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James A. Autry

(1933- )

Poet, lecturer, and management consultant James A. Autry was born March 8, 1933, in Memphis, Tennessee, but he grew up in Benton County, Mississippi, and in 1955 received a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi, where he was later named a Distinguished Alumnus and elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame. A former president of the Meredith Corporation’s Magazine Group, publisher of such magazines as Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Successful Farming, he took an early retirement in 1991 to focus more on his present career as speaker and management consultant.

Autry has published ten books, two of which are volumes of poetry. His first, Nights under a Tin Roof, was published by the Yoknapatawpha Press in 1983. That was followed in 1989 with Life after Mississippi. In 1991, the Kentucky Poetry Review published a special issue devoted to Autry’s poetry, and he received national prominence as one of the poets featured on Bill Moyers’ special series The Power of the Word on PBS.

Nonfiction books by Autry include Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership (1991), which helped to establish a new genre of management and leadership books dealing with more than standard business-school teachings; Life and Work: A Manager’s Search for Meaning, which uses essays, poetry, and letters to his children as a means of focusing on the challenges faced by business managers; and Confessions of an Accidental Businessman: It Takes a Lifetime to Find Wisdom (1996), a blend of candid autobiography and practical and realistic lessons in management and leadership.

His most recent books are The Book of Hard Choices: How to Make the Right Decisions at Work and Keep Your Self-Respect (2006), which he co-wrote with Peter Roy, and Looking Around for God: The Oddly Reverent Observations of an Unconventional Christian (2007).

He and his wife, Sally Pederson (who until recently was lieutenant governor of Iowa), live in Des Moines, Iowa.

John B. Padgett

Publications

Nonfiction:

  • Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership. New York: Morrow, 1991.
  • Life and Work: A Manager’s Search for Meaning. New York: Morrow, 1994.
  • Confessions of an Accidental Businessman: It Takes a Lifetime to Learn Wisdom. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996.
  • (with Stephen Mitchell) Real Power: Lessons for Business from the Tao Te Ching. New York: Putnam, 1998.
  • The Servant Leader: How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance. New York: Prima, 2001.
  • The Spirit of Retirement: Creating a Life of Meaning and Personal Growth. New York: Prima, 2002.
  • (with Peter Roy) The Book of Hard Choices: How to Make the Right Decisions at Work and Keep Your Self-Respect. New York: Broadway Books, 2006.
  • Looking Around for God: The Oddly Reverent Observations of an Unconventional Christian. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys, 2007.

Poetry:

  • Nights Under a Tin Roof: Recollections of a Southern Boyhood. Introduction by John Mack Carter. Oxford, MS: Yoknapatawpha Press, 1983.
  • Life After Mississippi. Introduction by Willie Morris. Oxford, MS: Yoknapatawpha Press, 1989.

Internet Resources

Personal:


How to cite this page (MLA style):

Padgett, John B. "James A. Autry." The Mississippi Writers Page. 3 Aug. 2007. U of Mississippi English Department.