In conversation with Ron Purser

What defines McMindfulness?

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Becoming calmer and less caught up in habitual patterns sounds like A Good Thing. However, modern promotion of secular mindfulness comes with a shadow side.

This is explored in McMindfulness by Ron Purser, a professor of management in San Francisco, and a long-time Buddhist practitioner. The book expands on his scholarly work on the mindfulness industry, criticising how it’s coopted by corporate forces.

As he explains in this edited extract that ran in the Guardian:

“Most of the promoters of mindfulness are nice, and having personally met many of them, including the leaders of the movement, I have no doubt that their hearts are in the right place. But that isn’t the issue here. The problem is the product they’re selling, and how it’s been packaged…”

To explore what he means, I interviewed Ron at Watkins Books in early August. Full disclosure: I was involved in the editing of McMindfulness, and was thanked very kindly in the acknowledgments. This didn’t stop us from exploring some of the criticism of his critique.