Ice Cream Social is the first book to tell the complete story of a beloved company’s inspiring rise, tragic mistakes, devastating fall, determined recovery, and ongoing renewal.
For over three decades, Ben & Jerry’s has tried to achieve “linked prosperity,” or the idea that the owners of the company should share their success with all of their stakeholders — employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, cows, everybody. Living up to this ideal is fun when you’re doing it right, and it creates amazingly loyal customers, but it isn’t easy.
We gave the first draft of Ice Cream Social to our friend Annie Leonard (author of The Story of Stuff), who wrote that she found it “fast-paced, with compelling, fully realized characters and a gripping narrative. I knew the ending, and I still couldn’t put the book down.”
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Ice Cream Social is written for a general audience of students, entrepreneurs, ice cream fans, and others in the movement to combine profit and purpose. No other book has explained how the company came to be sold to Unilever, one of the world’s biggest corporations, even though the board of directors struggled for over a year to remain independent.
The book is also the first to give a complete accounting of the unprecedented contract Ben & Jerry’s negotiated with Unilever to preserve the three part mission, and it describes the complex working relationship that allows the company to pursue that mission on a much larger stage.