Nov 262009

Mark Albion is a social entrepreneur. He has cofounded six start-ups, including Net Impact (formerly called Students for Responsible Business), is the creator of the Making a Life Worldwide newsletter, and wrote the New York Times bestseller Making a Life, Making a Living. In his former life, Albion taught marketing at Harvard Business School and consulted to Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, and other major corporations.

Source: Amazon Author Page

As I’ve pursued a career these last 30 years, the essential question for me has been: "How can I be a Marxist and still own a Jacuzzi?" My dream has been that I and the next generation of business leaders ‘ the generation our planet has been waiting for ‘ would find a way to have a significant impact on making the world a better place for all.

You see, I never really lost the ideals of the ’60s. I just wanted material comforts, too. While I detested Western capitalism ‘ witnessed by my 15-month backpack around the world after college ‘ I returned to the West Point of Capitalism and even became a marketing professor there.

I spent nearly 20 years at Harvard Business School. A seven-time social entrepreneur, I left Harvard to develop a community of service-minded MBAs, co-founding Net Impact in 1993. I’ve made 600+ visits to speak at business schools on five continents, for which Business Week magazine dubbed me ‘ seriously ‘ — ‘the savior of B-school souls." I’ve written seven books, most recently More Than Money: Questions Every MBA Needs to Answer, with the animated movie, "The Good Life Parable: An MBA Meets a Fisherman.

I have two daughters, Amanda (1987) and Nicolette (1991), with my wife, since 1981, Joy. They are happy when I’m happy ("What does Daddy do?"… "I think he types."). I’ve had some business successes, some failures; we bought a big house, almost lost the big house, but somehow I just kept climbing that ladder of success, wrong by wrong.

In ’97 I began the book I first tried to write while backpacking around the world, "Making a Life, Making a Living’," which became a New York Times Business Best Seller in January 2000. The morning I learned of the honor, I told my wife, who responded as any good wife would, "Congratulations, honey. Can you pick Amanda up after ballet today?" Or as Amanda said to me at a 2006 family dinner, "If you won the Nobel prize, daddy, I wouldn’t love you any more than I already do."

My Favorite "Accomplishments":
    1. Skied from base camp at Mount Everest.
    2. Snuck into Pele’s beach house when he wasn’t there.
    3. Viewed the Full Moon inside the Taj Mahal at night.
    4. Rode a horse across Afghanistan.
    5. Met Jacqueline Kennedy while wearing only a Speedo bathing suit.
    6. Dove eye to eye alone with a humpback whale at 120 feet.
    7. Hugged by Mother Teresa and Ronald Reagan’not at the same time.

Today, the answer to my 30 year-old question is clear: "We are all angels with one wing, able to fly only when we embrace each other." How do I hope to be remembered? I hope as, "He loved." And my generation remembered? As one that was a leaver not a taker, citizens more than consumers.