Two new books

I just bought two new books in preparation for the fall. I'll post notes later this month, but both look interesting and come recommended by coaches and administrators I respect.

First up: The Captain Class which I think will be very helpful and useful with my captain and the older members of the team:

The other book is aimed at the new students and is titled U Thrive:

Notes on Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

I just got back from a great quick trip to Chicago. I was there for an informal education session with a consulting firm I work with a few times a year.  A few of us shared notes, ideas and presentations we had heard or read over the past few months.

I shared my notes from a recent Anders Ericcson lecture I attended. Creating presentations always helps to deepen my understanding of a topic. Much of what I shared overlaps with what is in the outstanding book Peak.  (I'll list those notes below.)

There was one section of the book that was not covered with depth in the lecture, but seemed particularly interesting and important to me. This was his section on "mental representations."

This section matters for two reasons:

The first,  is the actual idea of mental representations, which he introduces and credits as one one of the key differences between peak performers and the rest of us.

(Much of the book discusses how someone becomes a peak performer or an expert. This is co…

20 Non-Fiction (Non-Coaching) Books

20+ Non-Fiction Reads and Re-Reads (in no particular order)

I'm sure I have forgotten something so I will keep adding and subtracting.

1. Man's Search For Meaning  (Victor Frankl)

"Between stimulus and response, man has a choice."

2. Seeking Wisdom (Peter Bevelin)

3. Anti-Fragile, (Nassim Taleb)  (Also like Fooled By Randomness,The Black Swan)
Anti-Fragile is the book I am most likely to re-read each year.

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius” 

4.  Meditations by Marcus Aurelius  (The Obstacle is the Way, Daily Stoic)

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

5.  Stumbling on Happiness  (Daniel Gilbert)

"If you are like most people, than like most people, you don't know you are like most people."

7. The Long Loneliness (Dorothy Day) (Also, Robert Coles book on Day and The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie)

8. The Autobiography of Malcolm X  (Told to Alex Haley)

9. Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke)

"There is on…

Morgan Housel

You probably haven't heard of Morgan Housel. I discovered his writing first at The Motley Fool, a financial website with the focus of educating and empowering each of us to be able to manage and invest our own money.

He wrote thoughtful pieces that tied together disparate ideas and tried to make sense of the world.

Now he works at something called The Collaborative Fund.  I try and read as much of what he writes as I can.  Not just because I'm interested in investing --which I am--but because he pulls ideas from a wide range of writers, thinkers and areas of expertise and synthesizes them into a meaningful perspective that can serve us well as we make decisions.

Anyway, here is a link to his latest big report--What We Said When the World Changed

 I also enjoyed his most recent article.


Did you see the recent NY Times article by Susan Cain about the importance of followers on your teams and in your organizations? She made a compelling case that we emphasize the leadership requirements for all applicants and students ignoring the obvious--not everybody can be the leader.

"Yet a well-functioning student body — not to mention polity — also needs followers. It needs team players. And it needs those who go their own way. It needs leaders who are called to service rather than to status." Part of the issue is how we define leadership.  She argues we need to expand the definition beyond ordering people around and include leading by doing, creating and expanding our areas of knowledge and possibility.  By doing so we would also reduce the pressure on creative and curious students who do not lead in the traditional manners, but feel pressure to do so in order to be accepted into our most prestigious institutions.

She evokes the beauty of a team where each member p…

Making Sense of Our Times

The books I'm reading to make sense of current times:

Just read:
Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times (biography) --Actually I listened to this while I drove from New York to Florida.  Cleared up many of my misconceptions about her life and work, as well as expanding my knowledge about the Nazis.

Arendt was intellectually brave, willing to stand for her ideas and her truth, despite their unpopularity.

I now want to read Eichman in Jerusalem.

Am reading:
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Power and Money (non-fiction) I bought this over a year ago after I read an interview of Charlie Munger who called it riveting. Then this huge book arrived clearly dense with the entire history of oil. I didn't pick it up until recently thinking about how much oil is driving our foreign policy.

Surprising myself--I am totally enjoying this book.  Fascinating history, well written and completely relevant.

Next up:
A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin's Wa…

Finding the Winning Edge

Before I left Evanston, IL to go coach the Carolina Courage in the WUSA,  I was wandering through Barnes and Noble and noticed a book by Bill Walsh about leading a professional football team.  The book was titled, Finding the Winning Edge.

I grabbed it off the shelf, bought it and quickly put it away to read later. I basically forgot about it.

Halfway through that first professional season I picked the book up.

Bill Walsh tells you exactly how to put the "pro" into any organization. He lays out a meticulous and detailed description of how to build a professional football team.  Some of the information contained within this book I will never need to know like "Sample practice for developing a quarterback's mechanics."

Nevertheless, I found it riveting at the time.  I still do. I might not pick it up for a year, but when I do I wonder how I let myself get far from its message.

I loved his other books. They tell a good story.  In them he supplies the narrative of…