I grew up in a farming community along the shores of Lake Michigan in the American Midwest. My grandparents were farmers. And although my folks didn’t farm, I spent a fair amount of time on my Grandpa V’s farm. Especially the summer of my 13th year when my Uncle Myron planted a full ACRE of vegetables for us to harvest.
So when I received a pitch to review Jay Izso’s book Lessons from the Farm: Essentials Rules for Success how could I say no? Farming communities are a dear part of my history.
Izso’s book is a collection of 20 life lessons gleaned from nearly a decade of working as a farmhand to several farmers in Nebraska. Iszo started young; his first job was cutting “pigweed” at the age of 10.
Throughout the book, Iszo, who is now a business coach and professional speaker, shares how the lessons of the land—and more importantly— the farmers with whom he worked—shaped who he is today. From nearly chopping off his toes with the machete’s first cut of pigweed, to learning the value of a boss’s forgiveness, Iszo’s life lessons are sure to strike a chord with anyone who has worked in the outdoors.
I’ve not met Jay Izso, but his personality jumps off the page and engages the reader. He’s a fan of cowboy hats and boots to this day (you’ll learn why if you read the book.) His prose is folksy and reads like a transcript from one of his speaking engagements. It’s very down-to-earth and accessible.
What type of reader will enjoy this book? I’m not sure. I’ve lived the life of a small-town farm girl, city-slicker and a suburbanite. So I could relate to the anecdotes. But there was definitely a “guys-guy” type vibe that might not appeal to some readers. For example, his life lesson #7 of “Persevering through Pain” did not resonate with me.
Lessons from the Farm is a quick read, and a good reminder of how something as simple as working outdoors with one’s hands can provide valuable life sessions, if you are willing to reflect a bit.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for the purposes of writing a review. All opinions are my own. Some of the links might be affiliate links.