Conscious Leadership Book Summary - Conscious Leadership Book explained in key points
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Conscious Leadership summary

John Mackey, Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps

Elevating Humanity Through Business

4.4 (137 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

'Conscious Leadership' by John Mackey, Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps explores the concept of conscious leadership and its role in creating ethical, sustainable and profitable businesses. It provides practical guidance for leaders to contribute to a better world.

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    Conscious Leadership
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Conscious leadership begins with personal transformation.

    Let’s begin with the story of author John Mackey. 

    In the late 2000s, Mackey arrived in Florida to meet with the Whole Foods Market board of directors. They were going to discuss his future as CEO of the company – and it wasn’t good news. 

    According to the board, Mackey’s work over the past few years had been unsatisfactory. 

    For example, Mackey had tried to create an online initiative for Whole Foods – – which aimed to sell everything from healthy food and supplements to books and clothing. Unfortunately, it was a bust. The board had had enough.

    After he left the meeting, Mackey felt panic-stricken. Was he about to lose everything he’d worked for? 

    Mackey might have felt like this was the end for him as a leader. But, in fact, it was just the beginning.

    The key message here is: Conscious leadership begins with personal transformation. 

    Mackey wandered into some of the local Whole Foods stores in Florida – as he quite often did when he was traveling. He saw aisles lined with an abundance of healthy, natural food, and a number of happy employees chatting to customers.

    This brought him to a realization: making people happy and inspiring them to eat nutritious food was exactly what Whole Foods was all about. It was the reason he had cofounded the company all those years ago. 

    In that moment, Mackey reconnected to his purpose – his “why” for wanting to lead a business that was driven by something more than just money.

    When Mackey met with the board again later that afternoon, he did all he could to prove that he was the person to lead Whole Foods into the new millennium. And he just about pulled it off. 

    To cut a long story short, Mackey was able to keep his job – but he knew he couldn’t be the same leader he’d been before. If he was going to guide Whole Foods into a bright future, he would need to grow and evolve as a conscious leader. That meant embarking upon an “intentional journey” of personal development.

    In the next blinks, we’ll look at the steps you can take to become a conscious leader – including what mindset you need to embody and the qualities you need to cultivate. 

    But first, let’s take a look at the role of business in society – and at how capitalism can be a force for good.

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    What is Conscious Leadership about?

    Conscious Leadership (2020) reveals what it takes to lead a purpose-driven business that sees beyond the bottom line. Drawing on his experience as CEO of one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States, John Mackey shows how leaders can shape their businesses to become more innovative, competitive, and socially responsible.

    Conscious Leadership Review

    Conscious Leadership (2020) is a thought-provoking exploration of leadership in our rapidly changing world. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers insights from experienced leaders who have successfully implemented conscious leadership principles, providing valuable guidance for aspiring leaders.
    • The book delves into the importance of purpose and authenticity in leadership, prompting readers to reflect on their own values and motivations.
    • With its examination of conscious business practices, the book presents tangible ways to create positive social impact while achieving business success.

    Best quote from Conscious Leadership

    Sometimes we need to walk through the wilderness to find a sense of direction.

    —John Mackey, Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps
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    Who should read Conscious Leadership?

    • Organizations seeking their purpose
    • Business coaches who want to help strengthen leaders, teams, and enterprises
    • HR departments looking to improve their hiring practices

    About the Author

    John Mackey is the cofounder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. He also cofounded the nonprofit organization Conscious Capitalism. 

    Steve McIntosh is the president and cofounder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, a nonprofit social policy think tank. He has written many books, including Developmental Politics

    Carter Phipps is a writer and speaker who cofounded the Institute for Cultural Evolution along with McIntosh. He was previously the executive editor of EnlightenNext magazine and is the author of Evolutionaries.

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    Conscious Leadership FAQs 

    What is the main message of Conscious Leadership?

    The main message of Conscious Leadership is that leaders can create positive change by embodying awareness, purpose, and care.

    How long does it take to read Conscious Leadership?

    The reading time for Conscious Leadership varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Conscious Leadership a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Conscious Leadership is worth reading as it provides insightful perspectives on leadership, guiding readers to develop a more conscious approach that benefits both themselves and their organizations.

    Who is the author of Conscious Leadership?

    The authors of Conscious Leadership are John Mackey, Steve McIntosh, and Carter Phipps.

    What to read after Conscious Leadership?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Conscious Leadership, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
    • Leadership is Half the Story by Marc Hurwitz and Samantha Hurwitz
    • Mastery by Robert Greene
    • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
    • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • The Mindful Body by Ellen J. Langer
    • Do Hard Things by Steve Magness
    • Conscious Business by Fred Kofman
    • Mastering Communication at Work by Ethan F. Becker and Jon Wortmann
    • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin