Good Reads of 2014: Part 1 of 2
Posted by Dean Holden at January 17th, 2015
by Dean Holden, 17 January 2015
Many people ask what is on my bookshelf so in response to this, I thought my site would be a good way to communicate what I have been reading. I prefer to first source the books from the local library; if they are excellent, must-have for future reference, I will purchase them for my personal use. This way, I can mark them up, make notations, etc. So these that follow are some that currently reside on my shelf. I have copied the book descriptions below the title (italicized), and added comments myself. Enjoy!
“Find a Way: Three Words That Changed My Life” by Meril Hoge with Brent Cole
When Merril talked about his dream of playing in the NFL all he heard was, that will be too hard, you can’t beat those odds, it’s impossible, and son don’t put all your eggs in one basket! That inspired him to write Find a Way and put it on the top of the wall above all his goals. Find a Way would become a life-long philosophy that helped him achieve his dream of playing in the NFL, but also has helped him deal with the near loss of his hand as a young boy, the loss of his mother at a young age, overcome severe head trauma and battle and beat cancer. It has also become a parenting tool and helped him realize the magic that exists in all of us!
Absolutely powerful, emotional messages contained within this book! This book had tremendous impact on me and as a father of two awesome children (ages 4 and 6), it is something I took to heart and it will make me a better parent, person and coach. I will be using the tagline, ‘Find A Way’ in my personal and professional life!
Twenty-six point two miles isn’t enough anymore. Obstacle course racing, which combines the endurance challenges of a marathon with the mind-bending rigors of overcoming obstacles along the way, is taking the world by storm. At the center of this phenomenon is Joe De Sena, the driving force behind the enormously popular Spartan Race. De Sena offers a simple philosophy: commit to a goal, put in the work, and get it done. From that philosophy, as played out first in his own life and now for millions across trails, through mud, and up mountainsides, Spartan Race was born.
Now in Spartan Up! De Sena gives you a life strategy guide that takes you out of your comfort zone and into a combat zone. As he breaks down obstacles from his many races, detailing how each parallels real life experiences, you will learn how to:
- conquer your greatest obstacle-your will
- embrace your greatest friend-discipline
- make limitations vanish and establish a new normal
- achieve the ultimate: obstacle immunity
Other events breed sheep; Spartan Race breeds wolves. Filled with unforgettable stories of Spartan racers as well as hard-won truths learned along the course, Spartan Up! will help anyone reach their full potential-in life, business, relationships, indeed anything one sets out to do. It is the blueprint that takes you right past Go to your finish line.
This book struck a chord with me based on its motivational nature as I was looking for additional inspiration at the time. I see many similarities within myself back when I was striving to play for the National Team through high school/university and when I came short of my goal, my mindset changed from that of a ‘Spartan’ mentality to acceptance that I wasn’t good enough… the other people (decision-makers) were right. This book helps regain one’s inner fire and allows one to say Bullocks to that! Self-awareness is a powerful trait and I have been working hard to regain my inner ‘Spartan’. I remain a work in progress; however thanks to this book for putting me in touch with my earlier motivational state so I can move forward fearlessly as a parent, coach and leader in sports development!
“Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey
Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”
Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his “male configurations”. . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable.”
Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . .
Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear the brain”).
Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, magically inspiring.
I read this book to try to gain insight into a wide variety of universally acclaimed brilliant minds in order to enhance my own creativity. Who wouldn’t want to learn from the very best minds? As a budding polymath, I am devising my own personal ‘Daily Ritual’ based on my challenging schedule. A fascinating read!
“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset.
Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
This book is must-read material for parents and coaches. I have read portions of it multiple times and try to apply these learnings to my daily life. I can’t recommend this book enough…
“The Gold Mine Effect: Crack the Secrets of High Performance” by Rasmus Ankersen
Why are 137 of the world”s 500 best female golfers from South Korea? How did one athletic club in Jamaica produce most of the world”s best sprinters? What”s the reason that the world”s best marathon runners grew up in the same village in Ethiopia? What is the secret behind Brazil”s mass production of soccer superstars? How has one tennis club in Moscow managed to develop more top tennis players in ten years than the whole of the United States?
For six months, Rasmus Ankersen travelled around the world visiting these talent gold mines. He talked, trained and lived with the athletes in order to discover what, if anything, they have in common and to attempt to crack the code of developing world-class talent. The result is The Gold Mine Effect, a book that questions all the misconceptions, conventional wisdom and popular theories about talent, hard work, parenting and motivation and looks at how we can apply this knowledge to our own lives.
I have a fascination with ‘Best Practices’ when it comes to creating optimal development environments (talent hothouses) so I read this book with great anticipation and it met my expectations! I hope to travel to Europe this spring (2015) to combine attendance at some coaching clinics while I meet some ‘hothouse’ coaches and see their operations. This could be the genesis of another article for my website this summer and a great way to advance my active, on-site PD!
What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge’s inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more…
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
I have been trying to learn as much as I can about neuroplasticity, development and expertise as possible as I have always had interests in these areas plus it can positively translate into my daily parenting and coaching. I hate it when people label someone who is exceptionally good or bad as a ‘natural’. That’s poppycock! Either the person has spent lots of time training or they haven’t. Sure, genetics can help/hinder depending, but the reality is, people have the capacity to change for the better! This book isn’t a difficult (medical) read; rather it uses some incredible stories to show how amazing the brain truly is!
<…Part 2 next! – DH>
Category: recommended reading / books