Irrational Persistence by Dave Zilko

poignant. passionate. a truly uplifting tale of genuine entrepreneurship

What's it like to take a small salsa company, founded in the back of a bankrupt restaurant just outside Detroit, and grow it into the #1 brand in the country? And why would anyone producing 75 tons of fresh salsa a day decide to do so virtually by hand in five-gallon buckets? Then what's it like to sell it to a Fortune 500 company for almost a quarter of a billion dollars? Irrational Persistence is Dave Zilko's openly personal and informative account of the rags-to-riches entrepreneurial journey he took, and the lessons he learned along the way.

What They're Saying About "Irrational Persistence"

An only in America story of Entrepreneurship and persistence


"Irrational Persistence is a true “Made in America” story, and should be an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere. At a time when news of the business world often focuses on impersonal megaconglomerates behaving badly, the incredible history of Garden Fresh Gourmet shows us that real, long-term success is achieved not by ignoring time-honored values of hard work, honesty, and commitment to excellence, but rather by embracing them. A team with the passion to grow a company the right way did just that, focusing on creating a quality product, establishing unique customer relationships, working to help their community and, most of all, taking no short cuts. In the end it is a story that makes even the most cynical of us proud; proud that this kind of success can and still does happen in America."

Chris Rizik
CEO, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund

“The naysayers who believe that some sacrificing of quality is essential to scaling up a national and international brand need to take heed.  The fresh and natural food revolution is real, and the Garden Fresh founders created products and a business model through relentless customer service, innovation, and an unshakable trust that consumers would value the difference.”

Richard Baird
Senior Advisor and Transformation Leader
Office of Governor Rick Snyder, State of Michigan

“An incredible look inside the mind of an entrepreneur.  Was it luck that brought a bankrupt startup to a quarter billion dollar business, or was it a mindset that was immune to the prospect of failure?  If you have ever wondered what drives an entrepreneur to succeed when others turn back, this book is a must read.”

Jim Mahoney
Partner, Huron Capital

"Irrational Persistence is a real-world, real-time story of the American dream.  Elegantly written with humor and humility, Zilko delivers the definitive guidebook on how to build something great, reach the next level, and make a meaningful difference.  It shows how grit, tenacity, and resilience can level the playing field, making extraordinary successful within the grasp of us all.  This heart-warming and inspiring story is a must-read for anyone looking to seize their full potential."

Josh Linkner
NY Times bestselling author, Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention
Founding Partner, Detroit Venture Partners