How Whole Foods' John Mackey Awoke to a New Way of Doing Business
Business can be a wonderful vehicle for both personal and organizational learning and growth. I have experienced many more awakenings as Whole Foods has grown and evolved over the past three decades. We will share some of these throughout the book. Most importantly, I have learned that life is short and that we are simply passing through here. We cannot stay. It is therefore essential that we find guides whom we can trust and who can help us discover and realize our higher purposes in life before it is too late.
In my early twenties, I made what has proven to have been a wise decision: a lifelong commitment to follow my heart wherever it led me—which has been on a wonderful journey of adventure, purpose, creativity, growth, and love. I have come to understand that it is possible to live in this world with an open, loving heart. I have learned that we can channel our deepest creative impulses in loving ways toward fulfilling our higher purposes, and help evolve the world to a better place.
We have opened this book with a recounting of some of my awakenings because that is an apt metaphor for my journey of rising consciousness in my life and work. This journey has helped me to access some fundamental truths about business that were beyond my reach earlier. I have seen the power of this wisdom at work in my own company and at other companies and have come to realize that the world urgently needs a richer, more holistic, and more humanistic philosophy and narrative about business than the one we have encountered in economics textbooks, in business school teachings, and even from the mouths and pens of many prominent business leaders.
Why We Wrote This Book
My own awakenings to higher levels of consciousness have been paralleled by the evolution of Whole Foods Market to a deeper sense of its own purpose and potential for societal impact. Looking beyond our company, I see that so much about business and capitalism that for so long has been unconscious is now becoming conscious. The most exciting but unheralded change human society has experienced in a long time may be that we are beginning to collectively awaken to the incredible potential of business and capitalism being conducted much more consciously!
My coauthor, Raj Sisodia, has gone through his own journey of seeking deeper truths about business over his twenty-eight years as a professor, an author, and a consultant to numerous companies. He has come to discoveries similar to mine by studying a number of companies (including Whole Foods Market) that are loved by all their stakeholders and have consequently become extraordinarily successful at creating both wealth and well-being. He investigated and described what made these companies special in his influential and inspiring 2007 book Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose.