For nearly four decades, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has built a cultural phenomenon.
From a small, local grocery store, SaferWay, emerged the Whole Foods Market we know today, a 470+ store chain at the center of this summer’s news headlines amid its blockbuster $13.7 billion dollar sale to Amazon.
A proponent of “Conscious Capitalism,” with a book to match, Mackey believes that companies can be successful and do the right thing. Inside the walls of Whole Foods, he says, exists a team-oriented culture driven by shared core values and mutual respect that allows employees to flourish.
During this special episode of The Upside, recorded in front of an audience at Chicago Ideas Week, Mackey shares how early wisdom about the fleeting nature of life (“Life is too short to do anything besides the things you really care about,” he says) encouraged him to follow his passion for food and build one of the most impactful companies of our time. He dishes on his rebellion against his college curriculum, his best advice for entrepreneurs, and the blind date-turned courtship-turned marriage that linked Whole Foods to Amazon.