My 2017 Reading List

In the tradition of lists from 2014, 2015, and 2016, here is my reading list for 2017.

The Athletic Skills Model: Optimizing Talent Development Through Movement Education – Rene Wormhoudt

I admit that I have waited for this book for nearly 5 years and the authors are preaching to the choir. It is a very good book, but for a model, I would like a few more details. I like the book because it conforms to much of what I believe: early diversification, more focus on motor control, differential learning, and more. It is a good mix of the practical and theoretical.

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALS, and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work – Steven Kotler

I like Kotler’s The Rise of Superman better, but he does a good job of mixing stories with science. The book recommends everything from meditation to pharmacological aids in the pursuit of creativity and flow.

Now What? The Ongoing Pursuit of Improved Performance – Dan John

As I have written elsewhere, Dan John is my favorite writer in athletic development. Easy Strength is one of the books that I recommend the most. Now What summarizes many of his ideas from past books and provides some clear advice to make change. His wisdom is simple, yet profound.

Shakespeare the Coach – Ricin’s Charlesworth

An interesting look at the issues of coaching through the lens of Shakespeare.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation – Thich Nhat Hanh

I just couldn’t get into this book.

Sports Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation: Integrating Medicine and Science for Performance Solutions – David Joyce and Daniel Lewindon

I did not read this book from cover to cover. I have skimmed specific chapters at specific times. It is a valuable resource to which I can refer when a player is injured, and I need some new ideas to assist the player with her rehab.

Comprehensive Strength and Conditioning: Physical Preparation for Sports Performance – Paul Gamble

I read this book to see if it would be a better book for the Introduction to Strength & Conditioning class that I taught. I preferred it to the text that we used. It is a good, easy to use guide for S&C.

Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United – Alex Ferguson

I generally am not a fan of coach’s autobiographies, but this starts strong before petering out a the end. The book has great insights into leadership and the management of the team.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future – Peter Thiel

An interesting look at business that has some cross over to sports, especially with the emphasis on principles instead of formulas.

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions – Gerd Gigerenzer

A good explanation of the importance of rules of thumb or heuristics when faced with uncertainty.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise – K. Anders Ericsson

I know virtually every coach recommends this book, but I found it somewhat disingenuous. I never heard Ericsson question Gladwell’s interpretation of his research until scientists such as Ross Tucker began to debate his research methods and conclusions. I also find it hard to believe that he has never heard of Jean Cote and Cote and colleagues’ research into deliberate play. There may be nuggets of value in the book, but these are the issues that stand out to me.

Confessions of an Imperfect Coach: An Experiment in Team Culture That Changed Everything – Kate Leavell

Leavell is a lacrosse coach, but the book is about coaching and team culture, not lacrosse. The big take away from the book is to read Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. There are some good parts, and some good reminders for coaches who are feeling bad or feeling like they are failing, but overall, the book rambles.

Additionally, I read several books by Simon Rich, finally finished Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, and thoroughly enjoyed Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid, which was my favorite book of the year.

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