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The Whole Story: Adventures in Love, Life, and Capitalism

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Book Description

Whole Foods Market’s Cofounder and CEO for 44 years, John Mackey offers an intimate and provocative account of the rise of this iconic company and the personal and spiritual journey that inspired its remarkable impact.

The growth of Whole Foods isn’t just a business success story—it’s the story of a retail, cultural, and dietary revolution that has forever changed the industry and the way we eat. After more than four decades at the helm, John Mackey is ready to share never-before-told tales of the people and passions behind the beloved brand.

The Whole Story invites readers on the adventure of building Whole Foods Market: the colorful cast of idealists and foodies who formed the company’s DNA, the many breakthroughs and missteps; the camaraderie and the conflict, and the narrowly avoided disasters. Mackey takes us inside some of the most consequential decisions he had to make and honestly shares his regrets looking back. 

Beyond the Whole Foods story, Mackey also dives into his:

  • Spiritual journey: from Christianity to New Age mysticism, Eastern wisdom, and life-changing awakenings through psychedelics

  • Political and intellectual development: from countercultural co-op dweller to libertarian and Conscious Capitalist

  • Philosophical and ethical awakenings: especially with regard to animal welfare and the tension between his personal values and industry practices

  • Personal passions: most notably, his love of long-distance, ultra-light backpacking on the great trails of our country and planet

For the millions of people who know and love Whole Foods, Mackey’s story is a candid look at the fellowship and meaning born of a shared mission and how an inimitable entrepreneur shepherded a startup hippy food store into the market-leading international brand it is today.

Editorial Book Review:

By Ben Moore

The visionary co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey creates a compelling narrative in "The Whole Story: Adventures in Love, Life, and Capitalism." describing his personal journey and Whole Foods Market's ascent to market domination.

Mackey provides an honest and personal account of Whole Foods' hardships, triumphs, and changes, making this book a transparent glass into the trajectory of the company. He masterfully captures the optimism and zeal of Whole Foods' founders as they emerged from the counterculture of the 1970s, when the company was founded. Inspired by a community of foodies, mavericks, and idealists, a brand that represents responsible consumerism and healthy living was created.

The book's story is full of anecdotes and wisdom. Mackey takes us through Whole Foods' historic decisions and near-catastrophic mistakes, revealing the strategic thought and emotional involvement behind each milestone. His openness about regrets and problems is refreshing and informative.

In addition to business, "The Whole Story" follows Mackey's personal and spiritual journey. His intellectual shift from countercultural co-op living to libertarianism and Conscious Capitalism, his ethical considerations for animal welfare, and his transition from Christianity to New Age mysticism and Eastern philosophies show the complexity of a leader trying to balance his personal and professional values. This introspective portion of the book deepens the story by revealing Mackey as a thinker and person.

Ultra-light backpacking and hiking some of the world's greatest trails reflect Mackey's business philosophy: resilience, discovery, and a deep connection to nature. These personal stories are a welcome break from the business-focused chapters and reveal another side of the brand's creator.

This book is a treasure of unseen anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information for Whole Foods Market fans. It shows budding entrepreneurs and businesspeople the power of vision, inventiveness, and keeping loyal to one's ideals despite commercial constraints.

"The Whole Story: Adventures in Love, Life, and Capitalism" explores a life committed to changing how we think about food, business, and the globe. Anyone interested in trade, philosophy, and the human spirit should read this remarkable story of professional wisdom and personal epiphany.

Author John Mackey

John Mackey is an entrepreneur and the co-founder and visionary of Whole Foods Market. In his 44 years of service as CEO, the natural and organic grocer grew from a single store in Austin, Texas, to 540 stores in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, with annual sales exceeding 22 billion dollars. Mackey co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Movement and co-authored a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book titled “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business” and follow up, “Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity through Business.” He is also the co-author of “The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity” and “The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious and Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes.” Mackey currently serves on the board of directors for Conscious Capitalism, The Motley Fool, CATO Institute, The Institute for Cultural Evolution, and the Students for Liberty and is pursuing his next business venture, Love Life.

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