High Hanging Fruit (Review)

I usually avoid books about business unless I’m looking for dull material to read before bedtime at night. So, I wandered over to the business book section of the Norfolk (Nebraska) Public Library to find reading material to get my mind off of the recent General Election. The book, High Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will, attracted my attention due to its eye-catching cover. I didn’t bother to open the book to skim it, the book was coming home with me.highhangingfruit-01

That night, in bed, I opened the book and discovered that the subject was how author Mark Rampolla started the ZICO coconut water company. My interest was piqued because I’ve been buying canned coconut water from the Asian foods aisle at the supermarket ever since the turn of the century.

I instantly recalled my own coconut water conversion. It happened when I became sick with a severe sunburn in India.  Our driver walked me to a coconut water stand at the side of a road and bought two green coconuts. The vendor hacked off part of the fruit and inserted soda straws. He instructed me to drink the contents, then nibble the “meat” for relief of my nausea. I was to sip from the second coconut later that afternoon. I’m convinced the coconut water saved me from a serious medical emergency.

I refocused my attention on Rampolla’s book. It turns out he encountered coconut water in the tropics, too. He was living the life of an outwardly successful executive for International Paper’s packaging division in El Salvador. Rampolla wanted his career to go in a different direction. He wanted to do something meaningful and contribute to the betterment of our world.  Rampolla wanted his work to mesh with his own personal core values.

Mark began brainstorming different ideas with his wife Maura.  They shared honest, open conversations to help each other clarify their goals based mainly on their common values. Mark considered returning to the non-profit world because he had a rewarding time during his stint with the Peace Corps. It turned out that the answer to his dilemma was a common part of his life already, coconut water.

highhangingfruit-01markrampollaThe couple was aware of the many health benefits of the liquid. It has an abundance of electrolytes and nutrients.  Mark already drank it to rehydrate after his daily workouts. Rampolla knew they had uncovered their special niche. As for myself, I discovered that I liked this book, a lot. I noticed that more time had elapsed than I imagined. It was well past the hour I normally drift into sleep.

The next day, I resumed reading this page turner. Rampolla tells of the many struggles to balance the needs of investors, suppliers, distributors, customers, and family. He describes extremely difficult challenges that would make most people throw in the towel. There were times when Rampolla was so caught up in making ZICO take off that he nearly lost sight of why he wanted the business to succeed. There was one major wakeup call when Maura tearfully confessed that she wanted to spend more time with their children as a family.

High Hanging Fruit is a refreshing book that doubles as motivational literature. It describes one way that a person can grow a very successful business venture while holding on tight to your own ethical values.  The book’s style is relaxed, conversational, and quite personal. The book really does live up to its title.

Oh yeah, I ended up buying a bottle of ZICO so I could more fully experience the story.  The beverage tastes pretty good.

{ High Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will by Mark Rampolla; 240 pages; published July 19, 2016 by Portfolio; ISBN 978-0-399-56212-9 }

moi1988bThe Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Mark Rampolla. “Truly focus on what your’re doing right in the moment.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Books, cultural highlights, Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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