On Value and Values : Thinking Differently About We in an Age of Me
by Douglas K. Smith

Who Should Read This Book

  • Leaders who wish to change the world
  • Business and Non-profit Leaders
  • Government Leaders
  • Teachers who are Leaders
  • Ministers who are Leaders
  • Journalists and Opinion Makers who are Leaders
  • Parents who are Leaders
  • Students who are Leaders
  • Anyone asking, "What can I and others really do to make the planet safer, saner and more sustainable?"

Why You Should Read This Book

On Value and Values lays bare the real world you live in and what, why and how you can act to make that world one you proudly pass along to your children and grand children. Its profound insights will help you change the world by:

  • Learning what community now means in a world of markets, networks and organizations
  • Finding practical ways to heal the ugly divide between value (money, profits, winning) and values (social, religious, political, family and more) that threatens the planet
  • Taking action to build a civil society in your every day lives as employees, consumers, investors, family members and friends
  • Discovering the 'thick we's' in your life and how to ensure you 'thick we's' share purposes and values that make a positive difference
  • Shaping your own path to a purposeful life in which, as individuals and in thick we's, you help all of us build our best future together

What You'll Learn

  • Why we must stop linking 'values' to beliefs only and look to our behaviors as well
  • How the ways in which we connect to other people, the every day roles we play in our lives and the ideas we share powerfully shape our values
  • How all three of these influences dramatically shifted in the late 20th century as hundreds of millions of us transitioned from living in a world of places to a world of markets, networks, organizations, friends and families
  • Why humanity has never been more vulnerable to the values - the beliefs and behaviors - of strangers. The places we reside no longer protect us from dangerous values practiced in markets, networks and organizations elsewhere. Our planet is too connected for that. Globalization has happened. Now, the question is: What are we going to do about it?
  • How answering, "What are we going to do about it" demands that we first understand when we are a "we" - a 'thick we' who because of shared purposes and shared fates must take responsibility for our contribution to others.
  • Why, if we are to change the world, we must focus first on changing the markets, networks and organizations that drive the world - not the places we happen to reside. And we must do so as employees, customers and investors - not just neighbors and citizens. What we do as voters matters a ton. What we do every single day we go to work matters more.
  • How and why, in this new world, our legitimate concern for value (profits, money, winning) has split off and trumped our equally legitimate concern for values (family, social, political, religious, technological, medical, legal, environmental and creative). This breach, led by shareholder value extremists, now destroys the value it claims to create as well as the values we as humans have always held dear. We must find the courage to save shareholder value - and the planet -- from shareholder value extremists.
  • To reintegrate value and values -to make all values triumphant - each of us must match belief and behavior in how we act as employees, customers, investors, family members and friends. We must cease forever 'checking your values' at the door when you come to work.
  • Why we must all learn to practice the new golden rule: As employees, do unto others in their role as customers what we would have them, as employees, do onto us as customers. This is not what happened at Enron - or at a list of for profit, non-profit and governmental organizations that far too long.
  • In all of our organizations, we must learn to ask what do we really stand for? We must ask what values, including but going beyond value, is promised by our mission and brand. And, we must make sure that the products, services and experiences we produce and deliver contribute to the safety, sanity and sustainability of the planet. In doing this, each of us as employees must recognize that what is done in the name of our organizations in done in our names - and that it is testimony to our values and our character.


Lincoln Caplan - Editor & President, Legal Affairs magazine
"On Value and Values by Doug Smith is a radiant, intelligent, wonderfully readable book. It is part adventure story in the spirit of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, part guidebook for American leaders like In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. This impressive book will challenge everyone who reads it and give them a blueprint for changing their lives. Virtually every part of American life has become a marketplace, with the pursuit of prosperity driving out an appreciation of principle. Smith explains how our understanding about the relationship between these elementary concepts has been turned inside out. As a compelling alternative, he shows how the pursuit of personal values we hold dear allows us to increase all kinds of value in our lives."

Paul Tulenko - Scripps Howard newspapers
"Eye-popping. Buy this book. I give it 4 and 1/2 stars and I only give 6 stars to the Bible and the Constitution."

Roland Via - Mayor of Holly Hill, Florida and Radio Host
"Should be required reading for Government 101. Like the Bible -- you can open this book up to any page and find something meaningful and important."

Nanette Hansen - CNBC PowerLunch Host
"This book really is a profound re-examination of where we all are both in our jobs and in our personal lives."

Keith Hammonds - Fast Company
"Both a philosophical treatise on the nature of ethics in organizations and a call to action. His argument: we must learn to exercise our values through the organizations to which we belong. A subtle book, elegantly written and not easy to distill. Smith sees the shift in community from place to purpose as profound. And while place-based communities historically understood how to make values-based decisions that shaped society, organizations -- especially corporations - are flailing. They have the power to change the future for better or worse, but not the ethical will or know-how."



Books by Douglas K. Smith

On Value and Values : Thinking Differently About We in an Age of Me Douglas K. Smith

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization
J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith

The Discipline of Teams: A Mindbook-Workbook for Delivering Small Group Performance J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith.

Make Success Measurable: A Mindbook-Workbook for Managing Performance Douglas K. Smith

Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer Douglas K. Smith, R. C. Alexander

Taking Charge of Change: 10 Principles for Managing People and Performance Douglas K. Smith

Sources of the African Past David Robinson, Douglas K. Smith

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