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Reading List

Beaudoin, Tom. Consuming Faith: Integrating Who We Are with What We Buy. Lanham, MD: Sheed and Ward, 2003.

Young theologian Tom Beaudoin describes how product brand identities and advertising give an almost religious significance to our purchases of consumer goods. This may contribute to overconsumption and excessive debt as well as to a reduction in our trust and reliance on God.

Benedict XVI. Charity in Truth. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2009.

In this encyclical letter, the pope expands on the Catholic social teaching that market economies only yield justice and prosperity when the participants practice Christian virtues.

Brooks, Robert. “Financial Risk: An Alternative Biblical Perspective.” Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, Fall 1996.

            Brooks argues that Christians are often too averse to risk in their personal financial lives.

Covey, Stephen M.R. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything. New York: Free Press, 2006.

This easy-to-read book is written from a secular perspective and discusses the impact of trust (or lack of trust) on our personal, professional and organizational lives. Covey articulates trust from the perspective of one’s personal credibility or trustworthiness, trust in relationship with others, and broader communal trust. The broader level of trust includes organizational, market and societal trust. Covey provides tips and suggestions for building, rebuilding and inspiring trust at every level.

Frank, Robert H. What Price the Moral High Ground? Ethical Dilemmas in Competitive Environments. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Cornell economist Robert Frank addresses the question of how socially responsible business behavior can persist in competitive markets. He reaches encouraging conclusions for business managers who want to take more than their own interests into account as they make decisions.

Johnson, Barry. Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. Amherst, MA: HRD Press, 1996.

This is an easy-to-read, practical book written from a secular perspective on managing ongoing problems or problems that don’t go away because both conflicting points of view are true. Johnston suggests these problems are in fact not solvable but rather are tensions that need to be managed. He provides an approach for managing the tension between conflicting truths or polarities.

Logue, Niles C. “Christian Virtues and Finance.” Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, Fall 1996.

Niles Logue of Messiah College argues that opportunism and a simple focus on shareholder wealth maximization are inadequate bases for corporate finance. They must be supplemented by the Christian virtues of integrity and justice.

Shiller, Robert J. Irrational Exuberance. 2d ed. New York: Doubleday, 2005.

Yale economist Robert Shiller uses modern behavioral economics to explain how financial markets become inefficient and unstable. He argues that the self-serving bias in our perceptions plays a big role.

Terrill, John. “The Moral Imperative of Investment Banking.” Comment, February 26, 2010.

Terrill approvingly quotes J. Michael Bontrager of Chatham Financial, who sees his job as “restoring a little corner of the world to a place that has more integrity and transparency, where relationships matter more and people are treated with respect without regard to their role or position.”

Tiemstra, John P. “Financial Crisis and the Culture of Risk.” Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought, May 2009.

Professor Tiemstra, a co-leader of the Calvin reading group, explores how Christians’ attitudes toward risk have changed from wariness and caution to full embrace. He argues that we need to get back in touch with a traditional Christian theology of risk.