Cover of Living Into Leadership by Bowen H. “Buzz” McCoy
Living Into Leadership
A Journey in Ethics
Bowen H. “Buzz” McCoy


232 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804755764

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Over the past few years, the business world has been wracked by corporate scandals. With news of a new scandal an almost weekly occurrence, one cannot help but wonder: "Is business success synonymous with a lack of morality?" With a resounding "no," Bowen H. "Buzz" McCoy, former partner at Morgan Stanley, shows that ethical business leadership is possible and, moreover, desirable. Seeking inspiration from an eclectic range of sources, such as Dante, Kant, and Peter Drucker, and drawing from his own career as a successful investment banker, the author examines how business leaders—and those who aspire to be business leaders—can flourish in a corporate environment without shedding personal values or compromising integrity. Living Into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics is based on the author's actual life experiences, personal ethical dilemmas, and concerns. This groundbreaking work incorporates classroom materials developed by the author for ethics programs at various business schools, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, the University of Southern California, UCLA, and Notre Dame. The central question this book considers is how to pursue an engaged business career while living a balanced life and continuing to grow as an integrated person.

McCoy acts as a "mentor" for readers, providing personal and professional guidance on the development of a personal business plan for life. The book presents the case for creating a moral compass that allows one to make decisions under uncertainty, lead a life of integrity, establish the practice of ethics both personally and in society, and know when to embrace change and when to hold one's ground. It includes an abbreviated version of the author's acclaimed work, the seminal Harvard Business Review article, "The Parable of the Sadhu," and shows readers how to prepare in advance for dilemmas they may face, both in their private and professional lives.

About the author

Bowen H. "Buzz" McCoy is president of Buzz McCoy Associates. He was an owner of Morgan Stanley for 20 years, and directed Morgan Stanley's real estate finance activities for 13 years. He is the author of The Dynamics of Real Estate Capital Markets: A Practitioner's Perspective (2006).

"Describing the aim of the book as an aid to 'increase ethical awareness and sensitivity in myself and in others,' the author does an admirable job on both counts."

Library Journal

"The guidance McCoy offers, and the advice that he draws from a wide range of thinkers... make this book a compelling read for those who believe in examining their lives."

Stanford Social Innovation Review

"Experience is a great teacher but only when you are prepared to learn. Buzz McCoy provides lively preparation and insights into the arts of life and leadership. Read and learn."

—George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State and a Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution

"Leading a successful life, as in leading an organization, requires a person to identify and confront an endless stream of tough, ambiguous questions. This is essential reading for anyone who aspires to both ask the right questions and seek the right answers-answers that ultimately define true character and extend impact beyond me to we."

—Thomas J. Tierney, Chairman and Co-Founder, The Bridgespan Group

"This profound, delightful, and thought-provoking exploration of life's values and goals, challenges and trade-offs, and dilemmas and contretemps is likely to become required reading not only at business schools but for professionals generally."

—Dan Rose, Chairman, Rose Associates

"Buzz McCoy's Living into Leadership is a provocative and nuanced yet practical look at the subject of ethics. McCoy has combined his deep intellect with his decades of business experience to open up new ways of thinking about age-old issues. This is a must read for people concerned about their organization's ethics, or their own."

—Bill George, author of Authentic Leadership and former CEO, Medtronic

"McCoy's forte for business managers should not be underestimated. He has done the deals and climbed to the very top of the corporate mountain. Voices such as his, especially ones that have done considerable soul searching over the years into the deeper aspects of business ethics, are rare."

—Thomas M. Donaldson, Mark O. Winkelman Professor, The Wharton School

"In masterful style, Living Into Leadership offers an antidote to the dominant greed-sickness in business culture. McCoy uses a real voice of experience to explore an extensive and authentic range of ethical settings and dilemmas."

—Laura L. Nash, Managing Partner, Piper Cove Asset Management, LLC; former president, Society for Business Ethics

"McCoy draws on his personal experience as well as the work of a range of intellectual giants—from Dante and the Rule of Saint Benedict to Immanuel Kant, Peter Drucker, and Lynn Sharpe Paine—and offers a compelling answer to the fundamental ethical question How shall we live?"

—Oliver Williams, Director, Center for Ethics & Religious Values in Business, University of Notre Dame

"Living Into Leadership demonstrates that ethics is something deeper than complying with the law. We need the law in order to keep us honest and provide a level playing field, but true ethics involves some sort of compassion. Ethics is not what we have to do, but rather what we can do."

—A. Eugene Kohn, Chairman, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates