How to Use This Book
We write for enterprising leaders in small- to medium-sized, privately-held companies who see business as an endeavor with moral significance and cultural power.
You know your work in business means something, and you want your organization to be a force for good. That’s a tall order in a highly competitive arena full of ethically questionable norms, scarce resources, competitive pressures, and shifting cultural expectations.
Still, you are drawn to the entrepreneurial journey, in part because it holds so much promise: though you have to work within this system with all its strengths and flaws, you hope to build something new, beautiful, and lasting.
At Praxis we have worked closely with hundreds of entrepreneurs like this: founders, teams, and funders of growing businesses, where the leaders know their investors and have the prerogative to set vision, make strategic and operational decisions, build teams, and allocate capital with a high degree of autonomy. These leaders—and those who aspire to follow in their footsteps— are the primary audience for this book.
We are a community dedicated to putting our Christian faith into practice through redemptive entrepreneurship—in our leadership behavior and in the products, services, and organizations we build. That faith empowers redemptive entrepreneurs to pursue the good of others from within the market system, precisely because of their ultimate allegiance outside it.
This should be good news for everyone. Indeed, we believe that enterprising leaders who are spiritually serious, culturally astute, and embedded in accountable communities are uniquely suited for entrepreneurial work that makes the world a more just and humanizing place for all.
So, though this book is not exclusively for Christians, it is written to Christians, as it is rooted in Christian conceptions of human identity, purpose, and the common good.
The playbook is structured in two main parts: a First Principles essay, followed by six sections covering areas of business that we believe are most vital to redemptive impact: Products, Brand, Culture, Business Model, Partnerships, and Ambition. In each Commitment area we suggest several “redemptive opportunities”—actionable principles that you can adapt and apply in your venture.
Some of these may feel natural or even second-nature; others may seem purely aspirational. We hope to introduce tension where you are complacent, clarity where you are confused, and hope where you are jaded.
After reading the playbook alone or with a team, we suggest that you work through the six areas one at a time. Use the text first for assessment and discussion—identifying areas of strength, weakness, and possibility. Then choose one or two where you sense the greatest energy, and use them as a starting point for adaptation, prototyping, and designing your own creative ways to approach the redemptive edge of your venture’s mission.