Three years ago I set the lofty goal of reading 50 books in one calendar year. I figured reading at a rate of one book per week was a difficult, but attainable challenge. I ended up exceeding my goal and read 54 books in 2009!
By no coincidence, that was the most successful and productive year I had ever had (personally & professionally). I learned more applicable information in 2009 than I did in my 4+ years of college! Needless to say, I was hooked.
The old saying is true, “Knowledge is power.”
I have been a veracious reader ever since and have continued my 50 book challenge. I don’t actually get hung up on reading 50 books… it’s the mindset and concept of never stop learning that I find most valuable.
For those of you thinking, ‘I don’t have the time to read that much’… I quietly shake my head at you. You will never find the time to read that much; you must make the time to do it! I run my own business, have an insane travel schedule, and am a happily married father of 21 month old twin sons (Luke & Jack, aka The Born Backcourt). If I can make the time, you can too!
Bottom line is this – ‘If it is important, do it every day. If it is not important, don’t do it at all.’ What could possibly be more important than your growth, development, and happiness? Instead of watching Family Guy reruns or sleeping in on the weekends… pick up a book!
I make it my goal to read for a minimum of 30 minutes every day (7 days a week, 365 days a year). Some days I read when I first wake up, but I almost always read right before I got to be bed each night. When I travel, I can usually read much more than 30 minutes… as long train rides and flights are ideal for knocking out a book or two.
I also count Audiobooks as books. Hey, it’s my challenge so they’re my rules! I download Audiobooks (signified by an ‘A’ in the list below) from iTunes and listen during any car ride over 15 minutes (for car rides under 15 minutes I rock out to some old school hip-hop!).
I read a wide variety of books and choose titles that will help me become a better coach, a better businessman, and/or a better person (husband/father). Those are the 3 areas of my life I am always looking to improve. Those are my 3 priorities (“If you have more than 3 priorities, than you don’t have any.”).
Below is my review for the books I read in 2011. I rated each book on a scale from 1 to 10 as well as marked which domain I found the book most beneficial – coaching, business, or personal. Any book marked ‘MUST READ’ is just that… a book I highly recommend you read… no matter who you are!
NOTE: anything marked for “coaching” would be beneficial for players as well!
1. The Change Your Life Quote Book by Allen Klein
7 – Personal – I am self-admitted quote junkie and picked up a handful of new ones from this book.
2. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child (A) by John Medina
7 – Personal – As the father of twin sons, I found a lot of helpful info in this book. Fingers crossed my boys turn out smart and happy… and in the NBA (j/k).
3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (A) by Carol Dweck
8 – Personal/Coaching – Excellent breakdown of how our minds work and what motivates us.
4. Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (A) by Patrick Lencioni
7 – Coaching – A bit bland, but an invaluable concept. Overcoming these 5 dysfunctions will lead to success.
5. The Power of Who by Bob Beaudine
9 – Personal/Business – Tremendous resource on why traditional networking doesn’t work. I’m a big fan of Mr. Beaudine’s work.
6. A Coach and a Miracle by Jim Johnson
10 – Coaching/Personal – Heartwarming story of Jason ‘J-Mac’ McElwain, the high school basketball manager with autism who got in the last game of the season and dropped 20 points in 4 minutes. (MUST READ)
7. Listen To Me by Ivan Thomas
7 – Personal – Good resource for being a better parent.
8. 45 Tips for Discovering Your Child’s Gifts by Ivan Thomas
7 – Personal – Same as #7.
9. Parent Your Best by Jeremy Boone
9 – Personal – Excellent resource on how to parent like a champion so you help, not hinder, your child’s happiness and success on and off the court or field.
10. The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric
10 – Personal/Coaching – Brilliant compilation of stories and concepts from some of the most fascinating people on the planet. (MUST READ)
11. Display of Power by Daymond John
9 – Business – I am a huge fan of the show Shark Tank and found this book to be just as entertaining and helpful. Daymond’s story is an inspiration to me as a small business owner.
12. The Brand Within by Daymond John
9 – Business – Same as #11
13. Basketball Junkie by Chris Herron
10 – Coaching/Personal – Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read… captivating story that will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on your own life. I read this book, from cover to cover, in under 24 hours. (MUST READ)
14. The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman
10 – Coaching/Personal – Phenomenal story on leadership. Quick and easy read. (MUST READ)
15. Advances in Functional Training by Michael Boyle
10 – Coaching – Coach Boyle is one of the most respected people in the strength & conditioning industry. Read this book and you will know why. (MUST READ for anyone involved in strength & conditioning)
16. 8,789 Words of Wisdom by Barbara Ann Kipfer
7 – Personal/Business – This was the thickest quote book I had ever seen!
17. Zero Regrets (A) by Apolo Ohno
9 – Coaching/Personal – A fascinating story of an Olympic champion, told from his point of view. He had an amazing journey and an outstanding perspective.
18. The Compound Effect (A) by Darren Hardy
10 – Business/Personal/Coaching – This book should be required reading for seniors in college, regardless of major. If you apply ‘the compound effect’ to your life, you will be successful. (MUST READ)
19. Can I Keep My Jersey by Paul Shirley
9 – Coaching – Absolutely hysterical, one of the funniest and most entertaining books I have ever read. If you love basketball, you will love this book.
20. How They Did It by Robert Jordan
8 – Business – A compilation of tips and advice from hundreds of successful business owners.
21. ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
8 – Business – Very helpful and practical info on building a successful business.
22. Barefoot in Boston by Arthur Horne
8 – Coaching – Fantastic resource on the benefits of barefoot training and why the feet are so important in everything we do.
23. No Bullshit Social Media by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers
8 – Business – A straight to the point resource on utilizing social media.
24. Basketball Talk, the Way it Should Be by Audley Stephenson
7 – Personal – A comical compilation of quotes from NBA players and coaches.
25. Stop Saying You’re Fine (A) by Mel Robbins
8 – Personal – Great resource for living your personal best by stop making excuses.
26. Training Camp by Jon Gordon
10 – Personal/Coaching – Brilliant story on being the best you can be. Quick and easy read. (MUST READ)
27. Get Bold by Sandy Carter
8 – Business – Helpful ideas for succeeding in business.
28. Unlimited (A) by Jillian Michaels
8 – Personal – Same as #25.
29. It’s Not About You by Bob Burg
10 – Personal/Business – I became a huge Bob Burg fan after reading ‘The Go-Giver’ and ‘Go-Givers Sell More.’ This book was just as good! (MUST READ)
30. Endless Referrals (CD) by Bog Burg
8 – Business – A friend loaned me some of Bob’s earlier work on CD. Although a bit out dated because it was written pre-social media, his concepts are still very, very valuable.
31. How to Win Without Intimidation (CD) by Bob Burg
8 – Business – Same as #30.
32. The Success Formula (CD) by Bob Burg
8 – Business – Same as #30.
33. Onward (A) by Howard Schultz
9 – Business – A bit long, but well worth the time. Fascinating account of the rise, fall and rise of Starbucks.
34. Steve Jobs (A) by Walter Isaacson
9 – Business – Captivating account of the life of Steve Jobs (RIP). He was part genius, part A-hole… but was absolutely one of a kind.
35. More than Just a Game by Larry McKenzie
8 – Coaching – Solid perspective on life and on the game as told by a high school coach.
36. The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
10 – Coaching – This book rivals ‘Can I Keep My Jersey’ for funniest basketball book on the planet! (MUST READ if you love basketball)
37. How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold
10 – Business/Personal – Everything I said about ‘The Compound Effect’ rings true for this book. It absolutely should be required reading for seniors in college, regardless of major. If you this mindset, you will be financially successful. (MUST READ)
38. Fistitude by Sean Glaze
9 – Coaching – Uplifting story that every coach and player should read. I read it cover to cover in one sitting.
39. Bounce by Matthew Syed
10 – Coaching/Personal – If you enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, this was cut from the same cloth. (MUST READ)
40. Bench Rules by Kevin Christiansen
8 – Coaching – Sound advice for the players on the end of the bench.
41. Shaq: Uncut by Shaquille O’Neal
9 – Coaching/Personal – Hilarious account of The Big Diesel’s life, told through his eyes.
42. Live and Learn and Pass It On by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
9 – Personal – Impactful compilation of things folks ages 5 to 95 have learned in their lives.
43. Socialnomics by Erik Qualman
9 – Business – One of the better books on social media I have read. This book ‘gets it.’
44. Convict Conditioning by Paul ‘Coach’ Wade
9 – Coaching – The best resource I have come across on purposeful bodyweight strength training. (MUST READ for anyone involved in strength & conditioning)
45. Convict Conditioning 2 by Paul ‘Coach’ Wade
9 – Coaching – Same as #44.
46. The New Toughness Training for Sports by James E. Loehr
10 – Coaching/Personal – This books ranks up there with ‘Mind Gym’ by Gary Mack as the best resource I have read on mental training and ‘Playing Present.’ Ironically, the ‘new’ in the title is a bit misleading as it was written in the early ’90’s. Regardless, it still rings true. Luke and Jack will be required to read this prior to starting kindergarten. (MUST READ)
47. The Power of Double Goal Coaching by Jim Thompson
10 – Coaching – This book epitomizes the PCA (Positive Coaching Alliance), a group I hope to become much more involved with because of how much I believe in their values and mission. (MUST READ)
Here are the books I will start with in 2012:
How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban
The Game of My Life by Jason ‘J-Mac’ McElwain
Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel
Walk On by Alan Williams
177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold
The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr
The Seed by Jon Gordon
Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell
Raising the Bar by Gary Erickson
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore
Let Me Tell You a Story by Red Auerbach
Blink by Malcolm Galdwell
Here are my book lists from the last two years:
2009 Book List: http://blog.strongerteam.com/post/2009/12/09/Mission-Accomplished.aspx
2010 Book List: http://blog.strongerteam.com/post/2010/12/21/2010-Book-List.aspx
I hope you find these lists helpful. I would love your feedback as well as suggestions for additional books. Please post your thoughts on Twitter (tag me with @AlanStein) or on the Stronger Team Facebook page (www.StrongerTeam.com/StrongerTeam).
Most importantly, I also challenge you to set a reading goal for 2012! Start with reading all of the MUST READs listed above.
PS: My good friend Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) shared with me the following list of New Year’s Resolutions that all players should accept:
1) Love the game.
2) Respect the game.
3) Prepare for the game.
4) Learn the game.
5) Improve your game.
This list also applies to coaches!