Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cowboy up!

I recently ran across Cowboy Values by James P. Owen. The book looked intriguing, but when I went to buy it, I decided to start with Cowboy Ethics, Owen's first cowboy book.

Cowboy Ethics is like getting two books in one. The first is a kaleidoscopic tour of cowboy life. Owen’s description of cowboy ethics is the purported purpose of the book, but renowned Western photographer David R. Stoecklein’s pictures grab the reader’s attention. Breathtaking photographs appear on nearly every page and alone are worth the price of the book.

The full title is Cowboy Ethics, What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West. In my opinion, the whole of American society, not just the tip of Manhattan Island, should rediscover the Code of the West. Owen points out that this code has never actually been written down, so he took several years to put together his own list. I think he does a good job of summing up the Code of the West.

Real Cowgirls by David R. Stoecklein

1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work
3. Always finish what you start
4. Do what has to be done
5. Be tough, but fair
6. When you make a promise, keep it
7. Ride for the brand
8. Talk less and say more
9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale
10. Know where to draw the line.

If you’re a cowboy, you already know the code, but it never hurts to be reminded. The brilliance of this book is that the remarkable photographs will pull you into the code over and over again. Isn’t that how ethics have been passed down from generation to generation for eons—by repetition.

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