Book Review: Minding Your Business

This book is one of those that comes along inspiring you deeply, confirming your hopes, and expanding your understanding. When it comes to doing business consciously it is truly a gem.

The one quote which summarizes the book, and to which I always return whenever talking about conscious business is;

“The gift of the multiple crises that confront the world, is that we cannot overcome and remind the same people. Not only must everything we do change, but so must each and every one of us”.

I’ve always believed that change starts from within, and with business it is no different. Businesses are made up of people, and if people don’t change, business won’t either. The author of the book Horst Rechelbacher is not merely a theorist, he made the change within and also translated that into a hugely successful international brand and company (Aveda and later Intelligent Nutrients). His journey started when he became ill after working with the toxic products that are commonly used in most hair salons (Horst started his career as a hair dresser).

This experience set him on a mission to create a range of products that were not only not harmful for his customers but also not harmful for the planet or any other human community. He worked closely and harmoniously with tribes in the Amazon from where many remarkable ingredients came. He was humble enough to learn from them and the stories he shares of his time there are truly remarkable.

Horst was also the first person in history to give international property rights to this Amazonian tribe for the knowledge which they contributed to his products. So he also translated the values of interconnectedness to which he gives so much importance in his book, into reality. And this is one of the best parts of the book! A frequent complaint against conscious business principles is that they are not practical to implement into business…Horst is the proof that this is simply not true.

The whole book is fantastic but another notable mention should go to the chapter that is written on mentorship. Horst shares how much certain teachers and mentors in his life had an impact, something we can all take note of in today’s culture of independence which often spills over into arrogance. And he also notes how ultimately we are students of life and nature, and maintaining this humility keeps us always ready to learn and serve something that is greater than ourselves.

This book is a beautiful blend of the ‘external’ (tangible) and ‘internal’ (intangible) lessons that we need to learn to become true stewards of this planet. In the author’s own words…

“Ultimately we will need to rewrite the laws of business to reflect our genuine stewardship responsibilities, not only to our company, and our human shareholders, but also to the larger human community, and to our greatest shareholder, nature itself. If enough of us do enough of these things, business will become the positive force of global healing and transformation to which it is being called.”

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