Bridge over ocean
1 February 2014 CFA Institute Journal Review

The Mindfulness Business: Western Capitalism Is Looking for Inspiration in Eastern Mysticism (Digest Summary)

  1. Tokunboh Ishmael

The concept of a “mindfulness” culture has become increasingly popular at companies today, with executives at all types of firms embracing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation. The author suggests that mindfulness and the Buddhist ethic are more popular today than in the early 20th century, when Max Weber gave credit to the Protestant ethic for the rise and growth of capitalism.

What’s Inside?

The article presents three key trends that have driven mindfulness into popular consciousness. The first is omni-connectivity, which is the “always on” culture that is now driving people to seek respite from their devices. Second is the rat-race culture, which overemphasizes material success and leaves corporate scandals and anxiety in its wake. Mindfulness is now helping people to shift the emphasis beyond material wealth. The third trend is that mindfulness itself has moved into the commercial realm. Capitalism is not just fueling mindfulness; it is also feeding off of mindfulness. The author provides examples of this commercialization and how business schools are also embracing the trend in their curriculum.

How Is This Article Useful to Practitioners?

The business of mindfulness does have the potential to balloon. Certain practitioners may be interested in the sector that emerges and be interested in the new and traditional businesses that seek to benefit from the consumer trend. The author quotes one executive who claims that meditation has been the most important factor in his success. Consideration is given to the truth behind this claim and similar claims of the benefits of mindfulness. According to the author, there appears to be evidence that supports the claims, but naturally, there are critics who think otherwise. The author seems to fall into the camp of critics and suggests that mindfulness itself may start to become the problem, given the manner in which it is being touted as the panacea for all ills.

Abstractor’s Viewpoint

This article was interesting. Indeed, the business of mindfulness is increasingly in our collective consciousness and appears to be growing. But like everything else that is dependent on human behavior, which itself is varied, mindfulness may become just another passing fad. Nonetheless, in today’s world, there is room for anything that helps people slow down, breathe, and be more focused and engaged.

We’re using cookies, but you can turn them off in Privacy Settings.  Otherwise, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.  Accepting cookies does not mean that we are collecting personal data. Learn more in our Privacy Policy.