I owe this book to my friend Gus
Gus Rancatore is the founder, owner, and operator of Toscanini's Ice Cream & Coffee, three stores in my hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, that produce what is in my biased opinion the best ice cream in the world.
is easy to spot.
Most hours of the day or night you can find him behind the counter of his
Main Street store, located across the street from a fire station and a couple of blocks from the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
the large, affable, slightly distracted fellow who's juggling three things as we speak, whether preparing an egg cream for a customer, checking the ingredients in the new batch of mango sorbet, or bantering with the supplier delivering coffee beans.
element of the store, Gus
is the center of the universe.
as comfortable talking politics with the local cops as he
is managing his
employees, many of whom are MIT students (some of them literally go on to become rocket scientists).
At Toscanini's Gus is the happy genius propelling the enterprise forward.
There's a spirit to the stores and the company that extends beyond Gus
, and this force has always fascinated me. Like every small business, Toscanini's has a heart and soul beyond its owner's individual personality.
And I've found over the years that Gus
has learned as much from Toscanini's as he
has put into the operation.
And it is this link that has led me to write this book.
I met Gus while I was a local reporter for the Cambridge Chronicle more than fifteen years ago.
Since then I have focused my work on the world of business, particularly small business.
To quote my friend Gus
, "Running a business is an existential process-you learn what you need to know only by doing it.