Here you will find our book reviews and the books we recommend. Get a head-start on an important book we’ve review or quick preview before you buy it. You can also quickly understand the key messages and how it applies to your role in sport. We cover what is most relevant and has a practical application. You may find our sections for our most recent articles, resources and materials, latest newsletters, or 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson video series valuable too.
This book comes highly recommended from the whole team at Athlete Assessments. Whereas some other books on leadership and culture can be dense reads you feel forced to slug through, Legacy is compelling reading. It is very easy to read in a day or over the weekend, highlighting the exceptional culture and legacy of the New Zealand All Blacks, which has resulted in their tremendous success.
If you are interested in emotional intelligence, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman answers everything you need to know on the topic. It isn’t for the faint-hearted and you’ll know what I mean when you see the thickness of it and the size of the print. But it is the ultimate guide and reference point and we highly, highly recommend it. Make sure you mark the pages in the book or on your device as you go, as it is a book that you’ll want to go back to time and time again. Goleman is the man on emotional intelligence! (Click here to read our article about Emotional Intelligence where we refer to this book.)
No question, the Talent Code by Daniel Coyle is a must-read. Not only is it a wealth of excellent research that is explained extremely well, it is a “how to” for elite performance. I’ve read it a couple of times, just so I extracted as many lessons as I could. Brilliant! (Click here to read our book review of The Talent Code)
Why we recommend it: All of Gladwell’s books are exceptional reads, but Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is our all-time favorite. If you only read one book, this is it. His specific gift is in taking complex research and concepts and explaining them in an easy to understand way. Most importantly, when you read his work, you can start applying the lessons in your own situations.
Why we recommend it: Bringing together a group of people to forge a high performing team culture is no simple exercise. It doesn’t happen by itself, nor is it a ‘matter of time’. Master coaches understand the intricacies, focus and persistence it takes. Be confident in managing your team’s unique culture, with practical coaching strategies to keep your team on the right track. It can be difficult to find a resource that can effectively guide your team through the potential pitfalls of culture. But this eBook is designed to take you step by step through the four distinct types of culture, and how to coach for these cultures.
The Emotions of Normal People by William Moulton Marston takes you back to the source of DISC, as it is the original publication written by the creator of DISC, William Moulton Marston.
‘The Sports Playbook unravels the mystery of repeated success and reveals a blueprint for creating winning teams. It’s a ‘how to’ manual for establishing a winning culture and this is the crux of why we love it!
Dr Nicole Detling, Mental Performance Coach to Team USA at the last three Winter Olympics co-authored this fundamental manual on mental performance with her academic and professional mentor, Dr Keith Henschen.
In this exciting analysis of sport business, authors estimate the global sports market; which includes events, infrastructure, training, plus the manufacture and retail of sporting goods, to be worth around $700 billion. They attribute the market’s rapid rise in value to the entrepreneurial actions of key players in media and sport management.
GOLF The Ultimate Mind Game is not only for golfers. What we love about this book is that it takes sport psychology principles, explains them in plain English and gives relevant examples of the application. Few sport psychology books can claim this. While obviously all of the examples are golf examples, it is very easy for you to extend the content to your own sport. If you’ve been hesitant to learn more about sport psychology or previously put it in the ‘too hard basket’, this book will very simply and effectively teach you more than enough to make a step change in your program.
An interesting book with many fascinating coaching stories, well worth the read for those who love getting an insight into other sports programs. Read our book review for a more detail. Upfront, you should know that this is a business book that looks at the sporting world for ways that the business world can improve individual and team performance. This book hasn’t been written for sports people, but as someone involved in sport, it is still extremely valuable and you’ll end up with many pages marked.
One of the striking aspects of How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, is that Rath and Clifton come from the side of psychology that looks at what is ‘right’ with people, rather than what often seems the traditional approach of psychology, of looking at what is ‘wrong’ with people.
Overall Strengths Based Leadership is an excellent book about the benefits of focusing on and working on people’s strengths. It shares an enormous body of research on leadership and real life examples. There is an excellent chapter about why people follow, which is a must read for everyone. (Click here to read our article on the book’s chapter about Why People Follow)
In his new book The Only Way to Win, Jim Loehr draws upon two decades of work with Fortune 500 executives, world-class athletes and other high achievers at the Human Performance Institute (HPI) to reveal surprising insights about achievement motivation.
‘Our Iceberg is Melting’ has become a foundational book for many leadership and change management programs around the world. The book is based on John Kotter’s ‘8 Step Change Process’ and deals with team and organizational change, as opposed to personal change. The book takes approximately 45 minutes to read and outlines how to deliver change in the most effective way. Also explored are the different ways people react to change and the various roles people play when change is being planned and is occurring. The use of characters helps us to clearly identify our roles and the role of other’s in the planning and implementation stages of the change process.
Why we recommend it: If you loved earlier bestsellers (The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw), you’ll enjoy David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Consistent with all his books, he gives you a different way to look at things, and in this case how we perceive the underdog and disadvantage. He takes important elements from the most unlikely of places, be it history, research or stories, and puts forward a solid case for re-thinking important issues and challenges the status quo.
As one of the leading management and leadership writers of all time, Covey’s books are outstanding and this book is one of his best and most popular. We regard it as a ‘must read’ and while written over 25 years ago, it is more relevant than ever.
Crucial Conversations A quality book on a topic that everyone in sport needs to deal with – it is a must-have on every sports coaches’ bookshelf (and ideally well read!). In sport, stakes are often incredibly high and it is these times that miss-handling the situation can be extremely costly. This book provides a ‘how-to’ guide for success in any conflict.
While written back in 2007, unfortunately many of the cautionary lessons from Game On by Tom Farrey remain unlearned. This book should be read by every sport development professional, coach, parent and really anyone involved in sport, is involved with children or is a human! While it does get a tiny bit opinionated in places, the book pulls together an enormous wealthy of research, coupled with stories of people Tom has met.
‘Who Moved My Cheese’ is the most essential book written for understanding and navigating personal change. The book uses characters each of us will either identify in ourselves or people we know to explore the different approaches and emotions experienced when dealing with impending change. The characters used show how change can be embraced in a positive way or not and the impact of either approach on one’s long term success. This book has been used for every change management program within the corporate world for decades and will continue to be a foundational book on how to better manage personal change.
An unlikely book for our recommended list but a client recommended it to us and when we read the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, we all really enjoyed it. Very little about sport directly but some great gems within that you’ll be interested to know and keen to implement. (Click here to read the article that we refer to The Checklist Manifesto book.) More for the avid reader than someone looking to build their knowledge on sport and coaching, but if you have any family or friends in the medical industry – it is a must-read for them.
This book is our number one, favorite book of 2013 (and possibly so far this decade – yes, it is that great!). The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.
In essence ‘The Little Book of Talent’ by Daniel Coyle explores 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills. However in reality it is so much more. We loved Daniel Coyle’s bestselling book The Talent Code, and this book continues Coyle’s tradition of insightful examples and tremendous principles which can be easily applied to ‘real life’ situations.
Looking for a short activity on resiliency you can do with your athletes? Then we highly recommend getting them to read ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss. The blurb on the back of the book reads: “From bang-ups to hang-ups to lurches and slumps. Dr. Seuss takes a hilarious look at the mishaps and misadventures that life may have in store for us”.