“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius
Yes, it is that time of year again, the time where our staff shares some of our favorite reads in the world of coaching, parenting, and athlete development. We are all avid readers and lifelong learners, and every year we pour through numerous books, articles, podcasts and more looking for inspiration and great information to pass on to all of you. Below you will find our favorite books of 2016, the ones we picked up and learned the most from. You can click on any title to cover image to grab it on Amazon. At the end of the article is a link to our favorite books from years past, in case you want to dive deeper or get a book for a parent, coach or athlete in your life. Enjoy.
This book was the clear winner for me this year. Most books by coaches (Mike Smith Coaches the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons) talk about their championship season. This book shares how Smith took the Falcons from an also ran to perennial title contender by purposefully building the culture. Then it details how he lost sight of the things that made them great, which eventually cost him his job. The book also contains tremendous insight from Jon Gordon on his work building positive team cultures, and tons a great activities for coaches to do with their teams. This book is a must for any serious coach!
How do coaches and leaders get the most out of their people? Start by taking ownership of everything, both good and bad. This great read details lessons learned by the authors during their time as SEAL team commanders with Task Unit Bruiser during the Iraq War, and how any leader can learn from what the SEALs do. Our biggest takeaway: when a leader blames a team member, the blame game starts and excuses start flying. The blame cascades down and ultimately no one takes responsibility. But when leaders have “extreme ownership” then team members will admit to wrongdoing and be held accountable as well. Think about that your next team talk!
The author attended our Way of Champions conference in July 2016, and that is how we learned about this wonderful book. In it, she tells her story as a consultant with a talented but underachieving high school hockey team. She tells how she used her business experience building strength based teams to help every individual understand what their teammates brought to the team, the reasons behind their behavior, and a path forward that eventually leads to a state championship. Monte shares her entire blueprint that coaches can do with their own teams. It is a great read.
If you have read The Talent Code or Outliers then you have heard of Anders Ericsson, the researcher on expertise whose work was slightly bastardized by Malcolm Gladwell and others into the false “10,000 Hour Rule.” In this book, Ericsson sets the record straight, replies to other critics of his work, and teaches coaches how to make practice both purposeful and deliberate. There are some real gems in this one.
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