The Hungry Spirit
New Thinking for a New World
With his characteristically very personal anecdotal style, Charles Handy analyses how materialistic capitalism is self-limiting, how efficiency may be the enemy of a cohesive society, and examines the false certainties of science and religion. Offering a carefully considered and compelling alternative vision, the book challenges the status quo on everything from capitalism and organization to goal-setting and morality. With nods to Kant, Keynes, Sartre and Drucker, The Hungry Spirit is not your usual business tome, but that, of course, is part of Handy's plan.
British management guru Handy's thoughtful inquiry into the soullessness of modern capitalism and the search for meaning in one's work adds a dimension to the phrase "Get a life." He sets forth an optimistic creed, "Proper Selfishness," which urges us to progress beyond individualism by finding a wider purpose that embraces responsibility for others. A sometimes frustrating mix of sweeping analyses, generalizations and anecdotes, this exploratory essay uses a variety of supporting material, ranging from the author's trip to newly capitalist Estonia to a meditation on a Mahler symphony. Handy's broader message proposes that companies redefine themselves as citizens of their surrounding communities; education be revamped to prepare students for greater personal responsibility; shareholders see themselves as investors; governments devolve power to the populace. Handy's manifesto falls short on practical suggestions, although his proposals for citizen referenda, earmarked taxes, vouchers for health care and education, and school mentoring programs are innovative. There is much to consider here, despite a certain blandness. $75,000 ad/promo; author tour.