Book Endorsements

what our clients say

Book Endorsements

I first met Steve eight years ago at one of my executive events in Atlanta. He became a member of my inner circle and I coached and mentored him personally over the next year.

At dinner during that first event, I challenged him to write a set of 5 rules he could teach and coach from, and he did just that. Those 5 foundational behavior rules he follows, his teams follow, and his family has followed over these last eight years is legacy building at its best. Now to see it come to life in his first book is thrilling to me. As I always say, leadership is influence, and he’s used his influence to lead thousands of team members in the grocery companies he’s led across the country since then. I know he’s sharing several things in this book we teach at the John Maxwell companies, and I’m especially happy he shares a top leadership lesson my father taught me: “walk slowly through the crowds.” I encourage you to “Walk slowly through the chapters of this book.” Its pages are filled with common sense,  everyday leadership lessons that can truly change your world and your own inner circle.

Dr. John C. Maxwell, New York Times Best Selling Author, over 35 million books sold in fifty languages.

Looking to simplify leadership and life? Look no further.

Drawing from 45 years of leadership experience, Steve Black shares five essential rules that have proven effective in leading thousands of employees and teams across the United States. But the wisdom of these rules extends beyond the workplace; Steve and his wife have applied them to strengthen family bonds and cultivate generational leadership.

These game-changing rules are simple, doable, and designed to produce real results.

Whether you’re a leader striving to create a thriving organizational culture or a parent looking to foster strong family connections, “The 5 Rules” offers actionable insights to pave the way for a cultural reset. A must read…thanks for sharing your valuable insights with us, Stephen D. Black!

Kristin Popp, Executive Vice President, Woodman’s Food Markets

After hearing Steve Black present to a group of independent grocers earlier this year, the Clark’s Market leadership team was eager to share The 5 Rules with its entire store director team.

Store directors are a stoic group of people who don’t always eagerly and outwardly appreciate leadership training and an assignment to read a book, but it has been so rewarding to get emails from our directors talking about how lessons and principles from the book are being applied at the store level. Culture is changing. Directors are paying attention to the details that make the difference in protecting our brand. We look forward to what our company looks and feels like a year from now, but we know we are on the cusp of great things. Thank you, Steve, for distilling the hard stuff into simple rules that we can live by.

Samantha Johnston, Director of Marketing, Clark’s Market

The 5 Rules are a simple breakdown for success in a complicated world.

Living out these principles in our family has been a game changer! Built on a lifetime of experience, I’m proud to say my dad has created a living legacy for his family – something to pass down for generations. Simple, yet extremely challenging at times, these 5 rules help me become a better husband, father, son, and friend. Personal growth is a journey – and whether at home or in a professional environment, one can make it ‘A Brighter Day’ for those around you by living out these 5 rules. I challenge you to take an introspective look as you make the 5 Rules part of your daily life!

Jared S. Black, Vice President, Solution Sales, Truno Retail Technology Solutions

When my dad introduced his 5 rules to me halfway through my career, I loved the concept for all the intangibles that we seek in our business. More importantly, it gave a measurement for which we could lead, coach, and guide from.

I have implemented these rules to some of the most successful teams. Not only have they impacted our business to help achieve results not seen before, but yielded the highest teammate satisfaction along with growth that was exceptionally high for all who were involved. The rules, as successful as they have been for my business, are as successfully transferable to your personal life. Two words describe it perfectly…GAME CHANGER!

Travis D. Black, General Manager, Shottenkirk Chevrolet Waukee, IA

Clear, concise and compelling! In The 5 Rules, Steve Black adeptly describes and illustrates key components of a healthy culture.

Utilizing these insights, any organization can effectively shape team dynamics that will produce an environment in which people can flourish, elevating both engagement and productivity.

Dr. Randy Ross, Best Selling Author, Founder & CEO of Remarkable!

This book is very easy reading and relatable. The lessons taught through the eyes of Steve’s experience, whether through his family, mentors, or work experience, make it real.

This book challenges the reader to think, apply and learn! The 5 Rules are the foundation of building relationships and a healthy culture. Our company is built on these foundations!

We launched the 5 Rules while I was in the New Orleans market and it’s still going strong today by uniting the teams and giving everyone a common language of expected behaviors to keep the culture rock solid.

Susanne Hall, SVP & Chief Commercial Officer, Coke United

Steve has a dynamic leadership style, and his influence and mentorship have proved invaluable to me both professionally and personally.

On my first day joining Steve’s team, I received a “5 Rules” bracelet, and I still wear it to this day…years and several companies removed later. The 5 rules were THAT meaningful to me then and now. The 5 Rules are simple yet profound…so sit back, curl up, and dive into this book.  I’m confident that you’ll quickly realize how the 5 Rules can help energize not only yourself but your team as well.

Mr. Wade Yenny, Grocery Executive, Podcast Host, former Director of Non-Foods at Rouses Markets

One of the most fundamental elements of leadership is establishing a culture of success within an organization, which can only be accomplished once team members fully understand their leader's performance and behavioral expectations.

In his book, The 5 Rules, Steve Black provides leaders with a practical framework to assist them in setting and communicating those expectations. As a bit of “Lagniappe,” he also gives some excellent leadership advice: “Always, always, always assume the mic is hot.”

Ray Peters, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Instructor of Leadership and Former MBA Director, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA

I found The 5 Rules by Steve Black to be a great read. It’s a highly distilled lifetime of practical life lessons that will help you become the leader that teammates want to work for and follow, the nurturing parent and spouse your family needs, and the businessperson others wish to do business with, all in a quick read.

I’ve known and admired Steve as a friend and a customer for many years. He is the kind of guy that you can trust because he is clear, consistent, and rock-solid in his convictions. In his book, you’ll read the heartwarming and authentic stories of his life’s interactions and experiences with family, friends, coworkers, bosses, and teammates, which he cleverly transformed into an easily transferrable and repeatable “five rules” approach toward setting and fulfilling mutual expectations. These lessons and principles can and will positively impact leaders and future leaders at any stage and, simply put, help you become a better person. I highly recommend the book!

David Smith, President & CEO – Associated Wholesale Grocers

Steve Black’s 5 Rules are essential to creating the right culture in the workplace and at home, something that is so important today.

His delivery and storytelling are easy to relate to, and his message is truly impactful and should be mandatory reading for leaders everywhere!

Greg Ferrara, President & CEO of the National Grocers Association

Steve is an accomplished leader.

In The 5 Rules he shares the principles that have been the key to his leadership success. Take to heart the wisdom in this book and you’ll become a more effective leader.

David Hoyt, Principal Consultant at The Table Group, a Patrick Lencioni Company

The rules and principles found in this book can prove transformative for employees, companies, families, fathers, mothers, or individuals.

Steve skillfully weaves his faith, family, and work experiences into supporting explanations of the principles found in each chapter and each of the life lessons. His book is not written from the perspective of high-minded, professorial academia; to the contrary, it is written from the perspective of “been there, done that.” Steve’s character and his genuine, sincere demeanor shines through as you progress through his book.

Mark Griffin, President & COO, B&R Foods

I’ve known Steve for over 15 years as a colleague, a customer, a mentor, and most importantly as a friend. Steve and I have very similar backgrounds personally and professionally.

Over the years I’ve watched Steve lead and inspire so many people with a true passion for their success. Steve builds relationships, always helping others see strengths they may not have seen in themselves. In Steve’s book The Five Rules, you will see a simple approach to improving your leadership and relationship skills at work, at home, and in your community. Steve understands that we are time starved and leadership hungry and he shares stories and tips in a way that keeps you motivated to keep reading. “The 5 Rules” can and will make a difference when you put them to work. Enjoy the journey.

Jeff Pedersen, President and CEO, Retailer Owned Food Distributors and Associates “ROFDA”

Steve Black brings more than 45 years of leadership experience to life in this very readable guide to culture transformation.

His detailed recollections of influencers throughout his journey coupled with compelling examples of applying “The 5 Rules” make this book very difficult to put down. This how-to narrative is a must read for anyone in a leadership role whether in their family, department, or corporation. I love this book for its easily applicable and valuable lessons, and I’ve already used many of them. This will be continuous reading for my personal growth trajectory and a “company manual” for any organization I lead.

Stephanie Reid, President & Publisher, Shelby Publishing, Inc.

Steve’s 5 rules are proof that there is absolute “Brilliance in the Basics” if you follow these basics rules in business and in life.

A great reminder that powerful results are driven by sticking to basic commitments day after day. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is committed to improving their company culture as well as personal and professional relationships.

Frank Gaspari, CEO , Flex Technology Group

From his humble beginnings at a small-town grocery store in western Oklahoma to leading teams of thousands across multiple states, Steve Black’s 45-year path to growth is absolutely inspiring.

While most leadership books only offer lessons in your professional and business career, these are family and life skills that are sure to raise your leadership lid in every aspect of daily life. If you want to make today a brighter day, The 5 Rules should be on your must-read list.

Joe Boudreaux, CEO, The Boudreaux Group, Keller Williams Realty

Steve Black unpacks leadership in the most practical, considerate way I have come across in years.

This is more than ideas. This is boots on the ground! Every person can benefit from this book…from the CEO of a large corporation to the manager of a local small business, to the parent raising kids! There are books I recommend and then there are books I give away…this is the latter!

Rev. Keith Wiginton II, Pastor, Claremore Oklahoma First Baptist

Great and practical advice for any part of your life.

The section on being positive is spot on. A negative person will never lead or create a team.

Mike Scholtman, CFO Kroger, retired

The lines that separate our home from work have been eroding from a COVID hangover, remote work adoption, the historic rise of the gig economy, and systemic labor market tightening.

Steve Black’s framework for The 5 Rules is disarmingly simple and easy to understand, yet applicable across all professional and personal aspects of your life.

Harold Callais II, Managing Partner, Callais Capital

Everyone who reads this book can’t help but self-reflect on how they live their life and walk away committed to be a better version of themselves.

Steve Black, through the life lessons and experiences he humbly and openly shares, brings to life just how simply we can bring out the best in ourselves and others through his 5 Rules. It is a quick and easy read for anyone looking to become a better leader in all aspects of their life. Nothing beats learning good coaching and leadership skills than from a truly great and respected coach and leader.

Scott Welman, Principal, The Food Partners, LLC

The 5 Rules provides a simple and powerful plan to push your team to new heights.

Once you start reading it, you will not want to put it down. This book is a must read for any leader.

Mike Schumacher, VP/Division Manager, AWG Gulf Coast Division

The 5 Rules is for individuals and organizations seeking to strengthen the way they manage and respond to personal and professional challenges.

It’s battle tested, written by a caring and accomplished business executive with 45 years of know-how with demonstrable success in one of the most challenging industries in the world.

Christopher Greco, President and CEO, Storewise

Steve Black’s 5 Rules will illuminate the path for how to live with excellence, lead teams with integrity, and to build a rock-solid foundation based on healthy relationships and a thriving team culture.

A leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way, Steve will help you bring joy and brighter days back to your life’s work!

Traci Morrow, Relationship Expert for Maxwell Leadership

The 5 Rules are so simple, yet so relevant to our world today, that my team and I live by them in our day-to-day activities.

Surprisingly, my family also adopted them in our daily lives!

J. J. Cantrell, President, UNFI

I have found that promoting the 5 rules has changed the dynamic in the classroom and on the field.

Students are encouraged to simply do their jobs, not cause issues, and represent our school well. These ideas have led students to “buy in” to the school community and have encouraged them to always do their best. In the classroom and on the field, our students are Bulldogs!

Jonathan Rippetoe, 8th Grade Science Teacher

Since the implementation of the 5 rules in school, I have noticed an improvement in overall school performance and student behavior.

It is great to have a clear and concise series of rules that students can follow and relate to. There is virtually no ambiguity to these statements, and I find that students just “get it”.

Shane Willis, 8th Grade Science Teacher

The 5 Rules of success have really helped our school and football team.

The first season our school used the 5 rules, we were 2- 4. The following season I implemented these rules on the team. The boys were held accountable. We finished the season 5- 2. I have continued to use these rules on the team. We have accomplished 3 straight undefeated seasons and won the district championship. I believe the rules have helped us accomplish these feats.

Ricky Darcey, Quest Teacher, HJH Head Football Coach

We average between 680 and 720 students in grades 7 and 8.

For what it is worth, we also have a very high rate of teacher retention. I think the 5 rules contributed to that by settling the campus and attracting like-minded people. They are versatile and very easy to communicate and apply.

Jason Corbin, Houma Junior High Principal, Houma, Louisiana

This is a must read for anyone and everyone you care about! It is so much more than a culture or leadership guide. It is a "how to live your best life" guide.

It is a quick and easy read that is so easily relatable to everyday life. I have personally witnessed how Steve has transformed organizations and their employees. This book and his leadership engagement for your team is, simply put, the best investment you can make for your company, your employees, and yourself. Enjoy!

Jena Sowers, Chief Executive Officer, ARG Alliance Group

These principles are pivotal in fostering accountability, transparency, and success in any endeavor

A big thanks to Stephen D. Black for his autographed book, The 5 Rules. The insights shared, particularly the ‘Do Your Job’ and ‘No Surprises’ rules, deeply resonated with me. These principles are pivotal in fostering accountability, transparency, and success in any endeavor.

Prabash Coswatte, Chief Operating Officer, Heritage Grocers Group

Interested in implementing The 5 Rules in your school?