From Books to New Beginnings: Using the Library as a Resource to Build a Better Life
As one of the founders of Grey Wolf Resort, a health and wellness agritourism business in Victor, Colorado, award-winning chef and entrepreneur Nathan Dirnberger is just as likely to be found planning menus for gourmet picnics as chasing down a loose rooster.
But among these tasks, and the many others he tackles on a regular basis, there’s one more the Colorado native wraps into his days as well: reading.
“My mom's a librarian, so she always read to me as a kid, and I grew up reading,” says Dirnberger.
As he got older, he says, he went to school to become a chef. Years after graduating, Dirnberger wrote an article for the American Culinary Federation (ACF) on quantum physics and how it connects to a chef’s thoughts becoming a tangible experience. “If you give us a pile of ingredients,” he says, “we think about what we're going to create, and then we apply ourselves — that's the key right there — to turn it into a dish.”
In the ACF story, he says, he made the broader analogy of “encouraging people that they can make changes in their lives” if they apply that same theory.
About six years ago, Dirnberger started applying the theory to his own life outside of the kitchen, and “a big part of that,” he says, “was books.”
Dirnberger began to take advantage of all of the free resources his Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) card could offer, from checking out print copies of books to downloading audio reads through OverDrive — which mom Cynthia Roberts, who has been a PPLD librarian now for almost three decades, introduced to him. Dirnberger was able to dig into and study popular titles by authors like Tim Ferriss, alongside other books about entrepreneurship, marketing, and business.
One in particular, stands out for him, though: David Schwartz’ classic The Magic of Thinking Big, first published in 1959, which Dirnberger listened to during a cross-country trip after finishing an internship on a farm. The book’s push to get people to dare to dream (and put concrete habits behind those dreams) spawned his concept for an agritourism-focused farm and ranch — what would become Grey Wolf Resort.
But books aren’t the only PPLD resources Dirnberger used.
“When I actually started creating my businesses, I would use the library too,” he says, reserving classrooms at Library 21c so he and his business partners could set up projectors and map out plans on whiteboards. “I pretty much started all my businesses there.”
“Tony Robbins talks about how there’s never a lack of resources. There’s a lack of resourcefulness,” Dirnberger says. The Library District is “a resource box,” he adds, “full of tools for people to change their lives … if they apply themselves.”
Currently billed as a “boutique, private, high-altitude health and wellness center” situated on a family farm and ranch, Dirnberger’s two-year-old Grey Wolf Resort offers guests everything from massages and guided mountain hikes to farm-to-table gourmet picnics. And Dirnberger still has lots of big dreams when it comes to the resort, ranging from building a commercial kitchen and a little restaurant on the property to setting an example for those interested in emulating the concept and creating more agritourism across the country.
With his passion for books, one might wonder if Dirnberger has another dream up his sleeve.
“Well, yeah,” he says, “actually, I’ve been writing one for a few years now, but as I started writing, I knew the story still had to be finished. … I needed to be able to do something that was actually worth telling. … I wanted a family. I wanted to be able to spend time with my family, that’s why I wanted to become a farmer, to spend time outside and be with nature, and help out with food and clean water and air, and all the things that people and animals both deserve.”
“Now that I’ve got all of that,” he says, “it’s a matter of starting to tell the story.”