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A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business Hardcover – September 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“If any of today’s army of would-be entrepreneurs needs inspiration to take the plunge, Mr Sarillo offers not just a great pizza but a fine role model.”
The Economist
“A Slice of the Pie is more than just a great business story. It's a testament to how a great culture can transform an ordinary company into something extraordinary.”
—Tony Hsieh, New York Times Bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of

“Nick Sarillo’s restaurants are living proof of trust-and-track’s effectiveness in bringing out the best in people—not just employees, but managers, customers, and members of the communities that a business serves.”
—Bo Burlingham, from the foreword of A Slice of the Pie

“There are only a few CEOs today who have the courage to put people before numbers, Nick Sarillo is one of those leaders. The best part is, his numbers are vastly better than everyone else's. We can all learn a lot about how to treat people and how to run a business from Nick. Inspire on!”
—Simon Sinek, optimist & author of Start With Why

“We hear a lot of fancy talk about creating a transformative culture, but A Slice of the Pie offers tangible steps and processes any business can apply right now. Nick's experience shows it's possible for a new generation of leaders to make a difference while also turning a profit. I found Nick's passion for human potential inspiring, and I'm sure readers in any industry will feel the same way.”
—Chip Conley, Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Author of Peak


A Slice of the Pie isn't just about creating a transforming, inspiring business culture. It's about the importance of developing a nurturing, supportive, evolving, compassionate community. Nick Sarillo's story will change the way you think about leadership, no matter who you are.”—Pamela J. Althoff, State Senator of Illinois

“Nick Sarillo understands how culture can make or break an organization, and the work he's done at his restaurant is a testament to that fact. A Slice of the Pie lays out a perfect pattern for turning even an ordinary business into something extraordinary. Every business owner should read this book.”
—Sonia M. Nevis Ph D., Founder of Gestalt International Study Center

About the Author

Nick Sarillo is the founder, CEO and "Primary Keeper of Purpose and Operational Values" of Nick's Pizza & Pub.  He has been profiled in Inc., Newsweek, and on the NBC Nightly News. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (September 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Sarillo is the founder, CEO and "primary keeper" of the Purpose and Operational Vales of Nick's Pizza & Pub, the sixth busiest independent pizza company in per-store sales in the United States. Founded with the purpose of providing the community with an unforgettable place where families could relax and have fun, Nick's Pizza & Pub has margins nearly twice that of the average pizza restaurant and boasts an 80 percent employee retention rate in an industry in which the average annual turnover is nearly 150 percent. A regular speaker at entrepreneurship and HR conferences, Sarillo credits his company's success to his purpose-driven culture.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Domenica Cresap on September 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Slice of the Pie demonstrates the importance of empowering the employee and allowing them the rewards of a personal investment with success. This books provides evidence to the skeptical business owner that positive change is possible. Nick's development of his culture is a plan that will work within any organization.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Repkin on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover

Actually, that's not the question, it's the answer. My favorite quote in the book reads, "Generation Y needs to know why." The author makes the case that a company must start with the "why" in their purpose statement, and especially dealing with the emerging generation's workforce.

The book takes a hard stance against the "command and control" model and offers a more principle based alternative. One such example, the author sites Bo Burlingham's "Trust and Track" method, but the author puts his own spin on it, shares real-life stories that are inspiring and page-flipping-good.

The book reads more like a novel than a preachy business book. It's packed with all sorts of useful and practical ideas for building a business around people. I think that's why it was so approachable and authentic. You really feel like Nick, the author, is talking to you over a pizza and a beer and sharing his business insights.

The one misnomer is the book's subtitle, "build a big little business." I say this because the large companies should not let that deter them from reading this book. They would learn a lot from the lessons within. I mean, here is a guy that comes from the construction industry, never ran a business, reads all the business books that there is to read, and heck, just assumed they were right, started implementing, and whala, it worked!

The book dives into open-honest communication, open book management, and transparency. In the same way the author professes to run his business, he opens up and shares with the reader exactly what he is doing with real life issues.
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It sounds like several of us here know Nick. It could seem that we're just cheer-leading a friend. It's much more than that. If anything is understated in the book, it's Nick's commitment. It's palpable and contagious. The compelling story of Nick's will attract entrepreneurial business owners who rightfully see Nick's process as a pathway to success. Indeed, it is. However, in working with others who want to rise to purpose while leading growth and great teams, it can be hardest to achieve the understanding that absolute and total commitment from the leader come first. Nick is so remarkable because his commitment radiates in his belief that anyone can make big things possible -- in people and in business. He is ALL IN in the truest sense. (Sleeping in his car and working into the night using headlights to build a building for a business that only existed in his dreams...are just one slice of one pepperoni.)

It also matters that Nick loves his "product" -- recognizing it includes the food he serves as well as the Nick's Experience. "Nick's" is a "brand" because it's all product -- all real. And Nick's love for it is genuine. This can be a stumbling block for global companies. In that environment. "product" is the means-to-an-end, and the "brand" is a proxy -- an image that is itself not real -- standing for something few who market it care about in the deepest sense.

Here Nick has something in common with Steve Jobs' legacy: unparalled success starts with loving the product, and *everything* is product. When that's true, a brand imprint...happens....reinforced with every experience, never forced by so-called marketing. It's a relationship. The reader of "A Slice of the Pie" can relate because Nick's down-to-earth self comes through.
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By Jim Knight on October 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a stellar read. It has great insight into a small brand that "gets" how the power of a strong organizational culture is everything, when it comes to sustainable business.

I have become a fan of Nick's Pizza & Pub over the last year, when one of my colleagues turned me on to the great things that Nick Sarillo was doing. I have been lucky enough to eat at one of his restaurants and actually get to spend some time with Nick and his team and view first hand why the brand's people results are so unbelievable. The environment and business results that Nick talks about in the book completely match up to the culture I discovered during my visit. I can assure you, it's the real deal.

The book takes you on a fabulous - and sometimes painful - journey into the inner workings of a man destined to create something that did not exist in his local community, but also how that community rose up to save and enhance Nick's business. The book is a great mix of personal sacrifice & self deprecation, but also specific business "how to" best practices that others can follow to create a strong culture.

I was thrilled to have spent a few hours reading the book and getting to know more about Nick Sarillo and the company that continues to make a difference in many lives. His story is a perfect cultural case study for the work that I do and the book is now a staple in my business book library.
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