Executive Reads: Peter McClusky

Peter McClusky is the Founder and Director of the Toronto Garlic Festival, which will take place this year at the Evergreen Brickworks on October 13 & 14. In 2009 he resigned his position as VP Distribution for a New York-based stock photo agency and returned to Ontario to explore small scale farming. He spent a year as an intern on a small scale farm near Guelph, Ontario. He grows 20 strains of garlic on that same farm, commuting from his home in downtown Toronto to tend to his crop.  

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
Kuhn’s seminal book was inspired reading when I studied philosophy at the University of Toronto. A core tenet of the book, that there is an element of irrationality in scientific inquiry, and in what we know, provides an insight, for me, into why and how new ideas and accepted norms come into being, be it in science or the world of the consumer. Understanding why people vote for a particular politician, or buy one product over another, or make a shift from thinking that the world is flat, can all be better understood in context of Kuhn’s book.

Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury
The book describes how all parties in a negotiation can reach an amicable agreement. This book served me well as VP, International Distribution for a Stock Photo agency (Photolibrary) in New York, where I negotiated contracts with distributors in 30 countries. My reputation in the tight-knit stock photo world as a ‘tough but fair’ negotiator was thanks in part to the concisely written “Getting To Yes,” which I always kept in my carry-on bag for a quick refresher.

The Complete Book of Garlic: A Guide for Gardeners, Growers, and Serious Cooks by Ted Jordan Meredith
When I made the leap into garlic growing and running the Toronto Garlic Festival, Meredith’s book proved invaluable in understanding garlic: the different varieties and strains, therapeutic effects, methods of preparation and cooking, and composition and chemistry. Getting to know all the facets of garlic has helped to create a universally appealing festival.