UM Alum Jim Autry and Son Return to Oxford to Promote Book on Virtues

University of Mississippi alumnus Jim Autry and his son, Rick Autry, visited Square Books in Oxford last week to promote their new children’s book, “Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read with Kids.”

Ole Miss alumnus and retired journalist Jim Autry (right) and his son, Rick, read from and signed copies of their new book last week at Square Books.

This is Jim Autry’s 14th book but the first co-written with Rick.

“Everyday Virtues” focuses on six distinct virtues, including, Jim Autry points out, “several that have been clearly neglected.” They are justice, humility, courage, compassion, freedom and respect.

What sets the book apart is that each virtue is communicated through a number of interesting stories. Written at the fourth-grade level, the book targets children 12 and under and serves as a teaching guide for parents and grandparents to read and discuss with younger children.

Jim Autry, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa, is a 1955 alumnus of Ole Miss. Following graduation, he flew fighter jets for the Air Force and was stationed in France for part of his service. After leaving the military, he pursued his interest in journalism and accepted a position with the Meredith Corporation in Des Moines. He rose quickly in the organization and in 1982 became president of the company’s magazine group, overseeing 17 magazines, including “Better Homes and Gardens.”

“We were inspired to write a book aimed at parents and grandparents that would lure kids away from electronic games and digital obsessions,” Jim Autry said.

“Everyday Virtues” was twenty years in the making, as the timing was just not right until 2017, Rick Autry, an attorney in Iowa, noted. “We had to have a very good story in order to best explain the virtues, as opposed to utilizing charts and graphs.”

Jim’s adventurous career has taken him worldwide several times, including speaking at various leadership conferences. His book, “Love & Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership,” was a business bestseller, as was “The Servant Leader.”

Asked to name some of the authors who have inspired him through his career, Jim Autry mentioned William Faulkner and said “The Hamlet” was his favorite work by the Oxford native. A couple of other writers who left a lasting impression on him included James Jones and Irwin Shaw.


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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