Reviewed: Zilch – Not Your Grandmother’s Business Leadership Book

Zilch Book CoverIt sure took long enough, but at last it is here —  a book offering some much-needed lessons the business world can learn from successful social enterprises. 

Zilch — The Power of Zero in Business by Nancy Lublin, CEO of, is a smart and provocative twist on the tiresome old chestnut that nonprofits need to be better at thinking like for-profits. Puhleeze… I understand the point, but enough already… we’ve got it.  If you don’t mind, while the business experts are busy sorting out the gut-wrenching tragedy in the Gulf, I’m going to listen to Nancy for awhile.

This is a business leadership book with a twist. Where other leadership books “zig.” Nancy “zags” and the result is a sharp and thought-provoking guide to find what every successful organization needs — purpose and passion. It turns the old for-profit vs. not-for-profit distinction on its head, seeing instead an emerging  world dividing itself into  “for-purpose” and “not-for-purpose” organizations.

Zilch is full of behind-the-scenes access to some of America’s most successful social enterprises, including Kiva, The Mozilla Foundation, and — and Nancy isn’t afraid to let the secrets fly.

Zilch is not only a reminder of the remarkable leaders already shaping the social landscape, it is a long overdue guide to help every leader think and act more like, well… a leader.