What country makes the best chocolate? Most people would answer “Switzerland,” or, if they’re discerning, “Belgium” or “France.” But, how many cocoa trees grow in Zurich? Lyon? Antwerp? Shouldn’t the country known for growing the best cocoa beans be the one that makes the best chocolate? So, captivated by theories of international trade but with precious little knowledge of cocoa or chocolate, Steven Wallace set out to build the Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company in Ghana—a country renowned for its cocoa and where Wallace spent part of his youth—in a quest to produce the world’s first export-ready, single-origin chocolate bar. What followed would be the true story of an obroni—white person—from Wisconsin taking on the ultimate entrepreneurial challenge.
Written with sensitivity and devastating self-awareness, Obroni and the Chocolate Factory is Steven’s chaotic, fascinating, and bemusing journey to create a successful international business that aspired do a bit of good in the world. This book is at once a penetrating business memoir and a story about imagining globalism done right. Wallace’s picaresque journey takes him to Ghana’s residence for the head of state, to the Amsterdam offices of a secretive international cocoa conglomerate, and face-to-face with key figures in the sharp-elbowed world of global trade and geopolitics. Along the way he’ll be forced to deal with bureaucratic roadblocks, a legacy of colonialism, corporate intrigue, inscrutable international politics, a Bond-esque villain nemesis, and constant uncertainty about whether he’ll actually pull it off. This rollicking love letter to both Ghana and the world of business is a rare glimpse into the mind of an unusually literate and articulate entrepreneur.
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About Tom Parks
Tom Parks is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator who has also been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been involved in recording audiobooks and voice-overs for over thirty years and through an eclectic range of projects. In addition to performing and directing, he is also an active musician, drumming in musical theater productions in the Midwest, and is in demand as a conference speaker.