Is there a "BK Way?"

    Is there a "BK Way?"

    What is distinctive about BK as a company and our practices?

    In 2017 Berrett-Koehler Publishers will celebrate the 25th anniversary of our founding. In preparation, we are gathering examples and stories that suggest what is different and noteworthy about the messages in our books and how we apply those ideas in running our company.

    Please post below any examples or stories you have of:

    • how BK differs from other companies in your experience 
    • a humorous interaction with BK staff or systems 
    • frustrations or disappointments you have had in working with BK 
    • what surprised you in an interaction with BK 
    • what others told you about BK that you found out to be true—or not true 
    • some aspect of BK that it took you a while to get 
    • some aspect of BK that you still don’t understand
    • the most memorable or meaningful thing you have observed about BK.
    We’re hoping that your posts will generate conversations on this site. BK president Steve Piersanti and other BK staff as well as BK authors, readers, and others may respond to some of the posts. And if we can collect enough interesting examples and stories to make a good book about our journey as a maverick independent publisher trying to change the world, we might publish a book incorporating the best ideas and accounts.

    You will need to log in to our website and join this group to post your stories.  If you have any technical difficulties, you can email Charlotte Ashlock at [email protected], or you can call her during Pacific Coast business hours at (510) 817-2279.

    • hazelhenderson

      My Story

      Created by Hazel Henderson

      In 1991, I was faced with the folding  of the original publisher of my book Paradigms in Progress”  .   Somehow, I was lucky enough to  find Berrett-Koehler  and Steve Piersanti!   After I sent Steve my orphan book, he  contacted me saying that I was obviously an author whose work was “ under-published “.  Steve invited me to meet with him and the Berrett-Koehler team at their office in San Francisco.

      When I arrived  with a cordial welcome , we convened with the group in their conference room.  Steve introduced me and said how important he thought Paradigms in Progress was and that he hoped Barrett-Koehler would take over the book and re-publish it.

      Then to my surprise, he asked us all to take a few minutes in prayerful silence, focusing on their role and mission and how my work seemed to  align well.

      I was amazed, having had experiences with two  of my other publishers in New York , which were to  say the least, very different and with a strictly business focus.

      What I found at Berrett-Koehler was a deeply caring spiritual approach to  publishing as a calling .  I was deeply moved by the depth of caring  and focus on their mission.  Naturally, I was delighted when Berrett-Koehler decided to  take over Paradigms in Progress and they  re- launched my  book in 1995.  My books, including my later Building A Win-Win World (1996) have not been big sellers, since as a futurist I’m always about ten years ahead of where the market is at any time!  So I’m doubly grateful that they keep  these two  of my books in print and the latter title is also now an e-book.

      So naturally, I always first  steer my author friends looking for publishers  to  Berrett-Koehler!  I feel this affinity even though I’m now too busy running  our  Ethical Markets Media Certified B. Corporation to  participate in all the wonderful authors’ retreats and  cooperative activities.

      So, thank you all at Berrett-Koehler!   May you continue to  prosper and serve our common human future!

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      Inclusiveness of all stake-holders and alignment of values

      Created by Jonathan Fong

      • I have the privilege of participating in BK Foundation's Experiential Exchange, and being partnered with Steve Piersanti. His success in building BK is an inspiration to me, and in one of our sessions, he said that BK stopped being his company the moment he hired someone, and actually it was before that, the moment he had supplier relationships/contracts, etc. I am awestruck by his vision of BK not as his company, but one that he just guides while give space to all stakeholders.

        Prior to this, I read an intern's account of a BK Author Day ( Steve's willingness and encouragement for the intern to participate was astounding, but beyond that, how the company values were so aligned that Jeevan already knew also that the intern should not just be an observer, but an empowered and active participant.

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      the newsletter creates community

      Created by Randy Peyser

      I love the personal engagement with Jeevan through the email newsletters. Every other publisher sends out a boring announcement. BK is the only company that provides consistent reader engagement and interaction. If social media is supposed to be about establishing relationships, BK is exceptional in this regard.

      I love the challenges that Jeevan presents at the end of each newsletter, as well as the “dose of random” and the other odds and ends he shares at the bottom of each newsletter. I enjoy seeing the answers to the challenges and sometimes come up with preposterous answers and send them to him when I can’t figure them out, just to share a laugh. I enjoy reading about the people who figure out the challenges. It makes me feel connected to a much larger community of fans of BK, and I find it interesting to read about the wide variety of readers who enjoy the newsletter, like I do, and learn about the things that they do.

      Last year, I shared the newsletters with my 87 year old dad across the country. He looks forward to the newsletters, too, because he often gets the answers right to the challenges.

      It’s also astounding to me as to how much information is relayed in the newsletters. Every time I get a newsletter, I’m blown away by the amount of interesting information that has been collated for that newsletter. I always think: When do they have time to do their jobs?

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