Harry’s Library

Posts regarding books that Harry is reading or has read and thinks others might enjoy or find informative.

Harry’s Humorous Toastmasters Speech – The topic was sheep.

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Harry explains the impact of sheep on a number of historical events. Many of you will be surprised by the role that the secret sheep society “The Brotherhood” has had in world events. Harry reveals that the innocuous, cute and cuddly sheep is in fact the most cunning and devious animal in the barnyard. Harry placed at the club level and went on to compete at the area level – this video is from the area contest.

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Endocrine Disruption: The pesticide impact that Big Ag hopes you never find out about

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I think one of my next Compost Piles will have to centre on endocrine disruption. There has been credible science pointing to low dose endocrine effects from man made chemicals for over 15 years and yet we haven’t forced testing of even the heavily regulated pesticides. The two most commonly used herbicides in North America – atrazine and glyphosate (Roundup) are both suspected endocrine disruptors. Documented endocrine disruption impacts include premature birth, developmental delays, breast cancer, reproductive problems, low sperm counts and many more. Here is a website that...

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Folks, this ain’t normal – Joel Salatin

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I’ve heard Joel speak 4 times and I own every book he’s ever written. I consider Joel one of my mentors even though the longest conversation I’ve had with him was probably 5 minutes at a conference in Harrisburg, PA. His latest book is his first published by a “mainstream” publisher. All his previous books were self-published. Why do I note that? Hopefully, it means that Joel’s homespun wisdom is seeping into the consciousness of everyday North Americans. His latest book is Joel’s take on what’s wrong with the food system and what you can do to...

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Food Inc. – Recommended Movie

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A movie that explains why everyone should be shopping from us or someone who produces food in a similar manner (but then I’m a little biased). Here’s the trailer. I don’t think I need to say more. You can order a DVD from their website. I downloaded our version from...

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The One Straw Revolution – Masanobu Fukuoka

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One of the continual challenges I face is the fact that most of what we are trying to do is so far outside mainstream agriculture that we receive our fair share of negative feedback that we need to counter with inspiration from other sources. While I subscribe to one of the mainstream farm newspapers in Ontario, the rest of my mailbox reading material won’t be found in many farm kitchens in Ontario – The Stockman Grass Farmer, Graze, and ACRES USA. My bookshelf also has some rather eclectic reading. Every once in a while I come across a book that “messes with my...

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The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs – Carmine Gallo

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I must admit that due to my career path I never had the opportunity to experience an Apple product first hand and therefore never became an evangelist. My first experience with an Apple was the IIc when I lived with a family in Germany for 4 months back in the eighties. My second experience with an Apple product was an iPhone. Yes, I own an iPhone. Not because it’s trendy (that was a reason not to own it) but because it’s functional and durable (how many iPhone users can attest to the fact that an iPhone will survive falling out of your pocket while hanging upside down torching...

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Mobsters and Rumrunners of Canada

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OK, even my “fiction” is non-fiction. A short, light read by Gord Steinke that Silvia thought I would enjoy. If you thought all the good gangster stories came from south of the border, think again. This book details the exploits of a number of Canadian born and bred bootleggers during Prohibition. From our connection to Al Capone to the exploits of a number of individuals notorious in their own right this book covers a little known aspect of Canadian history in the 1920s.

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The Ascent of Money

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Niall Ferguson’s look at the evolution of money and financial instruments in the context of the historical change that resulted from each new “invention”. A very readable work that illuminates how we got from trading 3 goats and block of cheese for some cloth to the current derivatives market.

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The Numerati

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Yes, I like math. Always have. Please don’t hate me. This book explores the different ways that the massive amounts of data that we as individuals are generating are being analyzed by various entities from marketers to politicos. It’s a very readable peek into the world of math geeks. If you’re not aware of this accumulation of data on you, you might find it a scarier read than Shake Hands with the Devil. While Rwanda was on a distant continent, this book reveals a manipulation of your world that is happening right here, right now and will change your world.

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Guns, Germs and Steel

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Jared Diamond’s treatise on why human society followed the path that it did. Ever wonder how a handful of Spanish conquistadors could vanquish the mighty Incan empire on their home soil? A thoughtful read that connects many disciplines to provide a unified explanation of not only the what of history but the why. Not a light read but then it’s not a light topic either.

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Seeds of Deception

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The book about Genetically Modified Organisms that the agro-industrial empire doesn’t want you to read. It’s a little unbalanced and over the top in places and manipulates the truth to fit a particular viewpoint in others. But it contains enough that it should cause you to question whether you want to participate in the largest feeding experiment in the history of the world. The bottom line here is that science doesn’t know what science doesn’t know. And there is a lot we don’t know about GMOs. Remember, scientists believed CFC’s were a far safer...

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Pasture Perfect

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If you’re wondering why we emphasize that our animals are grass-fed and pastured, this book by Jo Robinson should answer most of your questions. She pulls together the research and puts it in layman’s terms. If you want to save yourself reading the book, repeat after me – grass-fed meat is significantly healthier than feedlot-fed and there is research to prove it.

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Outliers – The Story of Success

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I couldn’t resist a book with this title – when a partner at PwC heard that Silvia and I were expecting our 4th child (we now have 5) he proclaimed “Harry, you realize you’re a real statistical outlier now!”. If only he knew the half of it. The book takes an entertaining look at the “myth” of self-made successes in North American society. If you’re into hero-worshiping – whether it’s sports or financial – this book might shatter your world. Fundamental thesis of the book is that exceptional achievements are mostly a function...

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The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

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Leonard Mlodinow takes the reader on a breezy journey through the history and application of the mathematics of probability and randomness. I found it a fascinating read but then I was the guy you loved to hate in high school math class. Provides a good explanation of why you can’t seem to win picking Mutual Funds from the “best” managers.

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The Hole in Our Gospel

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Written by Richard Stearns the president of World Vision US, the book looks at the problems of the world from a Christian perspective and asks the question “What does God expect of us?”. Be prepared for a convicting answer. This book is essentially a call to action for the western Christian world to live their faith honestly and work to alleviate the pain and suffering in the world.

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An Imperfect Offering

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Written by James Orbinski, a Canadian and former international head of Medcins Sans Frontieres. This book takes a look inside some of the major humanitarian tragedies of the last few decades from the viewpoint of an insider who was there: Rwanda, Somalia, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. Not as dark an account as Shake Hands with the Devil but nevertheless unblinking. A testament to the difference that one human can make on this planet.

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Shake Hands with the Devil

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OK, not everything I read has to do with food. This first hand account of Canada’s “peace-keeping” role in Rwanda by General Romeo Dallaire should be a mandatory read for everyone in the Western world. It’s not an easy read and it leaves you questioning the facade of civility in our society but it opened my eyes to the evil that man can perpetrate against man.

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Holy Cows and Hog Heaven

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This is a book you’re not just going to go out and pick up at Indigo. It’s written by Joel Salatin, one of our mentors. The sub title is “The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food”. To quote the cover “Holy Cows and Hog Heaven has one overriding objective: encourage every food buyer to embrace the notion that menus are a conscious decision, creating the next generation’s world one bite at a time.” You won’t find this book in any bookstore or even on Amazon. However, we loved the book so much, we bought a case of them. You’ll find...

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Omnivore’s Dilemma

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Michael Pollan’s seminal work chronicles the backstory behind four meals that Michael consumes – a fast food burger, conventional organic, pastured organic, and a hunter/gatherer style meal. Recommended reading for anyone questioning the food they put in their mouth. In this book, you’ll meet Joel Salatin, one of the mentor’s for the Stoddart Family Farm. We’re doing our best to emulate his practices on our farm.

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