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A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned by Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair Paperback – July 29, 2014
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From the book's Foreword:
"As he makes clear through his lively prose... Chris utilizes a series of vignettes to provide, in a self-effacing style, very thoughtful examples of how hard work, coupled with solid personal, family, community, and business values, are the basis from which strong managers and entrepreneurs can succeed... Chris not only tells some wonderful stories, but for many of us, he brings back some long lost memories."
- Jeff Glajch, CFO, Graham Corporation
From the Author
"In the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, life in the pizza stand at the Erie County Fair was nirvana. I thought I could work there forever. But life happens. Eventually, it was my turn to transition from full-time student to full-time worker. I thought I could do both. I couldn't. And I shouldn't. Life moves on. From one generation to the next. The greatest gift the older generation can give to the younger is to share the secrets to its success and cultivate the next generation so it can stand - and succeed - on its own. That was the final lesson - the lesson of giving, And I learned it this way..." - Chris Carosa
From the Preface:
When I wrote 50 Hidden Gems of Greater Western New York, I knew I just had to include a chapter on the Erie County Fair. Naturally, if I was to write about the Erie County Fair, then I also had to include some mention of my grandparents' pizza stand (then called Salvator's Pizza - across from what used to be the main entrance of the grandstand). And so I did. In that chapter (you can read it in the appendix section of this book) I mentioned the lessons learned in that pizza stand would make a wonderful book.
This is that book.
Even the simplest of life's activities can build the most enduring memories. More important, in subtle ways they can offer lessons that stand a lifetime. When fully absorbed, these lessons can yield powerful results. In his book One Up On Wall Street, Fidelity's superstar investor Peter Lynch explains how everyday investors can profit just by paying attention to the companies in their own backyard. Similarly, it is these same "backyard" (and sometime front yard) experiences of our youth that provide the lessons needed to reach the highest of heights in the business world. Much has been written of the proverbial lemonade stand and how it teaches budding entrepreneurs the meaning of business. This book takes place in the real-life world of a small family-owned and operated pizza stand in one of America's most popular and prosperous annual fairs - the Erie County Fair - and follows through the events that led a young adult to learn invaluable lessons that, in the future, would help him become a successful entrepreneur.
As with any memoir-like book, many of the events depicted in this book are subject to interpretation. I've tried to keep true to what I saw as a teenager back then, not what I know to be true today. This is important because, when you learn lessons, certain small aspects stick out. In retrospect, those aspects might be irrelevant to the full story or even the main point of the story. And yet, that's what you remember, because that's the lesson you learn.
The stories I've told here reflect the lessons I learned. My brother (or my sisters or my aunt and uncles) might have experienced the same event and learned a different lesson and therefore remembered a different aspect of that event. This book isn't their story, it's mine. That being said...
I've loaded this book with quick-read chapters containing real-life episodes from that time of my life (roughly 1974 to 1983). The book is divided into five sections with a prologue and an epilogue (and one appendix). I introduce the key players in the short prologue through a story that happens about as far from the Erie County Fair as possible. The first section - A Day In the Life of a Carny - takes you on an speedy journey through a typical day I spent working in the pizza stand. The next three sections introduce you to the lessons and values learned during this time. The first of these three identifies basic values, the next reveals community values and the following section pinpoints business values. These sections are organized to not only give you both a flavor and feel of what was happening at the time these stories occured, but to make it clear where the lessons learned appear in your life. The final section shows how I used these lessons by describing five essential elements to success. Lastly, the epilogue tries to answer the obvious "What happened to them?" questions that generally come about when discussing the past lives of characters (think of the endings of American Graffiti, Animal House, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High).
- Chris Carosa, Mendon, New York, July 15, 2014
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