Turning a page in a book
Whether you’re an avid reader or not, you might be interested in some of the books on your propane colleagues’ recent reading lists

In our busy lives, we may not take the time to read or listen to books. And then some of us can hardly be seen without a book in our hands. No matter if your reading habits are occasional or consistent, you may find some new titles here to add to your list. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

Feeling Bookish?

The last book that I read and actually completed is a book written about Viktor Frankl’s principles called ‘Prisoners of Our Thoughts,’ written by Alex Pattakos. Frankl was a world-renowned psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps and went on to write books, perhaps the most famous being ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ Pattakos emphasizes the fundamental concept that no matter what situations or encounters we might face in our daily lives, we have the ability to assign affirmative meaning by thinking thoughts that establish the meaning we choose. I’d recommend this book to anyone, especially someone who is curious about the human condition and what it takes to overcome challenges in this life.

Bruce Swiecicki
National Propane Gas Association
Tinley Park, Illinois


‘The House of Kahmanns’ by P.G. Kahmann. This was a personal read for me. Short, easy read. The book tells the story of a family with 12 children whose parents had a horrific car accident on a wintry Minnesota day. Their lives were changed forever. This family of 14 ended up moving to our small town of Bird Island, Minnesota. As I grew up, I had NO idea what this family had been through or all they had and continued to deal with — a family that prayed together and stayed together through it all. I would definitely recommend it. (Visit houseofkahmanns.com.)

Susan Peterson
Rural Computer Consultants
Bird Island, Minnesota

The last book I read was ‘The Power of Regret’ by Daniel Pink. It’s a well-researched book on why we experience regret (we’re human after all). The book identifies the four main types of regret and things we can do to avoid experiencing regret in the future. I believe as much as some of us want to deny it, we have all experienced regret at one point in our lives. I’d definitely recommend the book to anyone who wants to know why we experience regret and how to hopefully avoid that feeling again.

Don Montroy
Bergquist Inc.
Rockford, Michigan

‘The Energy Bus’ by Jon Gordon is the book I most recently finished. I read and discussed ‘The Energy Bus’ with a group of Bergquist team members who joined our internal Read to Lead book club. I definitely recommend this book to everyone; I like it so much that this was my third time reading it. In our group discussion, many readers said they had already recommended it to their family, friends and colleagues. There is also a children’s version of ‘The Energy Bus’ that I recommend to parents to buy and read with their kids of all ages. I am currently reading ‘Leaders Eat Last’ by Simon Sinek, which I recommend to anyone who leads or aspires to lead at work, at home or in their community.

Lauren Clark
Bergquist Inc.
Toledo, Ohio

Well, I’m sure this will come as a shock to all of you, but the last book I read was ‘The Non-Prophet’s Guide to the End Times’ by Todd Hampson. And I would absolutely recommend it to all my friends, and all those curious about life after death! WARNING: This is not a book for the faint of heart.

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas Inc.
Proctor, Vermont

The last book that I read was ‘Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul.’ I actually just finished it up a couple of days ago. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. It is a little bit of an older book, written about 20 years ago. The short, inspirational stories in it are still uplifting and make it a very easy read.

Jon Shepard
VK Inspections LLC
Mercer, Pennsylvania

The last book I read was ‘Oscar and the Lady in Pink.’ It is the story of a 10-year-old boy who lives in a hospital because he is battling cancer. He proceeds to write letters to God about his life. I would definitely recommend it to a friend. It was funny and moving and easy to read. The message in the book really makes you think, and I am planning on reading it again to soak it all in.

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I just finished ‘The Glass Castle,’ a memoir by Jeannette Walls. It was a reminder to me that not everyone has the same opportunities in life. What one person is taught to believe is normal or true can sometimes be very different from what is factual. You can’t choose who you are born unto and the beliefs in which you are led to follow. I was drawn in to the story as if I was watching a train wreck happen in slow motion. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I walked away feeling blessed for my family and the upbringing I received. I would absolutely recommend it to all my friends!

Tonya Crow
Bloomington, Illinois

While I read this book a couple years ago, the impact on my life was great: ‘How the World Really Works’ by Vaclav Smil. First, I am grateful to my friend, Gokul Vishwanathan, who recommended the book. I think this book is important for the propane industry, because it really is hard to defend conventional propane in this world of ‘climate crisis and electrify everything.’ This book is educational on the big topics like energy and the environment, but also the other closely linked industries of agriculture, plastic and cement. This book will give you a global view of our earth and how it is all interconnected. When we are invited to speak at our local chamber of commerce, we (the propane industry, in favor of energy choice) have to know what to say in order to convince the listeners of our position. I’ve heard too many just say, ‘Don’t go down the path of electrification — it’s worse.’ But [then] we can’t tell them why. This book will educate us and therefore help us better communicate our position.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

I don’t consider myself much of a reader, but there is one book that I really liked that others might too. It is Stephen Covey’s ‘The 8th Habit.’ It is the successor to his ‘7 Habits’ book. Like most of his books, it has a great message in helping you be the best that you can be and also helping others reach their full potential. So, from a personal and professional perspective, there is a great message. Personally, he talks about the four personal intelligences (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and the importance of continuing to grow in all four areas to bring balance and stability to your life. It’s a long read and I also have the audio, which is to pop in on those long business trips. Worth a read or listen.

Tom Krupa
NGL Supply Terminals Co.
Richmond, Virginia

Honestly, I can’t tell you the last book I read — only the one I’m on now! I read a lot! Currently I’m reading ‘Tropical Snow’ by A. J. Stewart. It’s just pretty good, not a must-read. I usually find an author I like and read series. My favorite lately in that area is Alan Lee. A little mystery, some humor and occasionally a little skin is what you will find in his books. None too deep, but entertaining. He has also introduced me to many new words.

Paula Moore
Blackburn Propane Service Inc.
Durant, Oklahoma

What’s on Your Bookshelf?

A few years ago, I wasn’t proud to admit that I wasn’t reading books. I’d taken a break. Getting lost in a good novel had been a pleasure of mine for many years, and I’m now making the time again to indulge in a great read. Whether you’re downloading, buying printed versions or borrowing from the library, taking moments to study, learn, be entertained or amazed — grab a book!

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She is director of marketing at the M&A advisory firm Cetane Associates. Contact her at ncoop@cetane.com. Visit cetane.com.


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