What’s on Chad’s Book Reading List?
by Chad Steiner
In graduate school my first semester, my plant pathology professor (Dr. Tim Murray) quoted Sir Winston Churchill – “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This resonated with me because I love history and reading about it. It was also applicable during the class as we learned about the history of how plant diseases evolved and were discovered. But, that’s not the point of this blog post. As we approach winter and if you’re in the Northern latitudes – the nights are much longer, providing the potential for more reading time. So I thought it would be fun to share what books I’m reading, have read or ones that are on deck. I love to read. And I have to admit – I pretty much only read non-fiction. I read 3-4 books at a time – plus – trade magazines. I adopted Ryan Holidays (amazing author, marketer & leader) philosophy about books: If there’s a book I’m interested in reading and I’m able, I buy it. I’m filled up by the “growth” books can provide – I hope there’s something in here you might find helpful. And please share if you’ve got great book recommendations. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a farm library or book exchange on the farm someday.
I’m just going to list a handful of books. Some I’m currently reading, some I would rate high on the favorite list. And, if you want an epic list delivered monthly – sign up for Ryan Holidays reading list here.
I’ll start with trade magazines:
ACRES Magazine – a foundational magazine on Regenerative Agriculture. Inexpensive to sign up for but has brought so many new “to me” ideas about farming. I don’t know if I’ve agreed with 100% of the editorial pieces, but there’s no way that can overshadow the content being consistently brought forth. It’s the first place I heard about a “roller crimper” for example.
Wine Business Monthly – if you’re in the wine business or wanting to learn more about the wine business, this is a great publication. They bring forth consistently solid content – whether it be winery traffic or vineyard practices.
Good Fruit Grower – “the” magazine for anyone in the tree fruit business. This magazine is distributed to fruit growers all around the world. Great for industry trends, technology spotlights, new varieties, production tips and the list goes on. And in the winter they send you more articles figuring that’s the time to load up on information.
Wine Spectator – when I worked at Ste. Michelle in 2001 I remember conversations debating the potential bias of Spectator’s reviews. Here’s my thoughts… this is one of the industry’s premier places to see trends and learn about wines they’re rating. If you look at the shear number of wines they review annually globally its pretty intense. They recently published their “Top 100” list for 2023. A real fun one to check out.
Wine Enthusiast – a newer publication to my reading list. But, like the Wine Spectator – a great way to keep up with industry trends and see great wines their checking out. Have really enjoyed having this come each month.
Let’s move on to books. I’m going to start with what I’m reading now.
How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera: I’ve been listening to this on Audible and reading it. Nicole’s work is super modern and really holistic – mind and body. After years of not getting results with clients sticking with just traditional psychology, she started branching out to help folks find additional tools like Yoga or meditation. This book also brings in foundational inner child work and has worksheets at the end of chapters. Jeana and I have attended many of Tony Robbins seminars and I feel like his approach and hers have a lot of cross over. Nicole seems to be on a role with a number of books.
Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown: all I can say is “Wow”. I had a hard time putting this book down. If you’ve seen the movie Kiss the Ground, Gabe’s farm is in it. The book shares their story and then tons of lessons he’s learned on farming regeneratively. Really inspirational read on farming.
Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke. We listened to about half of this on audible on a car ride as a family. Already some great lessons and things we’ve had ideas on implementing. Like amping up our Friday Night Pizza Nights as a family. Something we were already doing but have some ideas on how to make it either include more family or be more fun. The book gets into how our families have been broken apart as families move around in our country and are no longer the support network or legacy builders they used to be.
A Bold Return to Giving a Damn by Will Harris. Six generations on their farm in Georgia. Will passionately discusses their journey to regenerative farming. He was also a recent guest on the Joe Rogan Experience. I’m just in the beginning of this book but am excited to learn from Will. There is a massive opportunity for us to improve the nutrition content of our food.
Here are a few books I’ve read recently and really enjoyed.
Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm. Carston and I read this together last winter. A super fun story of adventure in the Bitterroot Mountains. Love this book.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Absolutely motivating read. Viktor shares his experience of being in a concentration camp and his life work following. Foundational read.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clauson. Jim Rohn said read this, so I did. One of the stories of the persons opportunity to buy a flock of sheep during the night at the city gates really stuck with me. I.e. sometimes opportunity falls in your lap, don’t second guess it and be sure to trust it “could be” really positive.
The Great Blue Hills of God by Kreiss Beall. Sent to me by a friend. Jeana and I love The Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and hope to visit someday. We’ve had two groups of friends visit. This book is inspirational and also sad. What an amazing place Kreiss and her family created. Blackberry also has one of the largest wine cellars in the United States.
The Path by Tony Robbins and Peter Mallouk. Kind of a culmination of a lot of Tony’s work. Lessons on life, relationships, finances… great read.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries, David Drummand, et al. These laws have been really helpful. Super easy reference book.
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday. I’ve listened to this book on Audible like 7 times. I actually emailed Ryan 5 years ago and asked him a question. He replied and told me to read this book. I’m so glad he did.
Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. A kind friend in our tasting room shared this book with me. Read it and give it to others. A book about service and adding value. This book really had an impact on me.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor by Donald J. Robertson. Marcus Aurelius was one of our worlds greatest leaders. If you’ve watched the Gladiator movie – he’s the older white haired father who passes away at the beginning… but, the book is about his life and things he went through as the Emperor of Rome. His Meditation’s are an amazing work of history that helps fuel this book. I learned a lot. His discipline and patience were amazing.
The Oxford Companion to Wine, 5th Edition by Julia Harding and Jancis Robinson with Tara Q Thomas. Wow. This book is constantly being pulled out. Its not one to read but definitely one to reference. Jancis Robinson has to be the predominant female leader on wine in the world. Love her work and find this book to constantly be helpful.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this list. There’s lots of great books on my future reading list. Two that I’m going to prioritize this winter are The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry and Setting the Table by Danny Meyer.
Bonus books. Check the three out in this picture. I use the Bittman Bread Book constantly for making bread. The other two were recommendations from the Bread Lab. Ken’s book helped me learn a bit more about the yeast in Sourdough.
Have a great weekend everyone. And have an amazing Thanksgiving! We hope you are able to enjoy time with friends and family!