Full disclosure: I am on a journey to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, to get there my family and I will be responsible for raising more than $150,000. If you buy any of these books through the Amazon links below, you will be making a small but incredibly meaningful contribution to my Olympic Dream.
A New All Time Favorite
Find a Way
I can easily see myself looking back 30 years from now and still calling this the most inspirational book I have ever read in my life. I am sucker for books of perseverance, human spirit and pushing the thresholds of what we think is possible. From the first page I totally got Diana. Her mentality, her focus, her unwavering belief in something impossible – she was speaking my language. But what makes this an incredible read is the seamless flow and beautifully captured adventure through Diana’s life.
Oh yea, for those of you who don’t know – Diana’s ‘Dream’ is to swim continuously, unassisted, from Cuba to Florida, some 110 miles and over 50 hours in the water. A feat never accomplished by a human being. I guess I should also mention she attempts this ‘declared impossible’ adventure for the fifth time, when she was 64 years of age.
The best stamp of approval I can give it is to say I read the last 100 pages in one sitting and I ended up in tears… 3 times. Diana has inspired me on my quest for the Olympics, and beyond.
In the Plex
Levey is one of the first author/investigative reporters to spend a significant amount of time over the course of years in the GooglePlex. Specifically with Larry, Sergui and many of the Google elites. I love books like this for their ‘behind the scenes’ look at the infant and adolescent years of a business that didn’t knwo it would become the Google we see today. These stories always have humble beginnings that are disregarded – I really enjoyed reading that story of Larry, Sergui, and guerrilla style early team at Google.
From a technology and entrepreneurial perspective this is a fun read which also takes Google’s culture, values, and team structure into consideration.
This book ventured into a world I know very little about but am generally gaining interest in. Politics, global economics, and the complex dynamics that go into stabilizing a nation and at times the world. Tim was one of the key leaders in charge during the 2008 Great Recession – he takes the reader behind the scenes on the various key players and forces at work leading up to the housing crash and serious of National and Global economic recession.
I gained a huge appreciation for the concepts of risk, austerity, moral hazard and the role of confidence as it relates societal dynamics. While the application in Tim’s story is obviously solving the problem of preventing a great depression – I saw clear parallels to the work I do with team’s both in business and sport.
There are portions of this book that get a bit heady, but Tim overall does a great job of breaking down the complexities of his globally important work for us as the reader.
The Inner Game of Tennis
The first caveat is that this book may not be for everyone. My second comment is if you are trying to achieve an elite level of performance in any athletic pursuit (and even business) you need to read this book. Gallwey breaks down the mental and emotional equation of high performance into a concept of “Self 1” and “Self 2” the analytical, ego driven mind and the flow based subconscious mind. These two minds are constantly at war in any pursuit of high performance – if you’re not paying attention to this conversation inside your head, Self 1 is likely always winning. But Gallwey states, and I fully endorse, that Self 2 is actually the mind we want to be leading in those moments of highest performance.
Eventually this book gets a little bit repetitive but Gallwey does a great job of walking the reader through the steps to enable and turn on Self 2 in those critical moments. He provides some clear anecdotes and clear steps to help us find Flow (Self 2) more strategically and more often.
Born a Crime (audible)
A laugh out loud story. My wife and I listened to this on a road trip and we absolutely LOVED it. The stories and flow is so incredibly well written and Noah strikes the perfect balance of seriously laugh out loud humour and pulling at our heartstrings as he shares his upbringing in the townships of South Africa. This is a touching story of perseverance, grit, and survival. What’s more is Noah does such a good job developing characters that Tash and I both ended up in tears at certain points in the story based on how key supporting people like Trevor’s mom survived life in the townships.
If you can listen to this book on Audible I highly recommend it. It is the best narration by miles I have heard so far (25+ books).
What would you add?
What have you read and LOVED in 2017 so far? I’d love to get your recommendations especially if you read anything that was a great story of human triumph, or individuals and teams pushing their absolute limits in pursuit of greatness.