cover image Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently—And Succeeding

Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently—And Succeeding

Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff, illus. by Sungyoon Choi. Crown Business, $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7704-3749-7

Honest Tea cofounders Goldman and Nalebuff wisely enlist artist Choi (American Widow) to turn their story into an engaging and enlightening work of graphic nonfiction. Important aspects of starting their business—brewing large quantities of tea, choosing bottle and label designs, managing the supply and distribution chain—lend themselves to graphic storytelling. More importantly, Goldman, Nalebuff, and Choi craft a narrative that will reward readers, whether they are budding entrepreneurs themselves or casual readers. The Honest Tea story began when two men with different but complimentary personalities and ideas joined forces to create a company with a simple mission: to make iced tea from natural ingredients with a minimum of sugar. The authors discuss a variety of challenges they faced, from obtaining the right ingredients to finding brewing and bottling facilities, as well as problems posed by growth and success. They had certain advantages, however, having met at the Yale School of Management, where Nalebuff is a professor. The mission-driven nature of the company set it apart from others, although its recent purchase by Coca-Cola may cast a shadow on Goldman and Nalebuff’s early struggle to help their product succeed as a low-sugar alternative. Still, this candid portrait of leveraging resources to build a business from the ground up is a useful and cleverly conceptualized read. Agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. (Sept.)