*** NEW AWARD*** 

 My book ETHICAL CHIC: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

has just been named one of the Best Business Books of 2012 by Library Journal


This book analyzes six well-known companies that are seen as socially responsible and hip, to see if they really deserve their sterling reputations.

Find out the real story about Starbucks, Apple, Trader Joe’s, American Apparel, Tom’s of Maine and Timberland:.


I am a prize-winning author and journalist with over 20 years of experience specializing in health care, retirement issues, and the nexus between business and public policy. I write regularly for The New York Times, Newsday, The Scientist, Institutional Investor, and more

Microsoft’s Sick Leave vs. Starbucks’ Anti-Racism

The New York Times, March 26 and 22, 2015




Both Microsoft and Starbucks set out with honorable intentions, to use their businesses to combat social ills — lousy benefits for workers and racism, respectively. And of the two, Starbucks has a much stronger reputation for being socially responsible. Yet Microsoft’s initiative — pledging that it will work only with contractors that provide paid sick leave and vacation for their employees — has been lauded, while Starbucks’ idea of writing “race together” on its (environmentally destructive) paper cups was so roundly mocked that the company dropped it after only a few days. What’s the difference? Microsoft’s plan was narrowly targeted to a market where it had influence and, therefore, could expect results. Starbucks’ aphorism, on the other hand, was just another one of CEO Howard Schultz’s feel-good, squishy platitudes — like his little dream that all politicians should stop taking campaign contributions and just be nice. The moral: With Congress so dysfunctional, and controlled by Republicans anyway (so we should actually be grateful it doesn’t function), it may be that only the autocracy of a CEO-led, undemocratic (small-D) corporation can get things done. In which case, I’d rather have those efforts undertaken by left-leaning corporations like Starbucks, rather than (God help us) Koch Industries. But some CEO-led companies can be just as dysfunctional as Congress.


From the other side: Check out my book reviews for The National at http://www.thenational.ae/featured-content/search?searchKey=Fran+Hawthorne&choice=true&pageNumber=1 and The New York Journal of Books at http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/search/apachesolr_search/Fran%20Hawthorne

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