Foreword – In Search for the Soul of International Business


Now This Is Interesting

Dr. László Szabó

Dr. Szabó is the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Hungary to the United States.

Books are meant to have a mission and an impact. Just like with those who are called, some books are, while many are not. The difference lies in the interest level. Here is how my interest progressed. When I first read the name of the author, I was reminded of an eponymous suburb within Budapest. So I drew the connection to Hungary—a link that is almost reflectively appealing to a Hungarian ambassador in the United States. The title of this book adds a crucial dimension of humanity to business—it is a search for essentials in which many of us engage. Particularly appealing was the soul, which, as a former medical and business professional and especially as a diplomat, one does not connect instinctively. I decided to venture a closer look as I discovered that the author is not only a business professor at Georgetown University, one of the leading Jesuit Universities in the world, but also has an appointment at the University of Kent in Canterbury, the seat of the Church of England. After decades of being a key author of International Marketing and Business, the Professor had now seen fit to newly write about a new and crucial dimension of humanity. Society often describes business as soulless, technology and artificial intelligence might even further distance business from the soul. In all, this book raised my interest to such an extent that I agreed to write a prologue about it for you, the reader. As an ambassador, one of my goals is to strengthen business ties between Hungary and the United States. I would like to see businesses flourish that have multidimensional levels of depth and a natural concern for a good soul, so that these connections can be meaningful, long lasting, and honorable.

In conversation about the book, Professor Czinkota indicates that his primary focus is the soul, particularly the good one. He defines his conceptual innovation to be the link of faith with the issue of “curative marketing.” Religious connectivity with commerce has had an important role for ages. There is, for example, the cleansing of the money changers from synagogue by Jesus and the dimension of the honorable merchant, already developed by the German Trading Group Hanse in the 13th century.

Working on international business for 40 years, Czinkota’s work provides a rationale why merchants should be reliable, trustworthy, and bridge-building partners, which he has subsumed under the heading of “curative marketing.” He highlights in his work that passage of time will lead to forgiveness of misdeeds under existing statutes of limitations, but does not eliminate responsibility. Even after 25 years, three generations, or even centuries, there remains an obligation for active consideration of restitution. An example is the efforts by Georgetown University to seek forgiveness and make good for its selling of slaves more than 200 years ago—Even though doing so had a major effect on the continuing viability of the institution. The descendants of the victims, as far as identified, have now been provided with enhanced access to higher education and help with their social progress. The search continues!

The concurrent step-up is the integration of the soul with international business. In times of controversial industrial measurements, highly unpleasant passenger removal by airlines, and threats of terrorism, many deplore the apparent lack of a soul in business life. Today we are facing a greater capability and willingness to bear down on conditions which warrant doing so. We retain our appreciation of old content, but also gain new perspectives and witness a new context. We can let freedom lead business, and use tariffs to improve trade conditions. Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Congressman, youngest and second oldest person to serve as Secretary of Defense, Counselor to the President, and White House Chief of Staff stated: “there are known ‘knowns,’ which are the things we know that we know. Then there are the known ‘unknowns,’ which are the things that we now know that we don’t know. There are also the unknown ‘unknowns,’ which are things of which we do not know that we don’t know them.” As befits the soul, Czinkota’s book manages to address, if not tackle, all of these conditions.

Thought provoking, witty, and innovative, In Search for the Soul of International Business offers groundbreaking insights and perspectives to inspire real-life understanding and soulful yet trailblazing applications in business and marketing. Consistent with the focus of this book on quick learning I hope to have, within a few pages of thought, raised your wonderment about the triple helix of business, faith, and society sufficiently so that you are now appropriately interested in reading this book of tantalizing brevity. Happy reading!