2nd book of 2019: The Inside Scoop (Ben & Jerry's Bio), by Fred Lager
Ben & Jerry's is an iconic co. (now owned by Unilever) started by two hippies who didn't actually want to build a "company". All they wanted to do was to earn a living & eat a lot of ice cream. This book outlines the very gruesome and emotional journey of how it began from an ice cream parlour in a worn down Gas Station, to eventually reach over $130 Million in annual revenues (at the time of its writing in 1993). This book is written by Fred Chico, who served as the CEO of the company for a long time. In addition to being a valuable insider to the story, Fred is such a writer! By the end of it, you can't help but appreciate the sensibilities of a guy who's surfed the Tsunami of molten ice cream and hearts. For a decade. That's no joke!
This story is quite different from any other business biography because Ben & Jerry didn't want to make another "business". Being extremely socially conscious, they started by giving away 7.5% of their annual pretax profits to charity. Their commitment to the cause is almost unbelievable.
Most of the story is about how the guys were trying to not be "just another company". They were doing everything they could, including limiting the growth of their terrific product, just to keep their soul alive. It's incredible.
I wanted to read about good food companies so I could learn, but this was something else. Thank god I found it!