Have you heard the old saying, “readers are leaders?” We believe it to be true. While you likely don’t have time to sit and read books for hours on end. You likely spend a substantial amount of time a cab, whether that’s of a pickup or piece of farm equipment. This year, try using an app like Audible to listen to books on the go.
Below are five books, Top Producer columnists think will start your year off right.
The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully by Aaron Carroll
Farmers often rush into food arguments informationally underequipped. It would help if we had some argument other than “if I grow it, it must be OK”. Dr. Aaron Carroll, an Indiana University professor of pediatrics, prolific blogger (The Incidental Economist), tweeter, and columnist, lends us a big hand with this surprisingly readable, but scientifically rigorous overview. From sugar to fat to GMOs and more, Carroll doesn’t just cite the latest headline, but painstakingly summarizes and evaluates the data currently available. The results are even better than a full-throated endorsement of what we produce (which would be dismissed immediately). In one food fight after another, he patiently demonstrates good, albeit unexciting, scientific methods can allay unwarranted fears and restore much of the joy of eating. Indeed, it is frequent examples from his own family and diet that remind us how eating used to be more fun. For farmers, he offers helpful information we can use not so much to shut down criticism, but respond calmly and authoritatively. One caveat: this even-handed look at food may not thrill dairy producers, but his advice is sound. – Submitted by John Phipps
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
This is not a business book, but an eye opening read. It follows the author's life journey from myriad entrenched troubles of life in poor working class Appalachia to Yale Law School. Recognizing cultural and familial patterns/histories and summoning the courage and strength to chart new paths forward. Along the way the author provides a very intimate, personal look into the troubles and hardships facing America's working class poor dealing with ever quickening pace of gut wrenching change. Get moving and changing or get left behind. Brutal yet simple. Seeing through another's eyes I think is something we all sorely need right now in this world of our own like-minded bubbles we flock to. This book is about change and understanding why change is SO hard. – Submitted by Greg Peterson, Machinery Pete
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
You need to make sure you create a vision for your business and this book can help you do that. The model for creating a vision for your business described in the book revolves around six primary points your business needs to focus on: vision, data, process, people, issues, and traction. “Without vision you have no traction for your business,” Wickman says. The cool thing about this book is that it provides the tools you need to self-implement the model. There are some consulting firms that can do that for you, but you can do it yourself just by using the book. It’s one of the most powerful books I’ve read in business, and is one of those books you could read almost every year and get a fresh perspective on your business. – Submitted by Chris Barron, AgView Solutions
Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth
I like this book for a variety of reasons. The idea behind the book centers on the topic of grit. The author created her own scale for grit and you can use a short quiz in the book to see where you fall on the scale. To Angela Duckworth, a researcher, grit is about tenacity and the ability of a person to reach a goal over a long period of time, despite the challenges, adversity or external factors. Being successful is not just about diligence, it’s about facing problems and coming up with continual solutions to solve them. Most farmers are still looking at commodity prices that may not meet their budget needs, so figuring out where to find margin definitely takes grit. In addition this book is a great tool for older generations to help younger generations coming into the business understand what it really takes to stick to it. Additionally, the author discusses how talent is not an indicator for success and that business owners need to hire talented people, but also need to hold them accountable and not dismiss poor performance or bad behavior because they are talented. Instead managers should evaluate employees based on determination and work ethic in addition to talent. – Submitted by Sarah Beth Aubrey, The CEO Coach
Get more business insight from Barron and Aubrey at the 2018 Top Producer Seminar!
Attend the 2018 Top Producer Seminar
When: Jan. 23–26
Where: Hilton Chicago Hotel Downtown 720 S. Michigan Ave.
What: Welcome reception on Tuesday, Jan. 23 with Trust In Food™ Symposium attendees; business education and Top Producer of the Year banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 24; “U.S. Farm Report” taping and business education with lunch keynote on Thursday, Jan. 25; and sponsor breakfast followed by two mainstage presentations on weather and the global ag economy on Friday, Jan. 26.
To register or for additional information about this year’s conference, visit TopProducerSeminar.com.
Thanks to our 2018 Top Producer Seminar Sponsors!
Premier Sponsors: Agrium (ESN), BASF, Bayer, Beck’s Hybrids, Case IH, Channel, Dow AgroSciences, John Deere, KCOE ISOM, DuPont Pioneer, Top Con, Top Third Ag Marketing, Valent
Co-Sponsors: CliftonLarsonAllen, CropZilla, Farmers Business Network, Farmers Edge, Rabo AgriFinance
Supporting Sponsors: Advance Trading, AgYield, BMO Harris, Farm Credit, Roach Ag, Richiger, Transition Point Business Advisors