Book reviews

Every year for 10 years we have released our favorite books of the year, and this year we had an amazing assortment of books that crossed our path. We are so blessed that all of these authors also took the time to join us on the Way of Champions Podcast so you can listen to the interview first before you buy. All of the links are Amazon affiliate links, so we do make a few cents per book if you purchase one, which helps us run this website. Thanks so much for your support, and happy reading!

2022 Book of the Year:

Do Hard Things: How We Get Resilience Wrong and the Science of Real Toughness by Steve Magness

Our 2022 book of the year is a fantastic read on the science of resilience, and the mythology surrounding developing toughness that has permeated the narrative and created some very poor sporting outcomes for many athletes. Magness was an elite runner and NCAA Division I coach whose writing around the science of sport for Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Outside, and Runners World brings this topic to life. If you want to learn how to develop tougher, more resilient athletes, and understand the science behind it, this book is for you. We had Magness on the podcast when the book was released, click here to listen.

2022 Book of the Year Runner Up:

The Tyranny of Talent: How it Compels and Limits Achievement, and Why You Should Ignore It by Joe Baker

This is a wonderful book for coaches and anyone involved in the athlete development space, as well as parents trying to decide if their child has talent/ability, and well as the characteristics to make it as a high achiever. Baker lays out a very nuanced view of talent, and explains many of the myths around it and why we get identification wrong so often. He explains the effects of nature vs nurture, how labels and the Matthew Effect can affect development, and the need to not put too much stock into rigid LTAD systems. It is a great read. Our interview with Joe will be released Friday Dec 9.

For Parents:

Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Have Ruined Youth Sports, and Why it Matters by Linda Flanagan

This book provides an up to date analysis of the issues that parents and athletes face in North American youth sport, as well as recent statistics around participation, dropout, injuries, etc.. Sport has become a business, and the business of sport does not necessarily serve the needs of children within sport. Flanagan articulately outlines the obstacles that parents are facing when navigating the youth sport industrial complex, and provides sound advice for parents, coaches and administrators to keep youth sport a place for positive human and athlete development. We had Flanagan on the podcast a few months back, click here to listen.

For Coaches:

The Culture Playbook by Dan Coyle

We are huge Dan Coyle fans, and this book is a follow up workbook to his bestseller The Culture Code. It is a great book to work through with any team, as it is full of activities and ideas to promote healthy conversation, establish and define core values, and provide a safe, inclusive environment that will allow your athletes to thrive. I refer to this book often in my team development work and you should as well. Here is our interview with Dan Coyle on how to use this book to build your culture.

For Athletes:

A Dream Worth Fighting For by Tim Hightower

On October 23, 2011, Tim Hightower was the starting running back for the Washington Commanders (then known as the Redskins) of the National Football League, when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a game. Over the next four years he faced a lengthy recovery in body and soul. His is a story of strength, resilience, faith, courage, and determination – surviving five surgeries, financial challenges, and periods of homelessness to return to play in the NFL. Today he is the Director of Alumni Relations for the Washington Commanders and a speaker who shares his story of resilience and inspiration. His story is both powerful and inspiring. We had Tim on the podcast and his story just might bring you to tears, click here to listen.


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Tagged under: book reviews, Coaching, Parenting