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Business advice from an Oregon wine winery pioneer

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

SUSAN SOKOL BLOSSER spent decades building her winery, battling the naysayers, forging a sustainable ethic and helping birth Oregon’s wine industry. When she retired this past year, handing over the operation to her children, she set about capturing what she learned since she first planted vines in 1971 and launched Sokol Blosser Winery in Dundee.

Sokol Blosser has distilled what she’s learned into a self-published book, titled Gracious & Ruthless: Surprising Strategies for Business Success, that’s aimed at helping small business owners by giving them the benefit of her hard fought, and hard won, wisdom.

“It’s small business people that create the most jobs,” she says. “We are the heroes of the economy.”

She wants all the thousands of harried, overworked, overwhelmed owners to know that they can realize their dream, follow their values and achieve success. “I want readers to feel relief,” she says. “That they can be who they are and run their business, and it’s OK.”

Getting to that place took years for Sokol Blosser, and learning how to be both gracious and ruthless — how to say no compassionately — was key, along with staying focused on your vision and making profitability your vehicle, not your destination.

“You don’t have to be the classic cutthroat businessperson to be successful. You need just a bit of that,” she says. It needs to be leavened with graciousness to create balance — and to be effective. She wanted Gracious & Ruthless to be a different kind of business book: personal, short, values-oriented, and not focused on how to make money. “A lot of books tell you how to make a million. That’s not what it is about to me.”

She’s out of the day-to-day business, but not retired. She’s on the lecture circuit and is ready to start her next book. It, too, is on a topic that is personal, but one she feels will be very relevant to family businesses and baby boomers. The title? Letting Go.


(Gracious & Ruthless is available at Sokol Blosser Winery or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . )


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