MT BUSINESS CLASSIC: The Hungry Spirit

Pre-dotcom crash, pre-banking crisis, this 1997 classic stands the test of time.

by Stefan Stern
Last Updated: 25 Feb 2016

Beyond Capitalism - A quest for purpose in the modern world
Charles Handy
Hutchinson, 1997

Charles Handy is often described, in one of those rather hyperbolical phrases, as 'Britain's only world-class management guru'. This can be challenged - for one thing, Handy is Irish born and, for another, his remit runs wider than management.

But he is certainly a distinguished bestselling author and thinker, with over a dozen books to his name.

In The Hungry Spirit he marked a formal shift from the narrower world of management writing into something broader.

We are hungry for more than mere commercial or professional success, he argues. We should commit ourselves to something bigger and more durable than a better car or a fancier house. And if we are honest with ourselves, Handy suggests, we know this too.

Before the dotcom crash of 2001-02 and the great financial crisis of the past five years, Handy wrote this: 'We seem to be saying that life is essentially about economics, that money is the measure of most things, and that the market is its sorting mechanism. My hunch is that most of us don't believe any of this, and that it won't work.'

Not a bad prediction for 1997. Handy has stood the test of time.

- Stefan Stern is visiting professor at Cass Business School. Follow him on Twitter: @StefanStern

Tags:
Leadership

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