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Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Summer 2019

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The Economics of Higher Purpose
Eight Counterintuitive Steps for Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization
By (author): Robert E. Quinn By (author): Anjan Thakor
9781523086405 Hardcover English General Trade BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior Aug 20, 2019
$39.95 CAD
Active 6.5 x 9.56 x 0.8 in 240 pages Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Two distinguished scholars offer eight steps to help organizations discover and embrace an authentic higher purpose—something that will dramatically improve every aspect of any enterprise, including the bottom line.

What does a lofty notion like purpose have to do with business basics like the bottom line? Robert E. Quinn and Anjan J. Thakor say pretty much everything. Leaders and managers are taught that employees are self-interested and work resistant, so they create systems of control to combat these expectations. Workers resent these systems, and performance suffers. To address the performance issues, managers double down on the coercion, creating a vicious cycle and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But there is a better way. Quinn and Thakor show that when an authentic higher purpose permeates business strategy and decision-making, the cycle is broken. Employers and employees see themselves as working together toward an inspiring goal, not just trying to hit quarterly targets. They fully engage, become proactive contributors, and, ironically, easily exceed those quarterly targets.

Based on their widely acclaimed Harvard Business Review article, Quinn and Thakor offer eight sometimes surprising steps for shifting from a transaction-oriented mind-set focused on constraints to a purpose-oriented mind-set focused on possibility. This iconoclastic book will help any organization discover its authentic purpose and weave it into the fabric of everything it does, leading to unprecedented levels of personal satisfaction, service and product innovation, and economic growth.

DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS: Robert E. Quinn is professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and one of the co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizations. Anjan J Thakor is John E. Simon Professor of Finance at the Olin Business School at Business, Washington University.

BUILDS ON A SUCCESSFUL VIRAL VIDEO: Quinn’s 23-minute long talk at Google, “How to Live a Purpose-Driven Life” has racked up over 35,000 views. An 8-minute long edited version, “How to Find Purpose in Your Life” has been seen by an astonishing 15 million viewers.

BESTSELLING AUTHOR: Quinn’s Deep Change has sold over 100,000 copies.

Robert E. Quinn is a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a cofounder of the Center for Positive Organizations there. He is a fellow of the Academy of Management and the World Business Academy and is the author of eighteen books.

Anjan J. Thakor is the John E. Simon Professor of Finance at the Olin Business School at Washington University. Prior to that, Thakor was the Edward J. Frey Professor of Banking and Finance at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, where he also served as chairman of the finance area.

Author Residence: Ann Arbor, MI & St Louis, MO

Publicity: Sales at author speaking—Quinn is signed up with Big Speak and speaks at many academic conferences

Author will be hiring a publicity firm

Media outreach targeting business, training, HR, and leadership media, including Fast Company, T&D, Training, OD Journal, and academic journals like Academy of Management Review and Personnel Psychology

Launch at the Academy of Management

Outreach to the Positive Psychology community

Promotion via a digital course the authors are designing with CorpU and the University of Michigan

Academic email marketing

Promotion via Bob’s social and electronic media presence: Blog with 2.3K followers, quarterly newsletter with 1.8K subscribers, FB page with 2K friends, 1K followers on LinkedIn

Promotion on the Berrett-Koehler Blog,

Email campaigns to Berrett-Koehler’s 20K+ contacts

Promotion on BK social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Feature Website:

Author Website:

Author Social Media:

“Authors Thakor and Quinn have produced the best kind of leadership prescription—a simple, applicable idea with profound consequences: leaders who provide a higher purpose achieve both better results and greater career satisfaction in employees. What could be more rewarding than engaging people in a cause bigger than themselves, with results far better than possible with traditional methods?”
Richard Mahoney, former CEO, Monsanto
“Eminent scholars Quinn and Thakor offer a practical and inspiring approach toward building a purpose-driven organization that shows how to reconcile the critically important authenticity with the profit objectives of commercial enterprise.”
Eric Van den Steen, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
“This book is a road map for transforming an organization by discovering its purpose, communicating it genuinely, and energizing the whole of the enterprise in a way that results in unheard-of employee dedication and loyalty and previously unimaginable business success. A must-read for today’s leaders.”
Jim Weddle, former CEO and retired Managing Partner, Edward Jones
“This book bridges the gap between the aspirational ‘feel good’ treatment of purpose and the single-minded focus on wealth creation that characterizes great organizations. Quinn and Thakor succeed marvelously in bringing purpose to life and making it work.”
Arnoud Boot, Professor of Finance, University of Amsterdam; member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; Chairman, Bank Council, Dutch Central Bank; and member, Scientific Council for Government Policy
“Two outstanding professors, one in management and one in finance, have come together to see how an organization can be designed when those involved share a higher purpose. It should be read by all those interested in governance and organizational design.”
Franklin Allen, Professor of Finance and Economics and Executive Director, Brevan Howard Centre, Imperial College London
“The authors not only demonstrate why authentic purpose-driven organizations do better but also provide specific steps for creating such an organization. This book is thoughtful, clear, and immensely useful.”
Vic Strecher, Professor, University of Michigan, and founder and CEO, Kumanu, Inc.
“Quinn and Thakor create a powerful case and practical guide for why and how we should run into a burning building. Their eight counterintuitive steps for purpose-driven management are a must-read for leaders who understand that all you can command is attendance, and all the good stuff is given willingly by those that understand and share the higher purpose of their organization.”
Jim Mallozzi, former Chairman and CEO, Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services
“As an HR leader, I am constantly thinking about how to provide a richer, more meaningful work experience. The Economics of Higher Purpose provides a compelling blueprint to help our people connect to a deeper purpose in their work. If this is done well, work becomes more than a paycheck; it satisfies our desire to be a part of something bigger.”
—Shawn P. Patterson, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness and Chief Learning Officer, DTE Energy
“In this book, Quinn and Thakor teach us a great yet challenging lesson: when we learn to look beyond profit maximization to a higher purpose, we learn to create lasting prosperity.”
—Charles C. Manz, Nirenberg Chaired Professor of Leadership, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and coauthor of Twisted Leadership and Twisted Teams
“In their new book, Quinn and Thakor share amazing insights and stories on how higher purpose turns everyone into a fully invested person. This volume is a profound playbook for those who want to unleash the human and economic power in the people around them.”
—Jim Haudan, Chairman, Root Inc.
“The authors take us on a compelling journey in which we discover the why and the how of creating organizations of higher purpose. Then they give us the gift of practical tools and exercises—it is a precious volume for those who want to make a difference.” 
—Nick Craig, author of Leading from Purpose
“It is one thing to state that meaning makes money. It is quite another to show why and how. This book offers eight specific, actionable steps for linking purpose and profits. It is an invitation to personal development and organizational flourishing.” 
—Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group
“By discovering what has made some organizations so hugely successful, Thakor and Quinn give higher purpose the instrumental role it deserves in everybody’s life project, large or small. They have written a fantastic, eye-opening book. It is both visionary and highly practical. I have followed their rules unknowingly for the better part of my life.”
—Jan Krahnen, Professor of Finance, Goethe University, and Founding Director, Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe

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