In the delightful 1960 film "Never on Sunday," the celebrated Greek actress Melina Mercouri portrayed a love-for-sale lady named Ilya who took that day off from work to rest.
The six business executives spotlighted in investigative journalist Jeff Benedict's new book, "The Mormon Way of Doing Business," also are never-on-Sunday workers.
Like Ilya, they need the rest. But they also have a higher motivation. They are commanded to take the day off by the tenets of their religion.
To illustrate the importance those executives place on taking Sundays off, Benedict tells of former Madison Square Garden and New York Knicks chief executive Dave Checketts being interviewed by Disney chief executive Michael Eisner for the leadership of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Anaheim Ducks.
Checketts, Benedict writes, declined the job after noticing a sign behind Eisner's desk that said: "If you're not here on Saturday, don't bother to come in on Sunday."
Benedict said the sign troubled Checketts and prompted him to tell Eisner: "You know what, Mike, it probably won't work because I've got to have one day that I can dedicate to my kids and my church. It's just too important to me. If I don't have that kind of family time on the weekends, I assure you I will be miserable. Then we both lose because you won't get the results you're looking for."
All of the executives interviewed for this book keep the Sabbath holy unless special circumstances compel them to attend to urgent business.
They also all devote many hours of uncompensated time to the church by serving as bishops to congregations or regional stake presidents.
The other featured executives are David Neeleman, chief executive and founder of JetBlue Airways; Jim Quigley, chief executive of Deloitte & Touche USA; Kevin Rollins, chief executive of Dell Computers; Kim Clark, the now former dean of the Harvard Business School; and Gary Crittenden, chief financial officer of American Express.
Although those executives have some leeway when situations demand that they work on a Sunday, Benedict says, their religion cuts them no slack regarding marital fidelity, honesty, not smoking or drinking, and tithing.
All of Benedict's executives tithe faithfully. The practice, Benedict says, gives Mormons a perspective on money that helps them avoid succumbing to greed and all the temptations and problems that follow and have landed some greedy executives in jail.
Benedict portrays Mormon executives as consummate time managers who find ways to get their business done and still have time to spend with their families and to perform church work.
He points out that Deloitte & Touche's Quigley went from leading a congregation of 500 to leading a company with 34,000 employees.
Benedict is not on a mission to convert readers to his religion. His primary objectives appear to be to promote more understanding of Mormons and to show how some of their principles and practices can help people of any faith achieve success and balance.