June 29, 2005
'Integrity' book theft proves message
Someone stole a copy of your book, "Integrity
Matters," during business hours at our Coast Gallery
in Pebble Beach. Our "honor system" works,
most of the time. Sadly, integrity doesn't seem to matter
to everyone! Is there a moral to this story?
Integrity matters, and there is a moral to the story.
Gary and Emma Koeppel own Coast Gallery locations in
Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Maui and Carmel and value our
book, "Integrity Matters." They sell copies
to their customers, helping to expand the integrity conversation.
Because of their efforts, more individuals are learning
that "integrity-centered leadership is the only
reliable foundation for long-term success!" Now,
we hear that a book thief has violated decency and stolen
integrity. Say it ain't so!
In May 2004, we launched our book in bookstores and
on Amazon.com. Simultaneously, used copies of our brand-new
book were advertised on the Internet. How could this
be? Just about every publisher, we learned, sends out
hundreds of copies of new books to newspapers, magazines
and reviewers. Certain mailroom employees recognize the
packages, remove the books, list them online and pocket
So, what would cause an art gallery shopper surrounded
by expensive items to snitch "Integrity Matters," a
$24 book about constructive behaviors? Is this akin to
hotel guests who steal Bibles provided, for free, by
Gideon International? Did this petty thief need this
particular book to develop a moral compass in an all-too-turbulent
world? Did this small-time crook lack the cash and simply
turn to stealing out of desperation? We will likely never
But let's get back to the concern raised by the Koeppels.
Is there a moral to this story? Yes. The problem is thievery
and the need to rebuild the architecture for renewal
of integrity-centered leadership. In the meantime, we
need to figure out who sanctions stealing. Is it a careless
parent who bragged about cheating on taxes? What do children
absorb about honesty from family members who sneak home
logo towels and robes from hotels? What values are being
communicated when parents speed down the highway and
risk harm to self, family, friends and strangers simply
because no law officer is nearby?
Regardless of where and how individuals learn values, this
book thief provides an opportunity for a constructive response.
The integrity message needs to reach more people, immediately.
So, what organization should become the "Gideon Society" for
integrity? It is time to expand the integrity conversation,
even if "Integrity Matters," the book, must be
provided to an entire generation, for free. The need is
real and time is now. Who should be the sponsor? Readers,
please tell us.