate employees, only to learn that taking their values to work can translate into enthusiastic and value-driven employees.

It isn't necessary to be a born-again Christian to learn great business principles from Teach Your Team to Fish. Jones offers Jesus as a teacher, as Tao Te Ching or Socratic Dialogues have offered inspiration for other writers in building good business practices.

A cheerful giver

Parables are not always rooted in the ancient. The Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy is a collection of short tales about the myriad ways in which people's lives intersect. At its heart, this modern day Canterbury Tales shows the life-altering power of giving with generosity. Like Chaucer's famous travelers, each pilgrim has a story and each story leads him or her to seek a better way.

The characters include The Broker who finds his money-filled life strangely bereft of meaning; his Driver, whose life shows him that there are many ways to find happiness; and The Executive whose work defines generosity and serves as an example for change for The Broker.

Written by the author of The One-Minute Manager and the founder and chairman of the fast-food chain Chik-fil-A, this modern parable defines five principles of generosity that can inspire success in the workplace and in the heart.

Moses, CEO

The Bible on Leadership: From Moses to Matthew Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders by Lorin Woolfe offers a business case study approach to the intersection of biblical values and best business practices. Woolfe provides hundreds of examples of CEOs, entrepreneurs and great leaders who've made value marriages work. From Starbucks, Merck and Tom's of Maine, to USAA Insurance and of course Ben ∧ Jerry's, Woolfe defines values and chronicles leaders who have put their money where their hearts are.

This is a surprising and thought-provoking book. Why? Because it is filled with the names and quotes of the giants of modern industry, sports, marketing and service. Mammoth names in business all share the same thought again and again without values, money and success are nothing. Steven Covey sums up the message well: Life is a mission, not a career. If you've been thinking about the meaning in your business life and want to find a reason to lead and make your business successful, start with this book.


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