Jim Bastian and his wife Carol were born, raised, met and married in Wisconsin. Jim received a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University with a tri-major of education, psychology and history. Upon graduation, he taught high school history and psychology, but subsequently converted to capitalism, earned an MBA and went on to have a thirty year business career, during which he moved his family three times across the country. In 1991 the family felt they were up for one more move and collectively decided to move back to Wisconsin.
Jim’s business career included working for both large and small firms. It turns out that it is not uncommon for CEOs to respond unfavorably when informed they are acting like morons. Hence, Jim has worked as Managing Director and President for his own company the past fifteen years. Jim’s deep interest in history, and love of the Wisconsin Northwoods remained intact throughout his career. Writing became increasingly more appealing and the grind of business travel less so. Jim transitioned to writing as his vocation with the publication of “Wisconsin Logging Camp 1921”.
Carol shares his passion for the Northwoods and spending time at their lake cabin. She is only able to feign lukewarm interest however, when Jim talks about history. Carol graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh and was teaching elementary school when they met. She opted to stay home to raise their two girls, but returned to teaching after both girls were in school.
Carol and Jim’s two grown daughters make them proud every day. They are independent, pragmatic, intelligent, and have just the right amount of snark. All three girls have been instrumental in Jim’s third career as a writer by offering their insights, critique, artwork, edits and often painfully candid assessment of Jim’s writing. Carol and both girls are voracious readers and excelled at all levels in school.
Throughout his early education however, Jim was an uninspired, recalcitrant student who refused to do homework. His feeling was that homework was an unfair and inappropriate tax on his personal time. His teachers thought differently. When admonished for failing to complete his school work, Jim argued that homework assignments were only necessary when teachers failed to teach what they should during the class period. That argument proved ineffective and his grades suffered. One of the few exceptions to his ‘no homework rule’ was an assignment to read “Tale of Two Cities”. He was in junior high school and recalled making the remark after reading the book that it was very interesting, but “that could never really happen”. His discovery that Dickens’ account of the French Revolution was largely true to the events, and became a catalyst for his lifelong interest in history. As a painfully slow reader, Jim reads selectively and focuses primarily on history. A recent read and favorite book is “Escape from Sobibor” by Richard Rashke.
Jim recognizes the irony that he became a teacher at his high school alma-mater, and yes, assigned homework. He does not accept the notion that doing so made him a hypocrite because he readily acknowledges that he assigned homework due to his shortcomings as a teacher. That being said, Jim proudly notes that on two specific occasions he had an instrumental effect on improving average student achievement in his school district: the first occurring when he graduated from high school, the second when he resigned from teaching.