Now and zen

By Justin Beddall, North Shore Outlook, Aug 23 2007

Vancouver, BC (Canada) -- Allan Holender sat pool side at his new home high atop the British Properties relaxing. He had a nice car parked in the driveway, a great job and a great view.

<< Business Buddha - After decades in pursuit of the North American dream, Allan Holender stepped back to discover what really matter most to him. Justin Beddall photo

You’d expect the son of a Polish immigrant who was raised in the east end of Edmonton might let out a big sigh and say something like: “Boy, it sure doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve really made it.”

But he had other, more introspective thoughts. “Is this what it’s all about? Why am I not happy?”

Like so many North Americans, most of his adult life had been spent involved in the “relentless pursuit of success and money.”

He’s been an entrepreneur, CEO, manager, leadership expert, teacher and broadcaster – among other successful ventures.

He’d always strived to be number one in each one of his endeavours. Fancy cars, club membership, posh house. It all added up to success, which translated into power.

It seemed like a noble pursuit, but when he achieved great financial success he was left with a sense of emptiness.

He began to explore what was missing from his life. “I was on the path to enlightenment,” explains Holender.

Holender decided to write a book about achieving a greater balance between work and life.

Bank account balance isn’t the only way to measure success, he’s fond of saying.

After a year of research, he began to write. Two years later, he published his first-ever book, Zentrepreneurism.

He’d originally planned to call his book Buddha in the Boardroom, but after poring over books on the subject and visiting a Buddhist temple he accepted that he wasn’t going to become a practicing Buddhist. It didn’t feel right – and, after his work/life epiphany, he wasn’t about to start living an illusion.

He still dug Buddhism – “It makes sense,” he says – and strongly believed the Eightfold Path of Buddhism could be applied to business.

And then, by interviewing others who’ve discovered greater harmony and balance in their lives, along with his own personal experiences, he wrote an inspirational 180-page book with chapters that include: Awakening the Buddha Within and the New Era of Zenlightened Capitalism.

Since he started down his path of “zenlightenment,” his life has changed dramatically.

“Absolutely. You need to look at what is the quality of your life instead of how much I made this month. I don’t feel myself needing as much as before.”

His definition of Zentrepreneurism? “The notion of creating purpose and profits with integrity,” he responds.

After initially self-publishing a print-run of around 1,500 books, his message is going global, with praise from readers around the world. Now, he is negotiating a deal with a U.S. publisher to distribute his book in paperback worldwide.

“What I want to do is bring Zentrepreneurism into the global arena. That’s what I really care about.”

For more info, visit, Holender will read from his book this Saturday at Indigo Books in West Van (900 Park Royal South) starting a 2 p.m. A book signing follows.