Books by Aaron Putze

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YOU Are Destined for Greatness

How did the absence of a Sharpie at the finish line of a nationally televised and globally recognized triathlon in downtown Des Moines forever influence a prominent supermarket CEO?

What lesson did a generous volunteer and mentor impart to his best friend and state legislator about living… just before dying?

How did a question not asked enable the man who led a one-person committee to land the Solheim Cup in Des Moines reinforce the importance of family to a prominent newspaper reporter?

What leadership principle did the introduction of a pineapple-flavored soda to central Iowa reinforce to the president and employees of a successful bottling company?

And how did trash cleanup at a spring softball game impart a lasting and positive impression on the CEO of an Iowa foundation who also holds every passing record for the University of Iowa?

The answers to these questions are just a few of the lessons shared by some of Iowa’s most influential leaders in YOU Are Destined for Greatness!


Turn the pages and be inspired by this a one-of-a-kind compilation of stories shared by those who have excelled – and stumbled at times – in business, sports, academia, finance, retail, elected office and life! All with a uniquely-Iowa perspective born from our agricultural heritage and strong sense of community and togetherness.

Sixteen leadership themes (e.g. “Strength in Humility,” “Believe in Someone,” “Never Burn Bridges. Ever” and “Share Success, Own Setbacks”) come to life through author Aaron Putze’s conversations with charismatic people who possess boundless energy and enthusiasm. They inlcude: Miriam Erickson Brown (AE Dairy), Randy Edeker (HyVee), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa football), Angela Walker Franklin (Des Moines University), Hayden Fry; Bruce Harreld (University of Iowa), Jim Knuth (Farm Credit Services of America), Chuck Long (Iowa Sports Foundation), Gene Meyer (Greater Des Moines Partnership), Bob Myers, John Quinn (Waukee Chief of Police), Suku Radia (retired Bankers Trust), Scott Raecker (The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center), Terry Rich (author and speaker), Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Bottling Co.) and Wendy Wintersteen (Iowa State University), to name just a few!

It’s like twenty-seven biographies-in-one with historical tidbits including the nation’s longest-serving governor and the origins of such iconic brands as AE Dairy, Hy-Vee and Atlantic Bottling Company.

Also, several questions are posed at the conclusion of each chapter. They challenge the reader reflect on the stories and leadership lessons shared and bring them to life in work, family and play.

It’s a perfect attitude booster for you, your team, company, a friend, civic club, chamber or recent/soon-to-be graduate!

Available NOW at Beaverdale Books, Machine Shed Restaurant (Urbandale), Des Moines’-area Barnes & Nobles, and the Mills Civic Pkwy Hy-Vee in West Des Moines (if it’s not available at your favorite retailer, be sure to request it!).

Price: $33 (includes S&H) — Signed by author! (212 pages) A portion of all proceeds for direct-from-author orders benefiting Junior Achievement of Central Iowa!

Discounts for multiple-book orders/shipping available. For inquiries, call 515-975-4168 or e-mail!


Destined for Greatness: The Story of Chuck Long & Resurgence of Iowa Hawkeyes’ Football

The year is 1981. The U.S. space shuttle Columbia takes its first flight. Ronald Reagan becomes president and Muhammad Ali officially retires with 55 victories. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” debuts in theatres, the term “Internet” is first mentioned and Post It Notes are launched by 3M Corp.

And the Iowa Hawkeyes are struggling mightily to gain respectability on the football field after decades as a Big Ten Conference doormat.

The always colorful Hayden Fry, a river boat gambler with Texas roots who arrived on campus in 1979, is now in his all-important third year as head coach. It’s make-or-break time for a man doggedly determined to transform the beleaguered program into a national powerhouse.

While the program has a lot of holes to fill, quarterback is one of those immediate. With a number of options available, Hayden looks east and, in a surprising move, signs a blonde-haired, six-foot-four quarterback named Chuck Long.

Safe to say the son of Charlie and Joan Long was as unknown as the Chicago suburb in which the family resided. Only two other universities offered Chuck a scholarship – Northwestern and Northern Illinois. The lack of suiters wasn’t surprising. He averaged just a handful of throws per start as a high school signal caller for a Falcons team coached by Jim Rexilius. Even in Wheaton North’s 14–6 victory over LaSalle-Peru in the 1979 4A Illinois state football championship game, Chuck completed just one of four passes for minus-three yards.

Now, Chuck Long is an Iowa Hawkeye. And as he waits to make first team as quarterback, Coach Hayden Fry takes to the microphones in the waning summer practice days of 1982 and, in front of a gaggle of reporters, proclaims the sophomore-to-be as “Destined for Greatness.”

Reporters are nearly speechless. Hawkeye fans are bewildered.

Chuck Long? Destined for greatness?

Chuck Long?

Yep, that Chuck Long.

The QB responds to the high praise from his head coach by taking the field just weeks later in his first start against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln only to get bruised, battered and benched in a 42-7 drubbing. One week later, the Hawkeyes host in-state rival Iowa State and lose again as Chuck watches from the sidelines.

So much for destiny.

Then again, Chuck Long isn’t your ordinary quarterback and Hayden Fry isn’t your ordinary coach.

In a twist of fate that even Hollywood couldn’t imagine, Chuck and the Iowa Hawkeyes would quickly right the ship and set sail on a voyage that would ultimately take them (and the state of Iowa) into the national spotlight.

At the heart of it all was a once-obscure quarterback who played for a high school football program that featured the run – a quarterback that would become Iowa’s most celebrated signal callers, play in an unprecedented five college bowl games, throw for more yards than any other quarterback in Big Ten history, finish runner-up for the Heisman Trophy to a kid named Bo from Auburn University and hear his name called in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft.

Sound too good to be true?

Not if you’re destined for greatness!

Prices: Softcover: $20; Hardcover: $30 (+ S&H)

Signed by Chuck Long: (hardcover only): $45 (S&H included)