In Her Memoir, Patti Zona Attributes an Addiction to Money, Power and Success for the Collapse of Her Marriage 39869-ZONA-thumbnail-1

(Minneapolis) – Addiction is often associated with drug and alcohol abuse, but Patti Zona of Minneapolis wants people to know the addiction to money, power and success can be just as destructive.

“It’s insidious. It has an eroding effect on everyone regardless of status. When you put your entire focus on the bottom line and making money, disregarding everything else, there are going to be problems. There’s never enough money to feed the ego and addiction,” says Zona.

She says her husband’s incredible success, first at Ernst and Young then at U.S. Bank, destroyed their marriage. “He was taught to distance himself, to remove his feelings. To focus only on the bottom line and what was best for the company.”

Patti and Rick Zona, who is now on the Board of Directors for TCF Financial Corporation, divorced in 1991 after 28-years of marriage.  “As he became more and more successful, Rick changed. He had totally removed himself from his feelings. Our marriage felt more like a business than a loving relationship,” she says.

In her memoir, The Value of a Homemaker, published by Xlibris Press in 2009, Patti shares her memories of the good times and the bad. She relied heavily on the journals she had kept, both during her marriage and while going through the divorce, for much of the material in her book.

This passage she wrote in 1992 really sets the tone for the manuscript: “Never once has he wanted to work at our marriage. He has tried to destroy me emotionally and financially. Now he wants me to give him my U.S. Bank stock options and says in exchange I will be taken care of for life. I want to trust him but he has lost his honor and has no integrity or principles,” she wrote.

Patti says she naively gave up her shares, not realizing what they were worth. “Because we were married for 28 years and all of his success came during our marriage, I thought it would be okay. Turns out Rick only wanted those shares so he could use them to make even more money for himself, and for what?” she asks.

As disappointed as Patti was – and still is -- in the choices her ex-husband made, she says she is equally disappointed by the lack of protection granted by the courts and people who should have protected her.  “I really blame Rick’s inability to be there for me and his children on the incredible demands placed on him by corporate America,” she says. “It’s not right what they make people do to succeed. I hope by sharing my experience it will help other families understand the consequences of successes gone awry.  How and why to avoid the trap Rick and I fell into.”

Those who’ve read Zona’s the book say it has the potential to help a lot of people.

“Corporate America makes demands on people that forces them to do what’s best for the company, not for the family. I think Patti has done a good job of illustrating that point in her book,” said Carol Coch.

“I see the book as a passionate message.  Patti wants to warn other women about what can happen if their husbands are enticed by the corporate culture,” said Red Gallagher.

“There are greedy people out there doing things for their own good, forsaking all others. This book does a good job of calling attention to the problem. I don’t know if the book will make a dent in the situation but I admire her for trying,” said Bernie Lingren.

“I think there are a lot of people who will relate to Patti’s story,” said Karen Walker.

Zona sang with the Edina Chorale for more than 25 years and still has many friends in the group, which posted this review of her book in the Jan. 2011 newsletter: “A former Edina Chorale singer shares her intimate and personal journey… from raising a family to the ending of her long marriage, the needless courtroom drama and devastating injustices that ensued and ultimately to her triumph of the spirit. Ms. Zona explores her experiences, as well as the lessons learned, uncovering some real truths about the role of power that corporate America has in influencing the health and welfare of the very foundation of our country – our families.”

“I don’t know how many people out there are in the same situation as Patti, but if she reaches just one person with a message of hope the book will have been a success,” said Bob Gilbertson.

The Value of a Homemaker was published by Xlibris Books in 2009. It is available in both hardcover ($29) and softcover ($19) via the author’s website: or direct from the publisher at Copies are also available via

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About the Author

Patti Zona was born in Neptune, N.J. She now lives in Minneapolis. She has three children, five grandchildren and one godchild. Zona’s hobbies include painting, singing, playing tennis, writing and spending time with her family.

She is available to speak on the topics of her experience with the corporate structure, the courts and divorce Minnesota-style.

For more information, or to set up an event or interview, contact Rachel M. Anderson, RMA Publicity, 952-240-2513 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information about the book can be found at

Editor’s Note

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