Reviewed by Chris Gross

It is neither naïve nor utopian to believe our world could be a better place. It is we who must make it so." (from the Preface). With this simple yet bold assertion, the authors reveal the purpose of their lives as well as their latest book, Spiritual Capital.

Drawing upon a wealth of experience and borrowing ideas from new science, the reader is challenged to reflect upon a most fundamental existential question, "Why do I even have a life?"

To fully answer this question, the authors confront the assumptions that underlie our current economy. Tracing these assumptions back to their roots, they explore how the influences of Isaac Newton, John Stuart Mills and Adam Smith have evolved into the capitalism of today, a version that is clearly unsustainable—as the authors describe it, "the monster that consumes itself." Why? Because it seems to have overlooked a fundamental truth of our humanity: we aspire to more than just material wealth. We also exist to nurture our higher aspirations, values and potential.

Capitalism must evolve further if we are to avoid a doomsday scenario. A part of this process lies in embracing a more holistic appreciation of wealth. (The word itself, after all, derives from the Old English welth, meaning "to be well.") Zohar and Marshall offer substantial new definitions of such concepts as wealth, "stakeholder" (as opposed to "shareholder") and capital in its various forms (including material, social and spiritual), and view these terms in the context of the long-term needs of our biosphere. The goal? To create an effective, sustainable version of capitalism by building into it a moral, social and environmental dimension—a spiritual capitalism.

The authors elegantly knit together the concepts of motivation, values, self-awareness and a host of other transformational processes to demonstrate exactly how our society, as a "complex adaptive system," can usher in a new economic order. And right now, they point out, would be a wonderful time for this to happen.

Chaos theory predicts that as individual and societal chaos becomes routine, the whole system will loosen up, facilitating change. It takes only a small group (critical mass) of people living at the edge of chaos to channel new energy into the self-organizing network of our society for that transformation to take place.

The authors quote Carl Jung: "In our most private and subjective lives, we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch." Spiritual Capital provides an astonishingly incisive blueprint for doing just that.

Read this book if you care about contribution and hope to leave the world a better place for yourself, your children and their children. You will come away with the unshakable sense that you can make a difference!

Hardcover, 171 pages; 16.99 Pounds Sterling; Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2004.

Hardcover, 171 pages; $27.95; Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2004.