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Short Synopsis

Your 7-step prescription for creating a compassionately competitive work culture

For centuries, leaders have been operating within a “control and compete” mindset. But the times are changing. More and more, at the helm of successful companies, you’ll find a different sort of leader. Collaborators, not controllers, they are “square apples,” bold men and women who dare to create success by reshaping the workplace in unexpected ways. In Apples Are Square, innovation consultants and celebrated authors Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski and Thomas Kuczmarski share with you the secrets of how to become a square apple in your organization.

To develop their groundbreaking strategy for success, the authors interviewed dozens of leadership pioneers, including Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist; Mary Ellen Weber, former NASA astronaut; and NFL star Chris Zorich, whose personal story inspired the title of this book. With the tools in Apples Are Square, you’ll be able to take any bruised environment and reshape it into a positive force.

As the authors take you through their seven-step process for rejuvenating your workplace, you’ll learn how to:

  • Master the six essential qualities of new leadership
  • Communicate in innovative ways that inspire people to serve others
  • Build strong relationships for a sense of community in your company
  • Create loyalty and retain employees
  • Encourage personal risk-taking, creativity, and flexibility
  • And much more

Reshaping a bad apple is not easy, but in the end you will hold in your hand the fruits of a more dynamic, inclusive, and collaborative organization.

Susan Smith Kuczmarski, Ed.D., and Thomas D. Kuczmarski are the authors of the pioneering book Values-Based Leadership. Collaborators in every sense, they are also the co-founders of Kuczmarski & Associates, a nationally recognized new products, services, and innovation management consulting firm.


Book Description

Imagine the opportunity to talk with 25 of America’s most respected leaders—people like Henry Givray, chairman and CEO of SmithBucklin, Dean Kamen of Segway, Dipak Jain, dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, and Carol Bernick, Chairman of the Board and Director of Alberto Culver—to learn firsthand what makes them so effective in their lives and work.

That is exactly what lies at the heart of Apples Are Square: Thinking Differently About Leadership. Through these conversations, a new leadership model emerges, one that says there are effective ways to manage organizations and make profits without leaving a sense of humanity at the office door.

In a time when the news is littered with stories of fallen leaders and the organizations they destroyed, Apples Are Square is a book that focuses on success.  It offers the ideas, experience, and values of people who are leading the way to a new definition of leadership in the early 21st Century.

This new model is guided by six critical values: humility, compassion, transparency, inclusiveness, collaboration, and values-based decisiveness. It comes as no surprise then that the model for change that emerges is called “peopleship.” The “peopleship” approach cultivates multiple leaders in an organization. It strengthens individuals, enabling them to be recognized and valued. It connects employees and managers in building strong relationships. Those who embrace the “peopleship” model will learn important new ways to strengthen their organization’s culture while rebuilding and renewing faith in the workplace.

“Square apples” symbolically stand for a new way to lead and measure success. Just as former NFL star Chris Zorich’s mother took rotten apples and reshaped them into something edible and appealing, we need to take bruised work environments, cut off the bad spots, and reshape them into dynamic, inclusive, and collaborative organizations.


  • Insights gleaned from interviews with 25 respected and accomplished values-based leaders from many different work settings, including media, the arts, government, sports, education, and business
  • Interviewees include Susan Anton, Broadway star and actress; Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity; and Vincent Patton, retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard.
  • A new construct that debunks the stereotypical male archetype and changes the way organizations and individuals define and measure success
  • A new framework for leadership and approach for putting it into practice
  • A clear step-by-step formula for bringing hope back into any work setting


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Read about the Book Dr Susan Smith Kuczmarski and Tom Kuczmarski - the two authors who are defining Values-Based Leadership Meet the 25 Leaders interviewed for this book Read what other leaders and experts think about the book For Members of the Press Improve Corporate Performance Through Innovative Leadership The book that started it all eleven years ago Kuczmarski & Associates Contact members of the Apples are Square team Buy the book at Back to the Title Page