Ari's Writing

Ari's Writing

Why History Matters

If we look for patterns in the past, interesting and unexpected things will appear. Sometimes, what we find makes us smile (I’ve been studying the history of “the frozen water trade” that was one of the country’s most important industries 120 years ago). Other times it can cause consternation (like the discomfiting realization that we […]

Ari's Writing

Adding to the List of Natural Laws of Business

Fourteen years before we opened the Deli in 1982, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton went out west to travel. In 2019, writer and permaculturist Fred Bahnson published a thoughtful piece about that trip, entitled “On the Road with Thomas Merton.” Aside from the fact that I have long admired and sought to learn from Father […]

Ari's Writing

Food For Future Organizational Thought

On his new album All Round the Light Said, Irish singer songwriter Joshua Burnside sings about “A Man of High Renown.” Who we hold in high renown, who we learn from, who we admire, and who we aspire to emulate has a huge influence on how we live our lives. What follows is, I hope, a […]

Ari's Writing

Another Look at Natural Law #7

The other morning, I got an email from a Zingerman’s alum. Although it’s been many years since she worked with us, she still lives here in town and has long had her own successful career in business. She wrote that last week she’d had a particularly stressful medical appointment for which she’d had to fast. […]

Ari's Writing

Natural Law #16

As many of you know, I’ve been working for a while now on what is the next set of Natural Laws of Business (and also of life) that I hadn’t yet formulated when I wrote the initial essay back in 2009 in Part 1. Natural Laws, like gravity, are simply the way the world works. We don’t […]

Training & Business Systems

Taking a Look at Zingerman’s Training Compact—25 Years Later

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye says, “Questions are very helpful. Begin with a few you’re carrying right now.” So, in the spirit of Ms. Shihab Nye’s suggestion, here are a few questions with which to start this conversation: What if I told you I had a tool that you could put to work in your organization […]

Ari's Writing

Natural Law #23: Our World Works Better When We’re Owning Our Choices

Peter Koestenbaum could, on the surface, seem a surprising choice for an apostle of the revolutionary approach to putting freedom in place in the 21st century workplace. Even in the progressive part of the business world, few folks will likely have heard of him, and I doubt that his numerous books have made it to […]

Ari's Writing

A Look at Natural Law #24

Toni Morrison, who was born in 1931 about two hours east of Ann Arbor in Lorain, Ohio wrote, “This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn’t matter to me what your position is. You’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and […]

Organizational Culture

The Seemingly Small Act of Knowing People’s Names Can Make a Big Difference

In 1980, a couple years before we opened the Deli, the psychologist Carl Rogers wrote his classic A Way of Being. Rogers, who was born in 1902, the same year the Deli’s building was built, concluded that the country was moving towards a new future—one in which openness, authenticity, collaboration, community, an equitable and sustainable connection […]

Ari's Writing

Joy at Work (and Working at Joy)

What follows is a stepping stone; the start of my understanding of something that, on the one hand, I’ve lived with my whole life, and at the same time, I haven’t given nearly as much thought to as I could have. Fortunately, I get a lot of joy from learning, and maybe even more of […]

Ari's Writing

This I Believe…

Heather Richardson Cox closed her column about the meeting of the G7 leaders the other day with this simple line: “There are lots of moving pieces in the world right now.” Here’s a small bit about a piece that I believe is moving in a really positive direction. Over the last five weeks I’ve written […]

Organizational Culture

Additional Insights into the Importance of Organizational Culture

When I sat down to draft the piece about culture that ran here three weeks ago, my plan was, as it usually is, to move on to a different subject the following week. That shifted significantly. The more I explored the effect of cultural soil, the more I saw just how important it is. Actively […]

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