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Foundations of Business Thought

Foundations of Business Thought

Tenth Edition

Other Titles in:
Organizational Theory

May 2023 | SAGE Publications, Inc

Now published by Sage

Foundations of Business Thought, Ninth Edition presents the writings of great contemporary and historical thinkers in an effort to develop the conceptual foundation for commercial activity in general and the ideals of accounting, finance, management, marketing, and operations/production in particular. This unique approach of using classical works of authorship reinforces the importance of clear, critical, and integrative thinking.

Since 1993, many thousands of students across the United States have been introduced to the world of commerce and business through a process that makes business concepts at once understandable and intimately personal.  Business is presented as a series of human connections designed to address the personal needs and wants of individuals based on sets of values and codes of ethics that guide our thoughts and actions in a market setting.  Business techniques and tools may change over time but the essential goals and concepts of commercial activity remain unchanged across both geography and time.  

Inspired by a four volume set of books produced by the Harvard Business School in 1962, entitled The World of Business, this course and the book upon which it rests present the writings of great contemporary and historical thinkers in order to develop the conceptual foundation for commercial activity in general and the ideals of accounting, finance, management, marketing and operations/production in particular.   This unique approach of using classical works of authorship reinforces the importance of clear, critical and integrative thinking.  These works first outline the motivations for the development of commercial activity and, then, present the fundamental elements important to the foundation of a commercial society.  These foundational concepts are followed by sections devoted to the various functional areas of business, again introduced by classical works that have both passed the test of time and provide unique insights into each of the areas.

Faculty are provided with detailed instructions on methods of relating the material to contemporary business concepts and practice.  While this roadmap provides structure for the material, faculty are encouraged to take advantage of their individual specialization and creativity. This could end up being one of the most enjoyable courses a faculty member will teach.

Students are encouraged to be critical of the readings, of the concepts and, most particularly, their own notions about business and, at the same time, open to new ideas, the thoughts of others and the opportunities for personal growth.  Through careful reading of the text, participating in classroom discussions, expanding knowledge through individual research and by writing position papers on contemporary business topics, this course has the potential to be one of the most impactful undergraduate or graduate courses students will take in their college career.

Part I: Introduction
A Written Word is the Choicest of Relics
"Of Studies" From: The Essays (1625) Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
From: A Vindification Of The Rights Of Women With Strictures On Political And Moral Subjects (1792) Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797)
"Reading" From Walden (1854) Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
The Art Of Money Getting Or Golden Rules For Making Money (1880) Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891)
From: The Souls of Black Folk (1903) W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963)
“Industrial Education For The Negro” From: The Negro Problem (1903) Booker T. Washington (1856–1915)
From: The Business Guide (1893) J. L. Nichols (1851–1895)
Practical Rules for Success
Part II: Motivation For The Development Of Commerce
Introduction: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
From: The Journal Of Christopher Colombus (1492) Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), Clements Robert Markham and Paolo del Posso Tonscanelli
From: A History Of The Ancient World (1585) Fray Bernardino De Sahagun (1499–1590)
“Of Property” From: The Second Treatise Of Civil Government (1690) John Locke (1632–1704)
The World Is Too Much With Us (1807) William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
From: Faust Part Two (1832) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
“What Is Wealth?” From: Illustrations Of Political Economy, Third Edition (1832) Harriet Martineau (1802–1876)
“Economy” From: Walden (1854) Henry David Thoreau (1818–1862)
1879 Speech To Congress (1879) In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat, also known as Chief Joseph (1840–1904)
“How Much Should A Country Consume” From: Jarrett’s Perspectives On Conservation (1958) John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006)
Part III: Foundations of a Commercial Society
Introduction: Don’t Know Much About History
From: The Republic (375 BCE) Plato (428–349 BCE)
From: The Politics (350 BCE) Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
“Capitalist Production” From: Das Kapital (1867) Karl Marx (1818–1883)
“The Social Organism” From: Religion And The Rise Of Capitalism (1926) R. H. Tawney (1880–1962)
“Laissez-Faire Policy” From: The Economic Principles Of Confucius And His School (1911) Chen Huan-Chang (1881–1933)
“Of Restraints Upon The Importation From Foreign Countries Of Such Goods As Can Be Produced At Home” From: An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations (1776) Adam Smith (1723–1790)
I, Pencil (1958) Leonard E. Read (1898–1983)
From: The Fable Of The Bees (1714) Bernard Mandeville (1670–1733)
“Wealth” From: Essays And Journals (1860) Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
From: Acres of Diamonds (1869) Russell H. Conwell (1843–1925)
From: Atlas Shrugged (1957) Ayn Rand (1905–1982)
From: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) Max Weber (1864–1920)
From: The Gospel of Wealth (1889) Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)
The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits (1970) Milton Friedman (1912–2006)
“The Veins Of Wealth” From: Unto This Last And Other Essays On Art And Political Economy (1860) John Ruskin (1819–1900)
From: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) Adam Smith (1723–1790)
“Cooperation In Industry” From: The Personal Relation In Industry (1923) John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960)
“The Shuchu Kiyaku” (C.1600) Fujiwara Seika (1561–1619)
Part IV: Marketing
Introduction: You Are Who You Think You Are; So Be Careful About Who You Think You Are
From: The Art Of War (C.5th Century) Sun Tzu (c.460–400 BCE)
From: De Officiis (44 BCE) Cicero (106–43 BCE)
“Of Cheating, Which Is Committed In Buying And Selling” From: The Summa Theologica (1485) Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
“Natural Selection” From: The Origin of Species (1859) Charles Darwin (1809–1882)
From: The Financier (1912) Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945)
“Pecuniary Emulation And Conspicuous Consumption” From: Theory Of The Leisure Class (1899) Thorstein Veblen (1857–1929)
From: The Middleman (1912) Albert W. Atwood (1880–1955)
“The Dependence Effect” From: The Affluent Society (1963) John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006)
“How We Made Tono-Bungay Hum” From: Tono-Bungay (1909) H. G. Wells (1866–1946)
Part V: Accounting
Introduction: When You Add, You Subtract
From: The Antecedents of Double-Entry (1927) A. C. Littleton (1886–1974)
“Particulars of Reckonings And Their Recording” From: Ancient Double Entry Bookkeeping: Luca Pacioli’s Treatise (1494) Luca Pacioli (1445–1517)
Vishnugupta Kautilya (C. 350–283 Bce) Book 2, Chapter 9: ”Examination Of The Conduct Of Government Servants” Arthashastra (The Sastric Redaction, c. 175–300 BCE) English translation by R. Shamsastry, 1956, (two pages)
From: The Eternal Storehouse of Japan (Nippon Eitaigora) (1688) Ihara Saikaku (1642–1693)
From: The Compleat English Tradesman (1726) Daniel Defoe (1660–1731)
Part VI: Finance
Introduction: Patience Can Be Risky But Is Often Rewarded
“Paper Money—Immense Wealth Of The Great Khan” From: The Travels Of Marco Polo Greatly Amended And Enlarged (C. 1300) Marco Polo (1254–1324)
“Lender And Borrower” From: The Code Of Maimonides (C. 1170–1180) Moses ben Maimonides (1135–1204)
“Of The Sin Of Usury” From: The Summa Theologica (1485) Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
From: The Works of Benjamin Franklin (1758) Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
“Of Riches and of Usury” From: The Essays (1597) Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
“Of Profits” From: The Principles of Political Economy (1848) John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)
“The History Of Projects” And “Of Projectors” From: An Essay Upon Projects (1697) Daniel Defoe (1660–1731)
“The Tulipomania” From: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) Charles Mackay (1814–1889)
From: Confusion De Confusiones (1688) Joseph De La Vega (1650–1692)
“Business” From: Mark Twain’s Speeches (1901) Samuel L. Clemens (1835–1910)
“The State of Long-Term Expectation” From: The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)
Part VII: Management
Introduction: The Art af Getting Things Done Through People
From: Letter to Horace Greeley (1862) Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)
From: The Prince (1532) Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527)
On Ruling From: The Republic (380 BCE) Plato (428–349 BCE)
From: The Analects (C.475 BCE) K’ung Fu-tzu also known as Confucius (551–479 BCE)
“The Nature of Executive Responsibility” From: The Functions Of The Executive (1938) Chester Barnard (1886–1961)
“The Genius For War” From: On War (1832) Karl Von Clausewitz (1780–1831)
From: Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1903) George Lorimer (1867–1937)
“An Employer’s View of The Labor Question” From: The Gospel of Wealth (1889) Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)
From: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)
“The Condition of Efficiency” From: The Acquisitive Society (1920) R. H. Tawney (1880–1962)
From: The Human Side of Enterprise (1960) Douglas M. McGregor (1906–1964)
“The Sources of Inequality” From Corporate Lib: Women’s Challenge To Management (GINZBERG & YOHALEM, EDS) (1973) Juanita M. Kreps (1921–2010)
Part VIII: Production
Introduction: Take This Job And Love It
“The Division of Labor” From: An Inquiry Into The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) Adam Smith (1723–1790)
From: The Principles of Scientific Management, Bulletin of the Taylor Society (1916) Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915)
From: My Life and Work (1922) Henry Ford (1863–1947)
“Economic Foothold” From: Women and the Trades (1909) Elizabeth Beardsley Butler (1884–1911)
“Chapter 2: The Principles of Scientific Management” From: The Principles of Scientific Management (1911) Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915)
“That Aristocracy May Be Engendered” From: Democracy in America (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859)
From: Alienated Labor (1844) Karl Marx (1818–1883)
“What Work Is” From: What Work Is: Poems (1991) Philip Levine (1928–2015)
“Report On The Subject of Manufactures” From: The Works of Alexander Hamilton (1791) Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804)
From: Notes On The State of Virginia: The Present State of Manufactures, Commerce, Interior and Exterior Trade (1787) Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
“Man And Machine” From: All Men Are Brothers (1918) Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948)


Sample Materials & Chapters


Calvin Boardman

Alan Sandomir

Harris Sondak

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ISBN: 9781948426572