My Father’s Business by Cal Turner Jr.

Posted: May 28, 2018 in books
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I got this book as a review copy from the publisher, in exchange for a review on my blog, AMOKArts.com. They are now requiring that I add the hashtag #ad to my reviews, and while I fundamentally disagree with this policy, because I don’t review these books to advertise them, I look for books that might be useful to my audience and share them as potential resources. That being said I will honor their policy.

I spent most of this book wondering how I would review it, because at times I really didn’t like what was said very much. That being said, there were many times when I had to stop and realize I was being judgmental and not putting myself in the author’s shoes. I chose to review this book because it dealt with business and this is an area my audience needs to at least consider, i.e. ministry in the marketplace. It’s the story of Dollar General Stores and the men who founded them. It’s the story of a company that goes from a small town family store to become a billion dollar company and it is downright fascinating most of the time. Interestingly as the company grows and changes from family company to publicly traded business is where it lost most of it’s luster for me. I think the reason for this is simple, all of the sudden the author has to do things like fire family members, etc. There was part of me that understood the responsibility to stockholders that required theses kinds of things to happen, and part of me that felt it was cold and heartless. At first I really wanted to lash out at the author, but then I realized the problem may have been with me, judging someone whose shoes I have never had to walk in.

Over all this is an interesting book. I am glad I read it as much for learning things I do not want to do as things I do. Turner challenged me at times and at times even made me angry. Like the time where he got grief for opening his stores on Sunday from a pastor, and turned it around on the pastor that clearly he wasn’t teaching his people well enough to get them to stop shopping on Sunday. I am a pastor, and while I can’t condemn someone for shopping on Sunday, I thought it was an extremely short sighted statement from someone who at one point felt the call to ministry. Of course about the time I was starting to get really incensed, Turner talks about how bad he felt about making such a statement. Ultimately, I think this book was a little too far removed from my life experience for me to relate to, and yet it exposed me to a different world and for that I am grateful. There’s a certain fascinating irony to the fact that people can become very wealthy, by deliberately creating stores designed to serve the less fortunate to bringing them necessities at low prices.

In the final chapter, Turner tells us his hope for the book and it was here that he really helped me to solidify this review. He writes, “My motive in this book has been to examine my father’s business and make sense of it in a way that might invite you to do the same—so that you make help others do the same in turn. It’s part of loving others as ourselves.” If that was his goal, I believe Cal Turner Jr. achieved his goal.

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