Thursday, June 01, 2006


Well, I am happy to report that the baby has given birth. After 1.5 years of labour, my first attempt at literary genius has resulted in the birth of Zentreprenuerism- A Twenty-first Century Guide to the New World of Business. The official launch will be June 20th at which time we will have a VIP reception and book signing at Cecil Green Park on the campus of the University of British Columbia. In that very same building some 26 years ago I was the resident Director of Alumni Fund Raising, so it's a full circle return to where it all began.

Many friends, colleagues, and business associates have been confirmed to attend. The media have also been invited through my publicist who is arranging an Alberta book tour in early August and a Toronto junket in September. For those of you who have been regular readers of this blog, my apologies for not being current in my postings, however as you can see I have been otherwise pre-occupied. As you know the original title of the book was to have been called "Buddha in the Board Room", however as catchy as the title was, it didn't resonate for me, given my limited knowledge of buddhism. Being the voice and messenger for Zentrepreneruism had a better feel to it and indeed came from a truer place. The book will be available on-line at our new website currently being developed at after June 20th. I will also post excerpts from the book here on this blog.

To give you some idea of the nature of the book, here are some highlights from the dust jacket book cover:

“We have a situation where we don’t trust our government or our capitalist system…the level of distrust right now is probably unparalleled since the 1930’s.

-Charles Lewis, Founder, Centre for Public Integrity.

People are expecting more from the companies they’re working for…more from the companies they’re doing business with and more from the companies they’re buying from”

-Sydney Finkelstein, professor of strategy and leadership, Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business


Not every generation is privileged to see the start of a future. We are — and in Zentrepreneurism, Allan Holender has acted as its revelator, its prophet, if you will.

We are used to thinking of prophets as heralds of a far-off future. But prophets simply crystallize what is ready to be born. The world of social and natural capitalism, the world of full-life living, the world of service coupled with entrepreneurial behavior that this book describes has been building for the past thirty years. Only now is it ready to shine forth in the full light of day.

With this revelation, the business world — and our personal lives — are destined to change.

There is little question that many of us today are seeking something beyond what the world has offered us to date. Whether your life reflects great success in your endeavors, or whether each day is a personal or professional struggle, work alone isn't enough for many of us now. Instead, we are looking for a whole-life experience, one where all the pieces come together. Work becomes love, love becomes living, and living is work. A life where our partners, our families, our businesses and our efforts merge into a single, harmonious whole — and where we measure our success in more ways than just the balance in our bank accounts.

Harmony requires as much from us as it gives us. We live harmoniously when our efforts lead to a more harmonious environment. Unsurprisingly, the pioneers who brought us simple messages about work/life balance and integration into a single whole have also pioneered humane environments that take as much care with the environment, with the community, and with the groups of people privileged to work together with product quality, service quality, and prudent fiscal management. Daily meditations, time spent with family and friends, and personal growth feature as prominently as do strong values, an insistence on excellence in every endeavor, a true accounting of materials and their impacts on the world around us, and attention to realizing a real profit from ethical efforts. These are a new breed of entrepreneurs — and they are the vanguard of a new world.

As a philosopher and a futurist, I was at first skeptical of Allan's zentrepreneurs . Perhaps that is part of acknowledging that I, too, am part of this wave of the future. I was certain that this New Age approach was a fad — sure to be tested and discarded when times turned tougher.

I no longer believe that any longer. Yes, many who claim to be enlightened capitalists will revert to hard-nosed behavior when tested. But the transition oulined in this book has legs; it will stand up to adversity. We are moving beyond simple remedies to more complex ways of dealing with the world — yes, even the hard right of neoconservativism is adapting slowly — and we are beginning to understand the fundamental connectedness of all the parts of our lives, our activities, our world.

Many of the zentrepreneurs do not actually practice Zen. Nor are they Buddhists, although the ideas of Gautama the Buddha permeate their thinking even as they are unaware of the connection. Some are devoted and dedicated Jews, Christians, Muslims — the list of the worlds’ faiths is long, and includes those who deny all faith. But throughout each of these seemingly disporate faiths runs a common thread of ideas and actions, approaches and ideals that is well illustrated by Buddhism, regardless of its form, from the Hinayana through to Zen.

Similarly, the many and growing number of Westerners — in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe — who are adopting Buddhism and adapting in its forms to life in the West, are not necessarily Zentrepreneurs Those who find themselves walking this path need not apologize for such fellow travelers. But notions of a right livelihood are taking hold beyond both communities, for all of that.

Why are Eastern disciplines — Buddhism, Zen, Taoism — taking hold in the business world of the West?

The ideas of the East, with the concepts of balance and harmony as their foundation, are appealing to a Western world, which has spent many centuries driving hard toward its goals. Many business executives, after decades of hard work, suddenly turn around and realize that, while working so hard to be financially successful they have been missing out on enjoying life’s full potential. Others, observing their own business leaders, wonder if the pressures they withstood at work mean they, too, are working for an Enron — a company where employees were sacrificed to the driving ambition of those at the top.

Few Western business leaders become adherents of one or another of the Eastern faiths, although most of them have grown up in the West, especially in America. Most are fellow travelers, picking up on the spirit of the times by osmosis. But the search for balance and an integration of personal and home life, work life, planetary stability, and survival continues for all of them. In this book, Allan Holender reveals the stories of a number of these people, and the impact their new found practices have had on their lives, and their enterprises.

What makes Allan’s personal journey, also recounted in this book, extraordinary?

In many ways, Allan’s own story is every person's story. We are all taught by society to succeed, and to push to do so. One look at the junk mail folder every day shows the ever-increasing number of inducements to join successful programs, ways to get rich more quickly, and promises of glory. These programs are legion, and in the desire to improve ourselves- usually financially many of us take part in one or another of them. Even if we resist the siren call of instant riches, however, we dream of them — look at the people packing casinos, buying lottery tickets, and jumping from job to job just to get a raise.

In the quest for success, the real values in our lives can often be lost. Mere existence takes over. Coming to realize that …. and to seek out another way — is Allan's story. As the same realization dawns for more and more people in Western society, Allan's story becomes a symbol for everyone's story. That is why it is extraordinary.

What about you, the reader? What should you hope to take away from this book?

In the stories of the Zentrepreneurs, I found inspiration and challenge. You can do well and do good at the same time. You can have a life and a business together. As an employee, management, or the owner of a large organization, you can have these at any corporate level. In other words, although many of the Zentrepreneurs whose stories are told here have built their own businesses, that is not what is important. You may feel, if you are walking this road yourself, that you can only reach your personal vision and mission through the vehicle of your own firm. Others will, like Buddha himself, stay where they are, and let their actions in their cubicle begin to change the world.
It is not too late to live the fullest, richest life you can live!

Bruce A. Stewart,
Speaker, Author, Research Advisor and Consultant


I thought about writing a book two years ago because someone suggested that the title I picked was catchy, “Buddha in the Board Room”. At first the idea had some merit, but as I began to research Buddhism, and read every book I could find at the library, I soon found that taking a crash course on Buddhism didn’t quite resonate for me. So I began to explore the eight fold path of Buddhism and begin my own journey towards enlightenment. I soon realized that I was not coming from a total place of integrity. I did believe that I was spiritual and I did believe that I was on some sort of path, but I really wasn’t sure what that path was. I knew I wanted my life to be different, and I wanted to write about how in a simplistic way we could apply the eight fold path of the Buddha to the world of business and as a result how different our business and our lives could be, like the ten commandments of Zentrepreneurism.

I also began to realize how different our lives would be, because after all our business does affect our lives. So I decided to try one more experiment- I visited a Buddhist temple and met with one of the program staff. I felt a great sense of peace in the temple, but still did not feel at home. I think my greatest spiritual moments have come at the top of the mountains in Sedona, Arizona, or at the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza near Cancun.

It was in that moment after leaving the Buddhist temple grounds, that I decided I could no longer live the illusion that I was going to be the Jew who became a Buddhist and instead I was going to write bout something I already believed in, a life I was already living and was passionate about. I also realized that being an expert on Zentrepreneurism did not fit either. Instead I did what I do best, gathered as much information as I could, read as many articles and books I could, interviewed as many people as I could, and then reported on these events in the book. I am a communicator, and so what better role to have as a first time author than to be the voice and messenger for Zentreprenuerism.

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