“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Haruki Murakam

Books, books, and more books. Here are some of the best books for coaches and leaders hoping to develop their best selves and their best teams. Scroll down for books that have nothing to do with sports as well, but everything to  do with developing our selves and teams

books for coaches and leaders


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This week’s recommendation:

Powerhouse: 13 Teamwork Tactics that build Excellence and unrivaled success

best books for coaches and leaders

Veeck as in Wreck

Are you interested in selling your sport as well as coaching it? Read this biography of the master sports salesman. I read it first because Peter Wilt told me to and have never regretted it.

Leadership in Turbulent Times

This book definitely is useful to understand the leadership traits and strengths required when times are hard. But, the book also shows the pathway and the steps to becoming the leader capable of excellence when all around is falling apart. Wonderful read.

Last week’s recommendation: The Magic of Thinking Big

Jot that down in your success rule book now: Action cures fear

This book is corny, but I’m following its recommendations and it helps me.

The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible Ebooks

The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible Ebooks is slightly more advanced than the other two guides, and is aimed at bloggers who’re confident about writing posts. I

On the Field and Court

Here are some of the best books for coaches and leaders in no order. I am adding and culling resources constantly.

*I have read and reread the Inner Game of Tennis . I highly recommend. I write about it often.

When one finds one’s way to the direct experience of it, when one can actually meet face to face with the essence of life, then he has achieved the first – but not the final – goal of the Inner Game. When the lighthouse of the home port is in sight, the ship’s radar can be turned off and the navigation aids set aside. What remains is to keep the lighthouse in sight and simply sail toward it.

A good companion to The Inner Game is a baseball book written from a player’s point of view, The Way of Baseball by Shawn Green.

*My favorite coaching book: Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh. This book was indispensable when I was coaching professionally. A hundred brilliant nuggets buried within all the detail. Walsh organizes his thinking about creating a successful professional organization with as much depth as Peter Drucker. And that is tough to do.

Update: I recently used this book again when helping a coach. Although some has to be updated–particularly about communication–it’s amazing to me how well this book stands up. It is literally the most helpful coaching book I have ever read. All his other books are good, and useful, but this book is indispensable.

Legacy Fascinating look at the culture and success story of New Zealand’s All Blacks.

*Most people would recommend Flow, which is very good, but also dense and hard to get through. The ideas in Flow are spot on, however, and so I recommend a wonderful, but lesser known book by the same author called Finding Flow. Finding Flow, written for the non-academic, describes flow well and how to find it in life as well as sports.

Flow works well with Peak–the ideas in combination are useful for designing the right level of challenge for each of your athletes.

*Have you read my review of Mindset by Carol Dweck? Or just get the book.  It’s been updated to include her views on “false growth mindset.” Must read for parents, coaches and athletes.

*I highly recommend Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Taleb.

“I want to live happily in a world I don’t understand.”

I have now re-read Antifragile 3 times. Others may prefer Fooled by Randomness or The Black Swan. All are good resources and worth reading.

*A very helpful book for any coach or leader, Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Peter Lenconi, is a leadership fable. Typically I do not like these business books that teach through fables and stories, but this distills dynamics that often trouble teams down to an essential list of five.

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Off the Field of Court

*From there it follows that my favorite business writer is the one and only Peter Drucker. Drucker’s great gift is clarity and simplicity. His books give me energy. They make me want to run a business. A good place to start: The Essential Drucker

*I also love anything by or about Charlie Munger.

*On my desk at work at all times: Seeking Wisdom From Darwin to Munger.  Why is this on my desk all the time? Charlie Munger. It helps to cross the divide between investing and life. So much that makes one successful in one area can be useful to those in other disciplines. This book crosses divides.

*My favorite sports novel: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Sure it’s a novel, but there is some true wisdom regarding coaching in this novel. Interesting note, the best coach in the book is a teammate. And, in fairness I can’t think of another sports novel that I have read. Can you? Would love recommendations.

*On many people’s must read list regardless of your profession or purpose, the great Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl




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