Book reviews

It’s that time of year for us to share our favorite, most important books of 2023. We were able to interview some amazing authors this year, and read so, so many good books, but a few books really stood out to us as exceptional. Many of these books have been impactful on both a personal and a professional level and go far beyond sport. I don’t know that I have an overall favorite because they were all meaningful in different ways and I know they will be meaningful to you as well. So, without further ado, here are our five favorite books of the year. My apologies to Lauren Fleshman, her book is not pictured above as I cannot find my copy of her book which means I have loaned it to a friend demanding they read it (which is a good thing I guess). Click on any of the titles to grab these books off of Amazon. Full disclosure they are affiliate links so we will make $.30 per book if you buy one.

The First Rule of Mastery by Michael Gervais

Michael Gervais is the host of the “Finding Mastery Podcast,” as well as a performance psychologist, working with some of the top professional and world champion athletes, executives, and leaders throughout the world. His book and his recent podcast interview with us is really exceptional as it defines the first rule of mastery as performing from the inside out. He coins the term FOPO, “fear of other peoples opinions,” as the number one obstacle to fulfillment and happiness. He also gives a great description of how destructive a performance driven identity is (whihc leads ot perfectionism, fear of failure, and more), and how we must replace it with a purpose driven identity, so that our self-worth,  confidence, and performance is not affected by outside voices. This book will help anyone regardless of sport or pursuit. Click here for the interview that Jerry and I had with Mike.

Master of Change by Brad Stulberg

Brad Stulberg is the other co-author of “The Growth Equation Newsletter” with last year’s winner Steve Magness (Do Hard Things) and clearly these two were very busy this year. Master of Change is about how to navigate change within our lives, as every person undergoes dozens of significant life events. He advocates for cultivating a rugged, flexible sense of self to form the type of identity that will help you navigate changes And how to take productive action even during times of uncertainty. I found this book incredibly useful during a year of huge changes in my life and I think you will as well. Click here to listen to my interview with Brad.

Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman

Fleshman was an elite collegiate and professional runner and her book is an incredible tool kit for understanding how to provide quality athletic experiences for our girls. She describes how so much of the performance research is done only on men, and then we just assume that we must coach women the same, yet emerging research shows how wrong this is. I learned a ton from this book and our interview with Lauren and it made me rethink how we coach and develop our female athletes, especially as they go through puberty and tend to plateau where boys tend to improve exponentially.  Click here to listen to the interview Jerry and I did with Lauren this year.

Win Like a Girl by Maureen Monte

This book just made the list as it was recently published. It is the only fictional book on the list, but the book has a nonfiction component to it with a tool kit for developing and coaching female athletes. Maureen Monte has been a leader, incorporate leadership development and has recently transitioned to working with sports teams. Her use of the strengths finder tool has given her some fascinating data points when it comes to how girls gain confidence differently from boys, and how intentional coaches must be about developing confidence. Click here to listen to our interview with Maureen.

Thanks everyone, and a big shout out to the other amazing authors we had on the podcast this year such as George Mumford, JP, Nerbun, Scott Clancy, Hugh McCutcheon, Troy Urdahl and others. if you have any other books that you would like to recommend, please add them to the Facebook comments below. Thanks everyone and happy holiday reading!


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