Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU professor wins award for new book

April 20, 2011

Indiana State University professor Todd Whitaker has reason to be proud after his latest book was named one of the top business books of the year.

Whitaker, a professor of educational leadership in the ISU's Bayh College of Education, won an Axiom Business Book Award with a silver medal in the Business Fable category for his most recent book, "The Ball." This was the fourth edition of the awards, which honor the top business books in 21 different categories.

Whitaker has written 24 books during his career, mostly focusing on education. With "The Ball," he targeted a more general audience.

"The book was inspired by the story of Bob Baesler and everything he's been able to accomplish with Baesler's Market, despite competing with big box stores," Whitaker said.

Baesler's Market is a small-business success story in an era of big-box stores. Located at 29th and Poplar in Terre Haute, the store has managed continuing success by providing personable customer service and a community point of pride.

In what Whitaker describes as a light read portraying a life story, the book tells the story of a teacher who meets a former student that now runs a grocery store.

"The teacher feels frustrated from the new mandates and directives they're facing at school and they start to feel burdened," Whitaker said. "Conversely, the student feels the competition from big box stores is impacting what they can do and they've both taken their eye off the ball, so to speak."

The book portrays how each character now recognizes what they've done wrong and how they've forgotten the lessons they learned when they started their careers.

Baesler, a 1972 ISU alum and ISU board of trustees member, was humbled to have served as the inspiration for the book.

"It's definitely an honor for Todd to use me as an inspiration for his book," Baesler said. "I've always prided myself on having a positive attitude no matter what happens. You have to do whatever you can to weather the storm and stay positive in a negative landscape. In my opinion, it's one of the main factors in determining success."

In addition to being an avid writer, Whitaker is also nationally regarded as a speaker in the fields of education and leadership. More information about Whitaker and his publications can be found through his website at

For more information about the 2011 Axiom Business Book Awards, visit their website at

Todd Whitaker

Writer: Scott Campbell, Indiana State University, media relations assistant, at 812-237-3773 or