Both of these new guides for successful business leadership intoday’s world draw heavily on Jewish values, seasoned with a goodlymeasure of yiddishkeit. Alper’s book is not only a manual forentrepreneurs but is, at the same time, a memoir of the life and careerof the founder of Noah’s Bagels, telling the story of his journey from ayoung man confined to a mental hospital to becoming one of America’smost successful businessmen.
Beginning as a secular and somewhat alienated Jew, Alper was drawn toJudaism and an appreciation of its history and values as a result of avisit to Israel. He learned that Jewish law and wisdom warns againstgreed and stresses the importance of honesty, fairness, communityservice, and helping those in need. Alper draws on quotations from theTorah and other Jewish sources and combines these with humor and graceas he tells his story. He shares the lessons he has learned along theway and illustrates them with examples that demonstrate the importanceof these principles in guiding him to entrepreneurial success.
But his book “isn’t only about work. It’s about how to be anentrepreneur while still living a healthy, meaningful and worthwhilelife.” It’s also a joy to read.
Zweifel and Raskin have a more ambitious goal: their book, The Rabbi and the CEO,sets out to give the reader “the tools you need to be an ethical andeffective leader.” The authors do this by referring to the TenCommandments and expounding on their meaning as well as by recountingthe challenges faced by leaders encountered in the Bible and examininghow they dealt with them. In their book, it matters not whether thereader is a small businessman or the CEO of a giant corporation.References cited run the gamut from Moses to Bob Dylan and, in view ofRabbi Raskin’s Chabad affiliation, also include the Zohar as well as theTalmud, “Ethics of the Fathers,” and numerous other traditionalsources.
Each section of the book has a summary of its contents labeled “TheBottom Line” and “Tips” designed to help the reader apply the advicegiven by the authors. The book is thoroughly researched and replete withfootnotes. It’s an easy read and contains many valuable suggestions.