Fortune magazine dedicating a cover story to spirituality in the workplace is something Weblog would normally be excited about. In fact, Weblog liked it when BusinessWeek did it 19 months ago and when The Christian Science Monitor had a related article back in January 2000. Too bad that Fortune senior writer Marc Gunther didn't read these articles and actually seek to do something better. Instead he settles for six very shallow profiles about how half a dozen executives are integrating belief and boardroom. Actually, the story about the Mormon furniture maker who went toe-to-toe with Warren Buffet over opening his stores on Sunday was pretty interesting, and the Christian CEO of Greyston Bakery (founded to support Zen Buddhists) has some pretty radical ideas about hiring practices and on-staff counselors, but most of the others don't probe too deeply. A Presbyterian management consultant tells execs readying to lay off thousands to "err a little bit on the generous side" before she takes off for heli-skiing. A Buddhist patent attorney finds peace through meditation, a make-up-your-own-spirituality entrepreneur used Quaker discernment methods to decide to sell his company. The Roman Catholic president of Blistex "came to see himself as working for his employees rather than the other way around." Awww.
Gunther writes that his article is "about people who struggle to resolve the tensions between business and God." (It's a bad sign when that sentence is preceded by nine sentences explaining what the article is not about.) But while Gunther may know business (though he usually specializes in writing about the entertainment business), his knowledge of religion needs work. "As much as Americans ...1
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