Minding the Store: Great Writing About Business, From Tolstoy to Now

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In a course he taught at Harvard Business School and elsewhere for many years, esteemed psychiatrist Robert Coles asked future money market managers and risk arbitrageurs to pause for a semester and reflect on the ethical dimensions of their chosen profession.

Now, for corporate professionals, armchair entrepreneurs, and other students of commerce, Coles has gathered a generous and stimulating collection of classic literary reflections on the ethical and spiritual predicaments of the business world.

From John Cheever’s descriptions of a businessman who endures a moral crisis after stealing a neighbor’s wallet, and Gwendolyn Parker’s “Uppity Buppie,” in which an African American woman ascends to the upper ranks of corporate America, to Death of a Salesman and Tolstoy’s “Master and Man,”Minding the Store offers a richly human vision of the business world. With selections by Joseph Heller, Flannery O’Connor, Ann Beattie, and John Updike, Coles gives us the essential literary gems that illuminate the human predicaments of commerce and the moral quandaries of the marketplace.

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