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Book Jacket

160 pages
Jul 2007
Thomas Nelson

The Janitor: How an Unexpected Friendship Transformed a CEO and His Company

by Todd Hopkins & Ray Hilbert

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


There is nothing overly cerebral or erudite about The Janitor by Todd Hopkins and Ray Hilbert, but for anyone who feels that the pace of the 21st century is a bit "much," this small pocket-sized 142-page novella may prove to be comforting. Admittedly, the story gets outright corny at times, and the writing is often predictable in plot and stilted in style. For example, the authors repeatedly say, "Roger smiled,” “Roger grinned,” “Roger laughed,” “Roger chuckled,” “Bob smiled,” “Bob grinned,” “Bob laughed,” etc. Nevertheless, the Christian theology presented herein is accurate, the lessons are helpful, and the reading is easy and uncomplicated.

We open with a focus on Roger, a wealthy director of a successful business and a husband with two children. Roger is working 15 hours a day yet still cannot keep pace. His children never see him, his wife is contemplating a divorce, his best employees are quitting on him because his company is a pressure-cooker working environment, and his main customer has just threatened to do business elsewhere. It is at this juncture in his chaotic life that Roger meets an elderly janitor named Bob.

Although Bob is employed as the night shift custodian at Roger's company, he is actually a retired, highly successful salesman and manager. He only does the custodial work because he wants to stay active and productive, and because his home is too lonely to go to at night now that his beloved wife Alice is dead. Bob offers to spend a couple of months mentoring Roger on how to get his life and Christian testimony back on track. They begin meeting every Monday for a cup of green tea and a continuing discussion about the six points Bob learned from his late wife.

The tips are not profound on the surface but they have an immediate impact on Roger. He learns to take some time for himself, to make his daughters and wife a priority, and not to be coerced by clients. He also learns to rely on God, as well as to "pass it on" in regard to sharing the information from Bob with a neighbor and a customer. It is all told in story form and it progresses nicely until Bob has a major setback with his diabetes and is hospitalized. Roger worries that if Bob dies, he may not be able to carry forward with his progress. It hinges on his level of spiritual growth.

This book can be read in a couple of sittings. It isn't high brow, but it is thought-provoking. – Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Do you ever find yourself losing sight of the important things in life-work and stress can become overwhelming at times. Such is the situation where CEO Roger Kimbrough finds himself in this business parable.

The Janitor was inspired by Todd Hopkins's personal experiences of interviewing overqualified retired businessmen for evening shift janitorial positions. Todd's applicants consistently would say they simply needed something to do. In this fable, janitor Bob Tidwell helps Roger to reevaluate how he is leading his business and his life. Bob's counsel is based upon six principles that Todd and coauthor Ray Hilbert discovered have the most impact on succeeding in business while holding together a personal life. Their insightful advice is delivered in a real-to-life story that inspires you to find greater fulfillment in your life.

Like so many CEOs in the corner office, still working when the janitor arrives to do the nightly cleaning, Roger is having a difficult and stressful evening when he spills his guts to the older janitor. As their relationship develops, Bob, a retired businessman, promises help that will turn Roger's business and personal life around. The story follows not only their weekly meetings at the office but also the application of each principle:

  • Recharge vs. Discharge
  • View Family as a Blessing, Not a Responsibility
  • Pray, Don't Pout
  • Pass It Around
  • Don't Spend, Invest!
  • Leave a Legacy

The Janitor's message will capture your mind and heart; stimulate meaningful, lasting life-changes; and show you how to influence your family, neighbors, and coworkers while experiencing business and life to the fullest.