"The best way for a young person to build character is for him to attempt something where there is a real and serious possibility of failure. In a high-risk endeavor, whether it’s in business or athletics or the arts, you are more likely to experience colossal defeat than in a low-risk one—but you’re also more likely to achieve real and original success."
Book 39 of the Year: How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Paul Tough presents very comprehensive research on why some children succeed and others don't. The bottom line... research shows it comes down to character. The good news is character can be developed, but it starts in the home and then in the classroom and on the sports field.
“The culture in which we live stresses looking out for number one. Without adopting such a self-centered value system, we can demand the best of ourselves while we are extending our hands to help others.”
Book 38 of the Year "Gifted Hands" by Ben Carson
Whether you like the man or not, he has an incredible story. He overcame some very challenging circumstances to become one of the most accomplished neurosurgeons of all time. A very emotional emotional read as he describes all the surgeries he completed on young children.
John Wooden's blueprint for leadership.
Book 37 of the Year: Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden
Coach Wooden was an amazing person whose writing has influenced me more than any other author. Still, I read this book nearly 10 years ago and sadly I didn't follow enough of his advice. If I had I would have avoided a lot of the mistakes I made in coaching. If I was to have read only one coaching book, this would be it.
One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error. I propose to take our countrymen’s claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard.”
Book 36 of the Year Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Powerful and beautiful writing by an author to his son that does not shy away from the feelings and truths of being black in America.
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.” - Mark Manson
Book 35 of the Year: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*&% by Mark Manson
Sorry if the title offends you! The book is far more than it lets on from the title. Now I am not a big fan of “self help” books, but I had a friend insist I read this book. Apparently he thinks I need help! Insightful read, quite funny, and the message is more about caring about the important things in life rather than caring about the things we shouldn't care about.
“Happiness is not the belief that we don't need to change; it's the realization that we can.” -Shawn Achor
Book 34 of the Year: Before Happiness by Shawn Achor
If you like psychology, this is one of the best books on psychology I have ever read. This is not just some self-help book, but actually presents very detailed research about the benefits of a positive mindset and gives the reader some practical and controllable strategies.
“The “naturalness bias” is a hidden prejudice against those who’ve achieved what they have because they worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they’re naturally talented. The focus on talent distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is effort”
Book 33 of the Year: Grit by Angela Duckworth
The book discusses the science, research, and experiences of many highly successful people to show how success is more about Grit and less about talent. Duckworth’s book is a phenomenal read for those in business, parenting, sports, and education. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should check it out!
"Until you experience a true heart posture shift and value human beings for who they are, you will remain trapped in transactional leadership."
Book 32 of the Year: Transformational Leadership by Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert
Absolutely one of the best books for coaches that I have read. Powerful principles to coach and live your life by and includes some transformational tools.
“Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map—these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.”
Book 31 of the Year: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
“The industrialist (your boss, perhaps) demands that everything be proven, efficient, and risk free. The artist seeks none of these. The value of art is in your willingness to stare down the risk and to embrace the void of possible failure.”
"A restless voice kept me up at night, telling me that until I found meaning, the money wouldn’t matter. It too me that I’d find far more fulfillment if I measured my life in purpose, not profits. And that I didn’t have to keep waiting, that now was the perfect moment to start chasing my biggest dreams."
Book 30 of the Year: The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun. Amazing story of a 23 year old’s journey in leaving his big NYC consulting job to start a world changing organization Pencils of Promise.
"The biggest opportunities for growth are not found in the midst of success, but in the methods through which we address failure."
“Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go—end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it.”
Book 29 of the Year: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
Great book for parents, teachers and coaches discussing the world’s talent hotbeds in academics, athletics, and music. Shows the science behind learning and where talent comes from... Master coaching + deep practice + ignition= Talent.
“People are not doing things because of us; they are doing things because of who they are.”
Book 28 of the Year: How to Stop the Pain by Dr. James B. Richards
A book about freeing yourself from the need to judge others and the freedom you can experience from that transformation.
“The moment I come to the place where I feel I can see your faults more clearly than I can see my own, I have become a hypocrite.”
“I saw in myself a leader who was so sure of the brilliance of his own ideas that he couldn’t allow brilliance in anyone else’s; a leader who felt he was so ‘enlightened’ that he needed to see workers negatively in order to prove his enlightenment; a leader so driven to be the best that he made sure no one else could be as good as he was.”
Book 27 of the Year: Leadership and Self Deception by The Abridger Institute
Transformational leadership lessons and principles told through the story of a man who has just started a new job and is being mentored by his boss. Great book for anybody facing struggles in work and home relationships
“Burn your wish list. I want to see your commitment list. I want to know what you are committed to doing with your 24 hours a day to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. What are you willing to sacrifice inside your 86,400 seconds every day to become the person you want to be.”
Book 26 of the Year: Burn Your Goals by Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert
I am not lying when I say I have read this book 3 times in just the last 12 months. I really do not think anything else needs to be said… Buy it and read it if you haven’t already done so.
“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”
Book 25 of the Year: Deep Work by Cal Newport
Great book discussing the benefits of deep work and the process you should follow to begin to work more deeply. Deep work is becoming more valued in our new economy, but harder to come by because of all the technological distractions we have to endure. I love the very practical approaches it presents to help us disconnect from things that are wasting so much of our time in life!
"What people believe they are capable of accomplish largely determines how much they will actually accomplish."
Book 24 of the Year “10 Minute Toughness” by Jason Selk
A really practical book laying out a concrete way to train yourself to be at your best mentally. Highly recommend for athletes or those that need to improve their mental toughness in their career.
“Maximum performance emerges from the peer pressure of a community working toward a common mission.”
Book 23 of the Year: Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks by August Turak
An awesome business book discussing the importance of living a mission that is centered around service and selflessness. Building culture comes down to living a mission, transformation, and community. Vulnerability, kindness, and sincerity are necessary qualities for leaders to be truly successful.
“The best leaders realize that the more they focus on making other people successful, the more successful they become.”
“When our work-related goals are beacons for a higher purpose- for making us better, more caring, more generous, more virtuous human beings and, by doing so, making the people around us, as well as the world, better—then they are actually necessary and vital in our pursuit of enduring value and well-being.”
Book 22 of the Year: The Only Way to Win by Jim Loehr
Loehr shows how building character, in particular moral character, is critical to long term success and fulfillment in life. Presents a very practical way for businesses, teams, and families to build character.
Also reveals evidence that sports are not building character, but are responsible for the moral decline in high school and college athletes. "Ethical character building is not a natural consequence of sport participation. Instead, sadly, sports participation can actually erode moral development. As the level of completion goes up, the level of moral reasoning and moral behavior goes down."
“Within you lies a power which, when properly grasped and directed, can lift an entire race out of the rut of mediocrity, poverty and failure, and onto the shores of fortune.”
Book 21 of the Year: Think and Grow Rich a Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro
Awesome read sharing some incredible stories of Black Americans that have overcome incredible challenges and achieved great success.
Side note: I am going to need to read more about George Washington Carver, he is probably the greatest American inventor and scientist to ever live and definitely does not get enough credit for all he has accomplished.
"Real mental toughness is the ability to acknowledge your feelings, acknowledge your doubts, and acknowledge your circumstances, without letting them deter you from doing what is most important and beneficial. It’s the ability to live according to principles, regardless of your circumstances."
Book 20 of the Year: The Principle Circle by Jamie Gilbert
One of my favorite books of the reading challenge so far! The author is a mentor and friend who has had an incredible impact on my life. Jamie discusses 28 principles which he tries to live his life according to regardless of his circumstances. The book not only has good stories and great principles, but gives practical ways to train and apply our principles.
Buy the Book on Amazon
Follow him on social media: @jdgilbert19
“One of the great myths in America is that sports build character. They can and they should. Indeed, sports may be the perfect venue in which to build character. But sports don’t build character unless a coach possesses character and intentionally teaches it. Sports can team with ethics and character and spirituality; virtuous coaching can integrate the body with the heart, the mind, and the soul. But as my first memory shows, sports can also beat up young people and break them down so profoundly that they barely recover as adults.”
Book 19: Inside Out Coaching by Joe Ehrman
Hands down the most important coaching book I have read to date. Whether you have been coaching for 1 year or 50 years I highly suggest you read this book. The book lays out a process for coaches to help move from transactional coaching to transformational coaching. Powerful stuff!
4 Great Questions for a Coach to Ask Themselves:
Why do I coach?
Why do I coach the way I do?
What does it feel like to be coached by me?
How do I define success?
“No one person can do everything . . . but we can all do something.”
Book #18 of the Year: Outcasts United by Warren St. John.
Tells the story of Lumah Mufleh, who starts a program for refugees coming to America from unimaginable circumstances. With so much talk about refugees lately in the U.S. it is a great example of someone who chose to treat these marginalized people like human beings and a story of the successful blending of cultures and religions within a small group of young boys in a town north of Atlanta
"Leadership and parenting does not remove hurtful experiences from our lives, but helps us navigate them. Hurt ≠ Harm"
Book # 17 of the Year: 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid by Tim Elmore
Hands down the best book on parenting I have come across. Highly recommend for parents, teachers, and coaches. Some really harmful movements in parenting and education exist today that we need to be aware of…
Mistake 1: We won’t let them fail.
Mistake 2: We Project Our Lives on Them
Mistake 3: We Prioritize Being Happy
Mistake 4: We are Inconsistent
Mistake 5: We Remove the Consequences
Mistake 6: We Lie about their Potential and Don’t Explore their True Potential
Mistake 7: We Won’t Let them Struggle or Fight
Mistake 8: We Give them What they Should Earn
Mistake 9: We Praise the Wrong Things
Mistake 10: We Value Removing All Pain
Mistake 11: We do it for them
Mistake 12: We prepare the path for the child instead of the child for the path
Book # 16 of the Year "Life is ____” by Judah Smith.
"Life is to be loved and to love. We must realize we are loved before we can love others."
"What you think affects how you feel and perform. Training your brain is as important as training your body” -Gary Mack
Book 15 of the Year: Mind Gym by Gary Mack proves the importance of mental training and offers a wide variety of mental training exercises.
How much of your sport is mental? As a player or coach how much time of your training do you actually work on the mental aspect of the game?
“To allow vice to dominate sport at all levels while thinking that it will not have an adverse impact on society and our culture, or that it’s not going to negatively influence you, your children, or your grand children, is to live in denial; we criticize it, but we’re actually enabling it to happen if we continue to support it and allow it to just keep rolling along in its present state.”
My 14th Book of the Year “Less than a Minute to Go” by Bill Thierfelder is exceptional! Great read for anybody who watches, plays, coaches, or is involved in sports. The book discusses various mental training techniques, but even more importantly it lays out some powerful ways to use sports to help cultivate our growth in reaching our human potential. The book is also very engaging and interesting by using some great stories of his time working with professional athletes.
Our current society is obsessed with abundance, and trying to eliminate struggle, but lack and struggle have the potential to stretch you to develop levels of grit, intellectual creativity, and resourcefulness others have never tapped into. But that potential depends on whether you lean into it, or run from it." - Joshua Michael Medcalf
My 13th Book of the Year: “Pound the Stone” by Joshua Medcalf
Excited to have been a part of a special group that reviewed this book before it’s release! An awesome book that has countless number of life lessons, while threading them through an entertaining story. I HIGHLY recommend parents, teachers, and coaches buy this book and Joshua's other book “Chop Wood Carry Water” for their kids. My students and players not only enjoyed this book, but more importantly it taught them lessons they said they would use for the rest of their lives.
"Success is doing the best you can with what you have with where you are.”
Book 12 of the Year “The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
A book that challenged me to work on developing the spiritual side of my life with even more intensity than I approach the rest of my life. If you are a person unsure and or have questions about prayer I would highly recommend.
“The greatest breakthroughs in your life will happen when you push through the fear. The defining moments will double as the scariest.”
11th Book of the Year: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
Actually the second time I have read this book in the last 6 months. The book has inspired me to dream big in the next stage of my life and strengthen my faith, while welcoming the many challenges encountered on my journey.
Definitely worth a read for any person of faith looking or pursuing something bigger in life, because In a Pit really provides a lot of inspiration and guidance to those pursuing big dreams.
"I'd risk more, pray more, and study more. And I would place a higher value on relationships. But I wouldn't avoid the failures, because they have taught me some invaluable lessons.”
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” ― Henry Cloud
Stop letting others problems become your problems!
My 10th Book of the Year was Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. A slow read, but still great advice on parenting, relationships, and leadership. Just last season I did a significantly better job at communicating and maintaining boundaries with players on my team and it was one of the reasons the team was so enjoyable to coach.
If we fail to set boundaries with others in our life we let their problems become our problems. People need to suffer the consequences of their actions or they will never change.
Lot of other areas covered in the book, that encourage and challenge you to grow.
"You will not grow without attempting to do things you are unable to do.”
"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."
Book #9 of the Year... "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
No judgment please! :-) I felt I needed to read this classic romance novel and it did not disappoint. It was undoubtedly better than any romance novel out there today, especially any of the fifty shades books...
“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.”
Book 8 of the year, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
The most amazing story of perseverance and forgiveness I have ever read and is significantly better than the film. The story shows a man that is not only able to survive incredible pain, torture, and challenges as a POW, but able to forgive those who were responsible for his torture.
My biggest takeaway from the story is the vital importance of dignity to human life. Without getting into politics, the story reminded me that people must value all humans regardless of where they come from or the choices they make. Our value comes from who we are, not what we do.
“As a society we value natural, effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort.”
Book #7 Mindset by Carol Dweck is a must read for parents, teachers, and coaches. I had read parts of the book before and it is at the foundation of many other books I have read in the past year. The book shows documented research and examples of how your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
1. We need to develop a passion for stretching and challenging ourselves.
2. Failure is an action, not an identity. We must breakaway from this cultural norm and start valuing effort and growth in our young people and within ourselves.
3. Ask yourself everyday: "What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me?" Stop seeing failure and start seeing opportunities for growth.
Book #6 on my reading list for the year! "Chop Wood Carry Water" by Joshua Medcalf. No lies, I read it for the 6th time last week! I had my English classes and basketball team read it this year and I have never had such a positive response from teenagers about a book. It is for any person, of any age, at any stage of their life. The life lessons are powerful and told in a pretty fun story. I even have been handing it out around to different families I know. Amber Bellande Reeves Francisco Soutuyo Erin Kurczewski Campbell
If you get the book check out my reading guide I wrote after the experience of reading and discussing with my students and players.
Finished this week Book Number 5: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, 10 years since I read this book! The life lessons are many from this book, but it's most profound message for me was to always be living your life and building your legacy for your family. If you want your children to chase their dreams than they better see you chasing yours.
Book Number 4 "Steve Jobs" Complete! Over 600 pages or 26 hours of audiobook, but a fascinating read and one of the best biographies out there. Jobs was a very complex person, but three of the most powerful things I took from the book are:
1. Product/ Customer OVER Profit. Jobs cared more about making great things than making money.
2. Leaders and visionaries often ignore what people THINK they want. As he says, "People don’t know what they want until you show it to them."
3. Doing really really big things in the world takes a crazy belief in the impossible. Jobs had a "reality distortion" of the world that helped him to never give up in his most strongly held beliefs even when others stopped believing in him and fired him from the company he created.
Book Number 3 "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. A practical and inspiring short read, especially helpful for any artist, writer, speaker, or creator. Along with some really practical ideas that will help me on my mission this year, the book really touches on how NOTHING is original as we are all shaped, inspired, and steal from others. One of the 🔑 is to surround yourself with smarter people and emulate the people who inspire us. Also, book has some really great quotes that I have been sharing the last few days on twitter @jpnerbun Thanks @austinkleon for a fantastic read.
Book Number 2 Finito! Unless you are a history person this is probably not the book for you.... kinda boring. My 2 main takeaways from the book: (1) America's start towards independence was rough! Really rough. A betting man would not have bet on the inexperienced and undermanned Americans. (2) George Washington was highly inexperienced and made a lot of mistakes. Like all leadership positions when anything went wrong people pointed the blame towards him, whether it was his fault or not. Yet, he had a growth mindset and as the war progressed he continuously learned through the experiences, while keeping a level head in the most dire of circumstances! Follow me on twitter @jpnerbun
Phenomenal book to start the year of reading! The 2 most striking things about Adam Brown's story were
(1) He was fearless not in pursuit of his own glory, but in the aid of others. Not just to serve his family, friends and country, but to innocent Afghan children and civilians. (2) He was known from an early age to have incredible will power, but it took the support of family, brotherhood of SEALS and faith to overcome his drug addiction and achieve extraordinary things in life. The next couple weeks I am reading "The Last Lecture" with my English class, "1776", and "Steal Like an Artist". Follow me on twitter @jpnerbun
Just some of the books I am committing to reading this year… I have no goals for 2017, burned those last year thanks to Jamie Gilbert and Joshua Michael Medcalf. However, I am making some real commitments in an effort to grow as a person and provide value for others in the world. Reading, journaling, blogging, and eventually working on a podcast I hope to help myself and others use their sport or passion in life instead of allowing it to use them.
If you are interested be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram: @jpnerbun
So, I read 22 books last year and am hoping to more than double it. Below is my initial list (some I have read before), and this will grow into 52 books for this year if I stick with my commitment of reading on average one a week.
My Initial List
1. Fearless- Eric Blehm
2. Natural Born Heroes- Christopher McDougall
3. Mindset- Carol Dweck
4. Burn Your Goals- Jamie Gilbert and Joshua Medcalf
5. Flash Boys- Michael Lewis
6. The Chosen- Chaim Potek
7. The Principle Circle- Jamie Gilbert
8. Spark- John Ratey
9. Chop Wood Carry Water- Joshua Medcalf
10. Friday Night Lights- Bizzinger
11. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters- Meg Meeker
12. Dare to Discipline- Dobson
13. Less than a Minute to Go- Bill Thierfelder
14. Knight- Bob Knight
15. Crossover- Brian McCormick
16. Road Less Traveled- Scott Peck
17. Men of Sunday- Eichelberger
18. Essentialism- Greg McKeown
19. Essential Wooden- John Wooden
20. Power of Negative Thinking- Bob Knight
21. The Freak Factor- David Rendall
22. Drive- Larry Bird
23. The last Lecure- Randy Pausch
24. 1776- David McCullough
25. Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand
26. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
27. Steve Jobs- Walter Isaacson
28. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day- Mark Batterson
29. Steal Like an Artist- Austin Kleon
30. How to Stop the Pain- Dr. James Richards
31. Boundaries- Cloud and Townsend
32. 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid- Tim Elmore
33. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari- Robin Sharma
34. Leadership and Deception- Abribinger Institute
35. Daring Greatly- Brene Brown
36. Outcasts United- Warren St. John
37. Uncommon- Tony Dungy