Brand Book Bites from Zingerman’s A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business

– the book:  A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business is the 4th in a series of books, Zingerman’s Guides to Good Leading.  If you’re not familiar with Zingerman’s, check out their online store (prepare to drool) and their training company, ZingTrain (prepare to be amazed).the-power-of-beliefs-in-business book

– the brains:  Ari Weinzweig, co-owner and founding partner of Zingerman’s.  As a self-described “lapsed anarchist,” he had always been suspicious of institutions like business.  But founding and running Zingerman’s has helped him discover that structure and leadership can actually help people succeed, rather than just oppressing them.

– the best bits:  At 588 pages, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business is an extensive resource on the power of beliefs in business and so much more.  For this write-up, I’m only including some of the many tasty bits on beliefs:

“Every single thing we do, every single thing we experience, everything others around us do is being radically influenced — and more often than not initiated — by beliefs…Strongly held beliefs are at the core of everything we experience.”

“Beliefs can be negative, neutral, or positive.  In each case, I believe, they are essentially self-fulfilling.”

“The real work isn’t to cut out bad behavior; it’s to change the beliefs that put it in motion.”

“When you buy our bread, you’re also buying our beliefs.”

The book also includes an illustrated history of Zingerman’s, recipes for some of its iconic products, and a suggested reading list.

– the brand story:  Of course the brand story here is Zingerman’s.  The company uniquely engages its employees in so many ways; but rather than tell you about them, let me share what Zingerman’s employees have to say about their working experience:

“Something that changed for me when I came to work at Zingerman’s was the knowledge of what it feels like to work for a company that cares — in a foundational way, not just person-to-person — about how we operate in the bigger picture; our footprint, how we treat people, the impact we have on community, who and what we’re ‘responsible’ for.”

“Rather than consider [my job] as a mere stepping stone to something bigger and more important…I started to see my job at the Deli as an occupation worthy of my best creative work and attention.”

“I now believe in myself…and believe that what I am doing makes a difference in this world.”

– the bottom line:  A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business is part philosophy text, part personal memoir, part corporate story, and part leadership & business book (with a recipe book thrown in for kicks) — the perfect concoction for a deep dive into beliefs and Zingerman’s.

Listen to my interview with Ari to:

  • how beliefs differ from values, philosophies, principles, etc.
  • learn why “the customer is always right” is wrong
  • get the six-step recipe for changing a belief


related Brand Book Bites:

The Five Hour Workday by Stephan Aarstol

The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker

Dare to Serve by Cheryl Bachelder

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