cover image The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right

The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right

Ralph Nader. Melville House, $29.99 (314p) ISBN 978-1-685-89107-7

Some CEOs are worthy of praise, according to this surprisingly optimistic account from consumer protection activist and environmentalist Nader (To the Ramparts). Profiling 12 chief executives and company founders, Nader highlights how these leaders valued principles as much as the bottom line, and in some cases considered profits to be a mere stepping stone on the way to achieving nobler goals. Ray C. Anderson transformed Interface, a carpet tile manufacturing business, into a leader of sustainable manufacturing practices, which aims to take “nothing from the earth that is not naturally and rapidly renewable.” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard pioneered in the 1980s the use of recycled materials for catalogs and clothing, and utilized profits to buy land in Argentina and Chile for the creation of national parks. Jeno Paulucci, the Italian head of the Chun King food brand, fostered labor unions and hired disabled workers and convicts. While Nader is generous with praise, he does not overlook instances wherein these executives fell short—not only in their approach to politics or the environment, but also in failing to support Nader’s initiatives and presidential bids. (He singles out Jeff Bezos frequently for criticism.) The result is a rosy if somewhat idiosyncratic tribute to moral leadership. (Nov.)