After hearing about B.J. Novak’s latest start up project called “The List App” I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite books for coaches. I’m always looking for new reading material to dive into during the holidays, so if you have any suggestions to add to this feel free to share! As with all things, this list will probably change in time as I expand my education and personal opinions.
In no particular order:
1.) “The Only Way to Win” Jim Loehr
How building character drives higher achievement and greater fulfillment in business in life. Raises important questions such as, “How do we value character? How do we create character? And how does character affect business, sport and parenting?”
2.) “The Talent Code” Daniel Coyle
Coyle argues talent is born in the brain through deep practice, ignition, and masterful coaching. Well written with many practical applications for everyday life.
3.) “The Power of Full Engagement” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
I describe this as the best of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” plus in depth discussion around understanding and managing physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.
4.) “Lights Out” T.S. Wiley
Sleep, sugar and survival. The back cover describes it best: “The scientific evidence that obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and depression are caused by sleep loss – and that your salvation is as easy as the flick of a switch.”
5.) “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” Robert Sapolsky
Explains how prolonged stress can lead to a host of physical and mental problems (depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, etc). Touches on topics such as sleep disorders, addictions, gender differences, anxiety, weight gain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and stress management. The author has a good sense of humor and writing style to help navigate through some of the biological and neurochemical explanations. There are lots of pictures which are a nice touch.
6.) “The Sports Gene” David Epstein
Rethink the nature of athleticism. Are the top athletes in the world born or made? What are our biological limits? Dispels misconceptions about why top athletes excel. Identifies skills we assume are innate.
7.) “Drive” Daniel Pink
What motivates us: autonomy, mastery and purpose. One of my favorites on motivation.
8.) “The One Thing” Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Ideas on how to be more productive, find more satisfaction from life, and create more time for yourself, family, and friends. Simply put: identify your one thing.
9.) “Mindset” Carol Dweck
Written by a Stanford University psychologist. I’ve seen Dweck’s work referenced in many other books I’ve read so I knew I had to read it at some point. Quick and fast read. Explains the power of our mindset with a simple approach. Addresses the question: “How can you create a love of learning and resilience by understanding how you view the world?”
10.) “Quiet” Susan Cain
One of my favorite books I read in 2014. If you’re getting into the business of coaching, introverts will make up at least one-third of the people you work with. Cain argues we undervalue introverts and the impact they have on our culture. Well researched and includes many stories of real people to help substantiate her claims.
A book topic that I feel is missing in this list is leadership. Not that some of these books don’t touch on leadership, but I have yet to find anything particularly noteworthy that delves into the topic apart from a management book such as “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker. One book that highlights stories of prominent leaders and probably could have been number 11 on the list is “Mastery” by Robert Greene. Additionally, I own but have not yet read “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek who also wrote “Start With Why” (another book I highly recommend). Other nominations on leadership in the future would be “Resilience” by Eric Greitans which I’ve listened to part of as an audiobook, as well as “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
Whether or not you are a coach, teacher, parent, or lover of learning, I hope this list serves you well.