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Enlightened Self-Interest

Individualism, Community, and the Common Good

Thomas J. Bussen with Henry Biggs and Timothy Bono

"Enlightened Self-Interest provides an easy to understand—and easy to follow—pathway to living a life of meaning and connection. Readers will learn how assisting others and having empathy are pathways along the purpose-driven life. The authors clearly explain what it means to be a servant leader—no matter your position in life and career." —Mark Whitacre, vice president of culture and care, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc.
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Insights into a compassionate alternative to a ruthlessly self-interested capitalist culture

Societally sanctioned competition for money, power, and fame promotes selfishness, personal alienation, and widespread inequality, especially in market-oriented economies. Yet many of those engaging in this competitive individualism—the competition for rewards and limited resources—yearn to act directly to promote a more civil, equitable, and sustainable society.

Enlightened Self-Interest offers evidence-based insights into the societal and individual consequences of this cultural practice and an actionable alternative to it. This meticulously researched and empirically rooted reexamination of hypercompetition and zero-sum thinking presents inspiring examples of people who have reclaimed their own lives by contributing to a more civil, equitable, and sustainable society. They model the vision of enlightened self-interest, merging self-interest with other interests in pursuit of the common good, resulting in widely shared benefits.

Enlighted Self Interest provides a compelling case for incremental change and a series of actionable recommendations to jump-start a personal transition and to become part of a collective radical evolution.

Table of Contents

Introduction: An Anti-American Love Letter

Part 1: Culturally Extreme: Vertical Individualism in the American Context
1. A Cultural Toolbox: Social Conformity in a Culture of Individualism
2. Lonely and Unequal: The Lose-Lose Consequences of Unrestrained Vertical Individualism
3. Rigging, R-Evolution, and Redemption: From Rationalizing to Rectifying Extreme Inequality
Part 1 Conclusion

Part 2: Money, Power, and Fame: The Unholy Trinity of American Extremism
4. Status through Conformity: How to Fit In by Standing Out
5. Materialism: Why Less Is More
6. From Status-Seeking to Experience-Seeking: Spending Like a Horizontal Individualist
7. From Hedonism to Collectivism: Spending Like a Horizontal Collectivist
8. Power Plays and Pays: When Power Is Corrupting
9. From Predatory to Prestigious: When Power Is Purifying
10. Social Comparison, Superiority Complex, and Schadenfreude: When My Reputation Comes at Your Expense
11. Comparison, Inclusion, and Mudita: When Admiring Another Improves the Self
12. Altruistic to All: Tapping into the Horizontal Collectivist Global Identity
13. Loving Billions to Love Oneself: Generating Inner Self-Esteem from Without
Part 2 Conclusion

Part 3: Society and Self: Prospects and Pathways to Enlightened Self-Interest
14. Enlightened Self-Interest in Theory and Practice: Ubuntu and Ambition as Pathways
15. Minting the Future: Jump-Starting Your Own Transition
Conclusion

References
Index
About the Authors

Reviews

"We are collectively healthier and wealthier than at any point in recorded history, and yet most of us harbor an unexplained, burning angst about the contemporary human condition. This book is a noble exploration of genuine human thriving that enables us to consciously craft more meaningful, grateful, and enlightened lives."—Gregory J. Dunn, associate professor and Business Administration Program director, American University of Rome

"Offers a unique and captivating cross-cultural perspective that brings together the best of Eastern and Western cultures to provide a fresh and meaningful outlook on pursuing a purposeful life. A must read for anyone searching for deeper meaning and fulfillment in life."—Nitish Singh, professor of international business, Saint Louis University

"Enlightened Self-Interest provides an easy to understand—and easy to follow—pathway to living a life of meaning and connection. Readers will learn how assisting others and having empathy are pathways along the purpose-driven life. The authors clearly explain what it means to be a servant leader—no matter your position in life and career. For organizations, for families, and for communities, there is nothing more important than to live and lead with enlightened self-interest."—Mark Whitacre, vice president of culture and care, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc.

Contributors


Supplemental Materials















Awards

About the Author

Thomas J. Bussen is an assistant teaching professor of business management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His most recent book is Shaping the Global Leader: Fundamentals in Culture and Behavior for Optimal Organizational Performance (2019), coauthored with Henry Biggs and Lenny Ramsey.

Henry Biggs is founder and CEO of the higher education software company Eusabian Technologies. He also teaches international intellectual property law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Timothy Bono is an assistant dean in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and lecturer in psychological and brain sciences, at Washington University in St. Louis. He is author of Happiness 101: Simple Secrets to Smart Living and Well-Being (2020).

Hardcover
240 pp., 6 x 9
2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-64712-390-1
Feb 2024
WORLD

Paperback
240 pp., 6 x 9
2 tables
ISBN:
Feb 2024
WORLD

Ebook
240 pp.
2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-64712-391-8
Feb 2024
WORLD


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