Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry’s

Brad Edmondson. Berrett-Koehler (Ingram, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-60994-813-9
The story of America’s happiest company is rife with sadness. Jeff Furman spent years with Ben & Jerry’s, from in-house counsel to chairman of the board, and author Edmonson relies heavily on Furman’s version of events and in fact started the book based on his idea, though the founders opted not to participate because it was too upsetting. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were interested in growing a socially responsible, activist company and made a big splash with their idea of “linked prosperity”—that as the company grew, the employees, suppliers, customers, and all other people and animals affected by the company should benefit. But activism and progressive values and practices couldn’t keep the company from running into common business woes. After years of dramatic leadership failures and difficulties, the company was sold to Unilever in 2000, to the great chagrin of the founders. They came out of the deal wealthier (Ben with $41 million, Jerry with $9.5 million) and the social mission survived, but both were emotionally distraught over the loss. Unfortunately, the wandering, uninspired book does the moving story no favors. Edmonson’s telling has no narrative drive, and as a history, it’s unfortunately dull. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 01/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-60994-815-3
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-1-4596-7376-2
Open Ebook - 303 pages - 978-1-60994-814-6
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