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Book Review: Do The KIND Thing by Daniel Lubetzky
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Book Review:  Do The KIND Thing by Daniel Lubetzky - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Do The KIND Thing by Daniel Lubetzky

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Do The KIND Thing by Daniel Lubetzky

Daniel Lubetzky is the founder and CEO of KIND, that snack food company whose trademarked tagline is “Ingredients you can see and pronounce.” KIND bars are known for their clear, plastic wrapping, so customers can see what they’re purchasing: whole nuts and fruits that satisfy in a healthy manner. In his book Do the KIND Thing (Ballantine Books, 2015), Lubetzky explains that the wrapper is not the only thing about KIND that is transparent. Transparency and authenticity are guiding principles in how his company conducts its business, warranting a whole chapter on communicating realness in its marketing and packaging.

It would be easy for a loyal customer to know only that KIND’s products are delicious and healthy, with no awareness of the mission and commitment the company has to “doing the KIND thing” for its people and for the planet. This is because Lubetzky underscores the importance of remembering that “the mission does not sell the product; the product sells the product.” Lubetzky has spent his whole career building bridges between conflicting communities through mutually beneficial business arrangements, but advises that “if your goal is to sell products, focus first and foremost on winning on the product’s merits.”

In addition to transparency, the author outlines and illustrates other company values: purpose, grit, truth and discipline, keeping it simple, originality, empathy, trust, ownership and resourcefulness, and something he calls “thinking with AND.” This is his opening chapter, and one of the book’s strongest, as it explains the company’s roots, and is the foundation upon which the rest of these values are built. Your product can be delicious AND nutritious. Your company can be profitable AND socially responsible. You can insist on more expensive ingredients AND compete in a difficult market.

Lubetzky tells a good story that’s worth the price of the book by itself. In his first years out of law school, he established a company whose mission was to form partnerships between Palestinian farmers and Israeli manufacturers to create high-quality products that established connections between businesses operating on different sides of idealistic chasms. Although that business floundered, it led to the establishment of KIND, a narrative he continues throughout his explanation of doing things the KIND way.

Despite its strengths in telling the tale, the book gets heavy on explaining, like that college professor who stops every few lines to describe the significance of each paragraph in the assigned literature while sacrificing the experience of immersing oneself in a really good story. For this reason, the book is best consumed one chapter at a time, spread out over several days. Also, if you’ve read similar books, where the CEO of a prominent company explains his or her philosophy while retracing the company’s history, much of this will feel like well-traveled ground. Still, the author’s sincerity and unique background offer more than a little bit of gold worth mining, so this book is recommended, but with one caveat: after reading it, you may have difficulty purchasing a lot of the hyper-processed, sugar-laden energy bars you think you love.

 

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Book Review: Do The KIND Thing by Daniel Lubetzky - Executive Leadership Articles

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