Posted by: Marty Fahncke | February 20, 2008

Book review: A Personal Stand by Trace Adkins

A Personal Stand by Trace Adkins

He’s rich, he’s famous, he shops at Wal-Mart…

Normally, I only do reviews on this blog for books related to business and marketing. So what is a semi-autobiographical account of roughneck country music singer Trace Adkins doing here?

Read on, as I believe there are MANY good business lessons to be learned from it. If the”average Joe” middle-American consumer could have a book published, this is the book he would write. But since most publishers wouldn’t touch a book written by an average Joe, Trace wrote and published it for them.

Trace may be a multi-platinum artist, but he’s about as down-home as they come.

I’ve even been impressed watching him on Celebrity Apprentice. He doesn’t say much, but when he does speak, it’s usually smart stuff.

In “A Personal Stand”, Trace gives us his thoughts on politics, the war on terror, unions, the music business, illegal immigration, alcoholism, hurricane Katrina, the NRA, sports, raising five(!) daughters, and much more.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

“I stand for personal responsibility and against anything that undermines it. So much of what I see in our country today represents a hell-bent flight from responsibility to victimhood. From acting on one’s convictions to going along just to get along. From making decisions based on moral principles to taking the easy way out. That’s not what the United States of America is about, and that’s not the legacy our children should inherit.

With me, what you see is what you get. I don’t put on airs, I don’t pull punches, and most important, I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not in the loop inside the beltway, and I don’t claim to have the scoop on anything.

I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.

I also love what he says about Wal-Mart. (Keep in mind this is a multi-millionaire recording artist talking):

“…don’t you just love going to Wal-Mart? Everything you need is in one big place! You don’t have to go anywhere else. There’s a nice rickety old man who smiles through yellow dentures, says hello when you walk in the door, and shoves a basket at you. I mean, you can have your tires rotated, buy some groceries, get your hemorrhoid cream, pick up some golf balls, and fill a prescription all under one roof.”

Personally, I know a lot of very high level business people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Wal-Mart. Frankly, I think that attitude makes them less effective as a marketer and a business person. The world is shopping at Wal-Mart, and if you don’t understand that consumer, you are missing a big piece of the pie.

The above is an example of the kind of insights and lessons found in the book, and why I felt it qualifies as a “business book”, even though others might not have thought about it that way.

Bottom line…read this book if

  • You are a marketer, and want some insight into the mind of the “average Joe” consumer
  • You are a politician, and want to understand the “red state” voter
  • You are a fan of country music
  • You are a fan of Trace Adkins


Don’t read this book if

  • You believe no one or nothing good can come from the “flyover” states between your beloved coasts
  • You are a big fan of Garth Brooks (Which I am, but you’ll have to read the book to understand)
  • Straight talk makes you nervous


Reading “A Personal Stand” was sort of like taking a literary fishing trip with Trace. I’ve been deep into heavy business reading lately, so it was nice to just relax and read a book about some down-home things like hunting, spending time doing honest physical work, and life growing up in a small town.

Oh, and Trace, call me any time if you need some help clearing brush on your farm…I’ll come a runnin’!

UPDATE:  Trace came in second out of 16 other competitors on Celebrity Apprentice.  He really took the high road and showed what a great guy he is.   Way to go Trace!

Also, his video for You’re Gonna Miss This was just released.  I think it’s my new favorite song from Trace.

Watch it here! 



  1. I’ve also been impressed with Trace on Celebrity Apprentice. Maybe I’ll have to check out his book. Thanks for the review.

  2. I haven’t been watching Celebrity Apprentice but I am a country music – and Trace Adkins – fan. Your comment about Trace coming across as a “down home” guy also speaks to the popularity of country music, the most down home music genre there is.

    As marketers and copywriters we can all learn a lesson or three by listening to country music. The lyrics almost always tell a very basic story – good vs. evil, heartbreak of one form or the other – and they tell it with short, simple, easily understood words that tug at your emotions and communicate a distinct point of view. Want to write better marketing copy? Spend more time listening to country music.

  3. Ernie,

    You make some very good points…I’ve never thought about country music like that, but I will now!

    Thanks for adding to my blog.


  4. Thank you for your excellent review of
    A Personal Stand.
    I agree with every word you said!
    I am a huge Trace Adkins fan. I love the book,
    I have read it twice and I plan on reading it again.

    The day I bought the book I couldn’t put it down,
    I read the whole book in one day!

    About a month later I decided to read it again,
    cover to cover. I was so glad I did.

    I just saw Trace in concert last night in Wheeling West Virginia. He rocked Wheeling! It was the best concert I have ever seen and I have seen
    many of his concerts.
    After a few songs said I know times are hard and money is hard to get so I want to thank you for coming tonight to see me. He meant what he said!
    At the end he said GOD BLESS YOU, and he meant it.
    He is doing very well on Celebrity Apprentice,
    it’s down to the final 4. His charity is
    FAAN. His 6 year old daughter Brianna has
    severe food allergies.
    The winner receives $250,000 for their
    I hope he wins it all. He has worked hard on every task and has raised alot of money for charity!
    He is a good man. Happily married with 5 daughters.
    I highly recommend his book. He wrote the book at the suggestion of his manager. In fact his
    manager had been after him for years to do it.
    I am so happy he did.

  5. Deborah,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog…and thanks for all of your great comments about Trace. I haven’t seen him in concert yet, but plan to as soon as he comes anywhere near me!


  6. I really admire the guy… is a bit of a throwback to a generation that operated based on plain speech and integrity.

  7. I’d like to check out this book… looks like a good a one 🙂

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