Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Great Books For 2015

2015 hasn't shaped out to be the book reading year I'd hoped for, but still haven't managed to get through a few good ones I think you'd enjoy.  Below are the 10 books I've ventured through and no matter your background, you'll find some benefit in these.

The book really focuses on different businesses and their philosophy's and what makes them successful, but it can really apply to any field or aspect of life.

A major them of the book is the concept of a person or organization being able to describe the WHY behind their business.

This resonates, especially after the holiday season when you may see old friends and family and a common question asked his, "What do you do?".

Everybody can answer and explain WHAT they do; they can even answer and explain HOW they do it, but very few people can truly articulate WHY they do it.

As a business owner, this thought process strikes a major cord as to how it relates to building a successful business.  The following quote is something that any person or organization should write down and a major theme I took away from Sinek...

"People buy WHY you do something, not WHAT you do"

The concept of the book is re-thinking how we look at failure.

(Photo Credit: Failing Forward - John Maxwell)
We all fail and experience different levels of failures, but it's how we view these failures and respond to them that dictates where we go.

Think about this, most entrepreneurs fail 3.8 times before finally finding success.  Each of those failures give the person reflection and learning experiences to change as they try a new endeavor.

"The more you do, the more you fail. 
The more you fail, the more you learn. 
The more you learn, the better you get"

The whole book is geared toward changing how one looks and responds to failure.  Maxwell purposes that how one responds to failure is key to success in anything in life.  Failing forward shows how how looking at life's setbacks and learn from your mistakes.  If you haven't failed at anything, it means you haven't really taken a risk at anything. 

The two Austin Kleon's books I've read have been about as easy of a read as I've ever had.  Now, that doesn't mean they aren't beneficial.  Kleon is a very creative and unique writer, and his books keep you engaged and entertained.

Steal like an artist gives you tips and inspiration on making something great.  It's about using your surroundings and the things you know, and tweaking them and making them uniquely yours.  There is nothing truly original anymore, and every "new" is an old idea, just re-hashed and re-packaged.  This gives you ideas to find your creativity and spark on making something new and unique.

The ex-Dukie shares his experiences of being a player and coach and what he has learned about what makes athletes/coaches/people great and tough.  This is a great book for anybody looking for insight to the toughness and grit it takes for success in any endeavor.

(Photo Credit: Toughness - Jay Bilas)

This book is a must for any S&C or performance coach.  What's great is each chapter provides a different topic, discussed by different professionals/experts, and goes into different strategies for that topic.

Everything from warm-up to speed training to training with injury to motor learning to training youth athletes.  Every chapter is written by a different coach, whose expertise is that topic and it truly encompasses everything a coach needs. 

(Photo Credit: CEO Strength Coach -
Ron McKeefery)
CEO strength coach by Ron McKeefery is every S&C's hot book this past summer/fall.  Coach McKeefery, host of his popular podcast, talks about more of the "business" and personal side of S&C coaching.

It's not an X's and O's type book, but more a managerial, don't forget the small things type book.  He goes into managing your time and family, financial aspects of this field, and steps to be successful within the field.  A good reminder to what it takes to be successful.

Todd Hargrove goes deep into detail about motor learning and the brain's role in movement and pain.  It gives great insight and advice on how and what effects movement and how we can train these things.

The overall focus of this book is on the nervous system and how it controls the way we move and feel.  He also gives 25 lessons that may help readers improve movement and perception. Hargrove cites pioneering research from some of the world's lead scientists, and writes in an easy to follow format.

(Photo Credit: The Champion's Mind -
Jim Afremow)
Even among the most elite performers, certain athletes stand out as a cut above the rest, able to outperform in clutch, game-deciding moments. These athletes prove that raw athletic ability doesn't necessarily translate to a superior on-field experience its the mental game that matters most.
Sports participation-from the recreational to the collegiate Division I level-is at an all-time high. While the caliber of their games may differ, athletes at every level have one thing in common: the desire to excel. In The Champion's Mind, sports psychologist Jim Afremow, PhD, offers the same advice he uses with Olympians, Heisman Trophy winners, and professional athletes, including:

      - How to get in a "zone," thrive on a team, and stay humble
      - How to progress within a sport and sustain long-term excellence
      - Customizable pre-performance routines to hit full power when the gun goes off or the puck is dropped

John Brockman, who runs the popular website, tossed out this question to over 150 contemporary thought leaders

What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?

Brockman has worked for decades to bring thinkers together, under the premise that great things happen when cross-disciplinary exchanges of brilliant thinking take place. Bacteria, because they are so profligate in exchanging genetic information across species, are astoundingly capable of arriving at new and adaptive solutions to environmental (including antibiotics) challenges. Bacteria have something to teach us.

I already talked about Kleon's other book, Steal Like An Artist, and how is encourages us to use our environment and resources to "steal" ideas and mold them to our own.  Now he shows us how to show and share our molded ideas to the masses. 

From Kleon himself, It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery―let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive.

Go Get 'Em!

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