Wednesday, 03 August 2022 14:55

Book offers good, practical advice

Written by  Leo Argent
Tools for the Top Paddock by Kane Brisco. Tools for the Top Paddock by Kane Brisco.

The Kiwi farmer is a uniquely practical sort.

With a hardworking, pragmatic attitude and no-nonsense approach to life, New Zealand farmers have an established reputation as “tough”. However, in recent years, financial uncertainty, unprecedented upheavals in farm life and negative public image has exposed a more vulnerable, stressed-out farmer underneath that macho image.

In Kane Brisco’s story, Tools for the Top Paddock, we have a worthy account of this duality of farm life, seemingly complete opposites, yet intrinsically linked.

Starting from his early childhood as a town boy, falling in love with farming through to the present day as sharemilker and fitness trainer, Brisco presents his life – triumphs, heartaches and challenges – in a very personal and relatable manner.

Even if you haven’t experienced those same challenges, his story makes it very easy to see parallels in your own. By carefully detailing his journey to self-improvement – physical and mental fitness, letting go of pain and forging his own path – Brisco gives the reader an understanding of how he got stronger, and how they can undergo the same journey.

What will appeal to readers, especially fellow farmers, is Brisco’s simple, yet frank and effective off-the-cuff style. There is a generally easy, approachable feeling to the writing, which stills manages to convey great wisdom and awareness. Even when talking about some very dark and heavy topics there is warmth and optimism.

This approachability makes for advice that is easy to take on board, yet deeply impactful. At 277 pages it’s not a long read, but there’s a lot of value in that page count.

Presentation is also simple yet effective, with certain passages of interest being highlighted in bold that directs the reader’s attention to the most important information.

By exposing how his vulnerabilities have made him stronger instead of weaker, and the joy found in opening up, Brisco presents his journey through self-discovery and his subsequent success in helping others in the community in a warm, insightful manner. It is an inspiring, practical book that may not be the most advanced out there – but you’d be surprised how often the simplest guidance is the advice people need.

Tools For The Top Paddock

Kane Brisco, 277 pages

Wellbeing/memoir

Available in bookstores

HarperCollins NZ, RRP $37.99

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