Purpose (revised review).

AuthorYakimovicz, Ann
PositionBook review

Purpose (revised review), by Nikos Mourkogiannis, Book, 2006, Palgrave Macmillan, $27.95.

I have seen the difference a good editor can make in the published version of a book. I read the advance proof of Purpose for the review that follows (first published in November 2006). The published book is much more readable and up-to-date. Transitions from chapter to chapter connect the arguments and build a stronger tie with the reader.

A perfect example is the close of Chapter 1, now called "Introducing Purpose." It lists six situations in a company that could be symptoms of problems with purpose--situations that can quickly capture the interest of senior executives and lead them to read further. Part I's historical examples now connect with suggested actions in Part II, and the two sections flow easily into one another.

Additional references, such as to the company Jet Blue and the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, more clearly relate the book's ideas to concrete, contemporary situations. Examples and explanations throughout the book have been expanded and clarified, again with the goal of aiding readers and connecting more strongly to their experience.

The book will probably still be used most often by graduate business school students and management consultants. Because of the improved readability and increased value for self-study, I've moved up the Overall value rating to 2.5 (Above average).

Original review:

After the Enron scandal and the resulting surge of business regulation, some people thought enough had been done to ensure company leaders would behave differently in the future. Not Nikos Mourkogiannis, author of Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies.

Organizations and moral purpose

Mourkogiannis, a London-based management consultant and co-founder of the Harvard Law School Center on Negotiations, believes that leaders of successful companies build and drive those companies from a strong sense of moral purpose, beyond the goals of profit and success, and that it's time to return to a focus on that purpose.

Four categories of purpose reside in the conjunction of competitiveness and morality; each can serve as a compass to steer an organization. According to the Preface, Purpose was written for CEOs, executives on the CEO path, and business students. Part I first introduces four philosophers and types of moral ideas: Kierkegaard and "the new;" Aristotle and "the excellent;" Hume and "the helpful;" and Nietzsche and "the effective."...

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