Hard Work, Conservative Values Made Perdue’s Chicken Man a Success

Tough Man Tender Chicken2Most people today have heard of S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, due to the company’s high-profile conflicts over its Christian values, but there was an original chicken billionaire whose chickens are also still around today. Frank Perdue, the longtime CEO of Perdue Farms, passed away in 2005, and his widow Mitzi recently wrote a book about the extraordinary man. She interviewed a staggering 134 people for the book – even some who became crosswise with him – compiling an incredibly accurate portrayal. Mitzi gives away the secrets of what made Frank so successful, making this a must-read for anyone curious about how to make it in life. It is full of wonderful insights that sound intuitive – but most people probably are not aware of.

Mitzi shared some of those secrets of how Frank turned a simple “father and son operation” into a worldwide business, with Steve Doocy and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Fox & Friends, calling Frank a “teacher.”

The story is also inspiring for those skeptical of the Horatio Alger myth, famously challenged recently by the esteemed author Malcolm Gladwell. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, he studied super achievers, known as “outliers,” and discovered they all had advantages over others early on in life, they did not get there solely through their intelligence and hard work.

Frank did not have any advantages; he came from a humble upbringing, helping his dad on the family farm while growing up as a child. He was shy and didn’t excel at school. He faced many setbacks with his father’s fledgling chicken business. At one point, the family’s entire flock of 10,000 laying hens was wiped out by typhoid fowl fever, forcing them to start again from scratch.

Read the rest of the article at the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research

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