Zen Capitalism is Key to Success for Wharton EMBA Alum

A lot of business ideas for both new and existing companies are inspired in Wharton’s executive MBA program. It can lead to the solution of a problem, a collaboration, or in some instances the creation of a new business.

Karl-Eric Brière, who graduated from Wharton’s EMBA program in 2004, recalls that he had such an “aha” moment while talking to classmate Rick Blackshaw about a different type of entrepreneurship that focuses on compassion-centered value creation. Rick called it Zen Capitalism.

After working for close to a decade in Hong Kong, where six-day workweeks are common, Karl-Eric was ready for a change and Zen Capitalism would be the format for that change. Moving to Victoria,
British Columbia, Brière and his wife launched a boutique publishing company called Simple Dream Publishing based on this model. They built the company around flexible days and an objective of 20 hours of work per week. One of their first ventures was to partner with the English pronunciation training company American English University.

If it didn’t work, their plan was to try something else, says Karl-Eric. However, he hasn’t needed a different strategy yet. The company, which is 100% equity financed, is now eight years old and has been steadily growing.

He adds, “We’ve been putting on the brakes all the time. The Zen approach doesn’t mean you’re slacking off. It just means you’re letting things take their natural course. We end up being much more efficient and competitive and on the ball.”To read the full story about Karl-Eric in Wharton’s Alumni Magazine, click here.

Read the full story about Karl-Eric in Wharton’s Alumni Magazine.