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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Roots Grow Deep - The Story of Rodale. A Book Review

“We’re not publishing; we’re trying to make the world a better place, a healthier place.”
Ardie Rodale, Chief Inspiration Officer of 60-year old publishing company, Rodale, 2007.

Our Roots Grow Deep, The Story of Rodale is yet another book in my repertoire of readings that have inspired me, motivated me, and has provided focus I always crave to continue living the healthiest lifestyle I can. Rodale was my original inspiration for gardening (Organic Gardening magazine in the early 90’s), and when I took on bicycling and outdoor fitness in the early 2000’s, little did I know that Rodale’s other mission is health and fitness. Their mission is my mission – organic gardening (their roots, my roots) and health and fitness (bicycling, running, hiking, swimming, etc). I’m in awe. (For those of you who hadn't realized it, I have another blog that focuses on my fitness life -- Chilibloggin. You'll love the blog header picture that "connects" organic gardening with biking! )

The book spans the years of the life of the founder, J.I. Rodale to the present day 3rd Generation family-owned business. From the 1930’s, to 2008, the company saw numerous transitions, but always survived and grew. The company never left its “roots” of founder J.I. Rodale – organic gardening and healthy living. Even today, and moving forward, management continually focuses on that mission.

In its seventh decade, and under its third generation of family leadership, Rodale is neither complacent nor comfortable with power. Despite all the success and growth, the company has never succumbed to a sense of entitlement. An in the millions of magazine and books that it publishes every year, the exuberance and creative spirit of J.I. Rodale, the determination and humility of Bob Rodale, the spirit and strength of Ardie Rodale - and the promise of a birth future shine through. As Maria Rodale put it: “Our goal is to reach as man people as possible with out message and to change the world for the better.”

Being the sap I am, I cried twice reading this book – you become part of the family flipping through the pages, and you felt their pain when both J.I. Rodale and his son, Bob Rodale died suddenly. The book leaves no stone unturned – it talks about the publishing business and their entire family in the business throughout the years. The parents, the children (one of them died of AIDS), the grandchildren, where they lived, how they lived, where they went to school and college – its all in the book, written with a passion for living. The book itself is an impressive coffee table-style book that your guests will enjoy paging through while relaxing. There are many, many pictures and the bottom of each page provides interesting historical events throughout the years – all relating to significant accomplishments by Rodale at the that moment in time. My passion is Rodale’s passion – organic gardening and health and fitness. After reading this book, I feel like I should be working for Rodale. Very inspiring, indeed.

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