Quick Review: Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Capital. It is a loaded word. It most commonly refers to monetary resources, but more and more we hear about the term social capital in regards to business. How much clout does a given professional or organization have in terms of its connections within and between social networks. Malloch brings in a third dimension to the concept of capital: Spiritual Capital.

Doing Virtuous Business explains how the most successful businesses tend to have a grounding in spiritual principles. This leads to both financial reward as well as societal betterment.  Malloch is a devout Christian, and his ideas around spiritual capital are strongly influence by Christian principles. The four cardinal virtues play an important role in his analysis. However, his points are valid beyond any religious dimension. 

The book is written in a fairly scholarly fashion and as such is not one that can be easily skimmed. His many references to such esteemed thinkers as Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas require a fair degree of thought and “unpacking.” However, the reward is well worth the effort, as Malloch shows how strongly held principles can lead to even stronger organizations.

While this book is quite spiritual in nature it is also a strong apologetic for capitalism in an age where the very foundations of capitalism seem to be shaking. He shows how it is not “big business” that is the enemy of social justice. We simply need business to be better informed by virtuous principles.

Doing Virtuous Business uses real world examples from such well known institutions as Wal-Mart, IBM, Chicken-Fill-A  and Habitat for Humanity, to show how companies that operate according to the virtues of Justice, Fortitude, Prudence (what Malloch terms “Practical Wisdom”) and Moderation have outperformed their competitors. Overall, the book is an excellent read for those in leadership roles within any size organization. The foundational value of creating spiritual capital is beneficial to all.