Posted by: Marty Fahncke | February 3, 2009

Book Review: “Peak” by Chip Conley

Peak by Chip Conley

The full name of this book is “Peak:  How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

When a friend of mine gave me a copy of Peak to check out, I was intrigued for a couple of reasons:

#1  I hear the phrase “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” thrown around quite a bit, but never really studied it or sought to understand it thoroughly.  This was my chance.

#2  The author, Chip Conley is the Founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality group, which operates a number of cool hotels in the San Francisco Bay area.  I’ve stayed at a few Joie de Vivre hotels, and they are quite unique, so I wanted to get inside the mind of the guy who runs them.

Before I started reading Peak, I was expecting a “psycho-babble” kind of book with lots of touchy-feely platitudes.   To be honest, there are a few of these spots in the book, but most of it was practical (though heart-centered) business management advice. 

I especially enjoyed the section about the relationship between your business and your investors, be they private, personal, or public market.  Most management books focus on the customer, or on the employee, but rarely on the beneficiary of the business. 

A quick glance at the Table of Contents will give you an idea of the well-rounded approach Conley takes to running his business:

I – Maslow and Me
   1. Toward a Psychology of Business
   2. Karmic capitalism
   3. The Relationship Truths

II – The Employee Pyramid
   4. Creating base motivation
   5. Creating loyalty
   6. Creating inspiration

III – The Customer Pyramid
   7. Creating satisfaction
   8. Creating commitment
   9. Creating evangelists

IV – The Investor Pyramid
   10. Creating trust
   11. Creating confidence
   12. Creating pride of ownership

V – Putting the Truths in to action
   13.  The Heart of the Matter
   14.  Creating a self-actualized life

One of the more interesting things about Peak is that Conley wrote the book shortly after the events of 9/11, when the travel and hotel industry was suffering huge losses, and Conley’s own chain of hotels was on the verge of bankruptcy. 

The author details how he fought his way out of very bad situation, with most of the obstacles completely out of his control.

In today’s recession-plagued business environment, the thoughts and ideas Conley used to help his business survive and thrive are more pertinent than ever. 

In summary, I recommend you check out “Peak:  How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow”



  1. Marty,

    So glad that you enjoyed the book. I found it to be an excellent source of valuable business advice as well as an inspirational read. Best of all, the author, Chip Conley, is an amazingly kind and generous person.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book.


  2. […] few days after posting a (very) positive review of the book “Peak” by Chip Conley, CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, I realized that I needed to plan a business trip to the Bay […]

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