Judy Wicks may not be a household name, but she should be. A social activist and leader in the local living economies movement, Wicks is best known as the original owner of Philadelphia eatery the White Dog Cafe, one of the first farm to table restaurants in the country. She also founded BALLE (pronounced “bolly”), the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nonprofit that helps connect local economy leaders. Good Morning, Beautiful Business is the memoir of her evolution from entrepreneur to activist, and an unconventional but inspiring business book.
From the book:
Business schools often teach students, “Leave your values at home when you go to work.” This means: practice the Golden Rule at home with family and friends, but at work, gold rules. No wonder many people feel empty and unhappy. Work is where we focus the majority of our time and energy, and if we want fulfilling lives, it makes sense that our workplace be aligned with our personal values.
Winner of a Nautilus Book Award in the category of Business Leadership, Good Morning, Beautiful Business taps into the modern longing for happiness at work, but from the perspective that perhaps in order to be more fulfilled at work, our work needs to be more meaningful and connected. Wicks argues that while the main purpose of business is to make money, profit need not be the only purpose of business. Rather, she champions the “triple bottom line” of “people, planet, and profit,” the concept that a business can be profitable while also promoting fair social practices and environmental sustainability. She sums up her business philosophy with the phrase “do well by doing good,” an important concept to keep in mind in a world of increasingly rampant corporate greed and environmental destruction. Her own story of becoming a successful business owner and community builder proves that it works.
I came to this book on the recommendation of a friend who thought I’d enjoy it as a Philadelphia-area native (like Wicks) and recent convert to the local, sustainable food movement, which I did. Though it’s a locally-based story, Good Morning, Beautiful Business has a much more far-reaching and important message, however. It encourages us to stop separating financial success from social and environmental responsibility and provokes us to think about the human side of business and the positive impact it can have on both the community and the environment.
Following are links to discussion questions and supplemental material for a pro book club discussion of this book.
Unfortunately, there is no official reading guide for Good Morning, Beautiful Business, but you can use my Discussion Questions Resources as a starting point for creating your own questions for the book.
- Author Judy Wicks’ official website
- “Judy Wicks Threatens to Give Business a Good Name” — Huffington Post Business, 1/6/14
- Video: Judy Wicks speaking at the Slow Money National Gathering, April 2013
- Official websites for two of the organizations Ms. Wicks founded: Philadelphia restaurant the White Dog Cafe and nonprofit BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies)