A seasoned administrator employs the analogy of making ravioli to convey key team concepts in this debut business book.
In his introduction, Manganiello, who currently works for a Delaware-based nonprofit and has held several other managerial positions in the public and private sectors, notes that his childhood memory of his grandparents’ homemade ravioli inspired this book. Even he had “perceived the planning, preparation and work that went into their making.” He then unspools an instructive tale featuring 10-year-old cousins Abigail and Theresa, who oversleep and miss out on the delicious ravioli whipped up by their 60-year-old grandfathers, twin brothers Alfredo and Mario. The men then tell the girls how they, too, had failed to savor some ravioli by similarly failing to get out of bed at the same age, but then learned how to make the pasta. They ultimately built a successful ravioli business by visiting various people (including relatives) to fully understand how the dish was concocted, respectfully handling their growing teams, and responding appropriately to many challenges, including saying no to an order that was too large to be handled in the time frame requested. Their tale concludes on page 96, with the text then transitioning to a flash-forward of the girls, now graduated from college, thanking their grandfathers, who are in their 80s, for their insights. The women share the themes that they’ve learned, grouped under the acronym RAVIOLI (with “V” including one-paragraph discussions of “vision,” “values,” “variety,” and “valuable”). Recipes to make ravioli dough and filling as well as accompanying meatballs and sauces complete the text. Manganiello has certainly chosen a more enjoyable, indeed mouth-watering, product for his business discussion than those classic— and boring—widgets. He sprinkles a bit too many “Ravioli Rules” callout boxes throughout this narrative, however, which serves to interrupt the flow of the grandfathers’ saga. The author also introduces an array of less-than-memorable secondary characters the two men hire or otherwise interact with. Still, the women’s acronym becomes a delightful, succinct wrap-up for this pleasingly folksy, intergenerational tale, with the included recipes an especially tasty takeaway.
A charming use of pasta creation as a learning metaphor for managers.