Book Review: The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil

Corporate Idealist; Christine Bader; Book Review

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil

Christine Bader’s book, The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, is just like a hot bowl of soup comprised of all of your most favourite ingredients.

Not only does Christine give her readers a thorough and candid account of what it truly takes to conduct change management, implement business ethics and protect human rights, but she does so whilst sharing her personal and professional experiences as a self-proclaimed Corporate Idealist.

Think autobiography meets acclaimed business book.

She doesn’t shy away from asking herself (and her readers) the tough questions. And she does her best to answer them.

Bader pays a lot of particular attention to analyzing what it means to be a Corporate Idealist. Are professionals within this field naive, optimistic, pragmatic or impactful? Are they a little bit of all of the above?

Bader works through these questions by recounting her time spent working for BP (and then later on at the UN), describing her various experiences, challenges, triumphs, successes and doubts.

It should be noted that Bader emphasizes the importance of not over-congratulating the CSR field. With that being said, she doesn’t shy away from paying tribute to the importance of Corporate Idealism and the professionals of this field and their ability to persistently implement what she refers to as “incremental change” (change that occurs slowly over time that sometimes opens the doorway for larger shifts of transformation).

Bader explains that being a Corporate Idealist is about making compromises, exuding confidence, being engaging–and most importantly (in my opinion)–embracing persistence.

In a nutshell, Bader provides reassurance and peace of mind to individuals who believe in the power of “fixing the system, within the system,” but does so while re-emphasizing the point that there’s still a long road ahead.

Her charm, wit, humility, honesty, tenacity and idealism, make this read unlike any other.

I have to admit that before I had even opened to the first page, I had prepared myself to be on the defence (having made the assumption that this book was going to whitewash big, bad oil). But she shook-up my preconceived notions, giving me a new sense of cautious optimism for the future of business and our world.

If you’ve read Christine Bader’s book, feel free to leave your own reviews and critiques in the reply section below. And don’t forget to follow the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist for regular updates on all things relating to corporate good and corporate idealism.

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil 
By Christine Bader
209 pages. Bibliomotion. $26.95.

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