Beating the Midas Curse
While our expertise in food and nutrition gets us into our great jobs, the subject matter in My Favorite Books offers key points in getting further in our careers personally and, as a result, propelling our industry further. My goal is not to refer you to more books about great topics in food and nutrition, but to expose you to a handful of my favorites on leadership, innovation, decision making, and strategy.
I hope you enjoy these and get some words of wisdom from the great thought leaders in leadership of our time. If you have thoughts on these books or particular pieces that are meaningful to you, please share. I look forward to your feedback.
President, Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Beating the Midas Curse
By Perry L. Cochell and Rodney C. Zeeb, with Mark Johnson
Heritage Institute Press, Inc. (2005)
I wish you and your families a Happy Holiday season. I hope you all find time to relax, enjoy, and be thankful for the many people and things that really matter in your lives.
It’s difficult to believe that the year 2016 is right around the corner. Many of you may be thinking about, and getting your families and clients to consider, New Year’s resolutions. Two years ago, I clearly identified my 2014 resolution. I was not going to let that year get away without seeking legal advice and writing a will. I am happy and confident to report that I accomplished this goal. I am now the proud owner of a comprehensive estate plan that leaves no doubt or question as to what I want in terms of health care directives and asset distribution.
But, is that all I really want to leave? Or is there something more? Much more……
While I am nowhere near what our culture would define as wealthy, I did build what I do have and what I will eventually leave by following some well-defined guiding principles I use to make big and small personal and professional decisions. These, in addition to any monetary valuables I’ve earned and acquired, are the larger and more sustainable assets I leave to my children….and to their children.
Just as I do not want to be defined today by material possessions I own, bank accounts I manage, or the job title I hold, I really don’t want to be remembered by these attributes. Take a minute, prior to checking out this book, to read the story of King Midas. Perhaps you have a copy on your children’s book shelf. Midas was so happy when he received a special gift……the ability to turn everything he touched into gold. However, this happiness was severely dampened when his greed almost cost him his beloved daughter.
Cochell and Zeeb advise us not to limit estate planning to the traditional task of distributing assets, but to distinctly pass down our values to the next generations. They say “if your priorities during life are your family and your values, you should maintain those priorities with death (estate) planning” (Cochell, Zeeb, 2005, page 8). They teach and advise on estate planning with focus on both values and valuables. This may make sense to many of us, but traditional estate planning doesn’t address in this manner.
Why is this book so important right now?
- Growth in material wealth has increased substantially in the last 100 years.
- We are a society, crippled by “affluenza”, a condition where we admire the rich.
- It raises questions for you and your loved ones to consider, such as:
- Are you passing leadership and principles on to the next generation?
- Will your children/grandchildren know what you stood for? What was important to you?
This book is full of examples and stories of people who have used money to influence others and define themselves, only to be left disappointed and disheartened. The authors offer conversation provoking questions to help you confirm what you will one day leave behind. We are part of an industry of passionate, nurturing and serving professionals. Will that be what your loved ones remember?