15 books in 30 days. That was my friend’s goal.
He aspired to read all those books to impress himself and others. And he did it. He actually read 15 books in 30 days. A few days after his grand feat I asked him, “What was your favorite book?” He didn’t have one. Then I asked him, “Well, what did you learn.” He returned my question with a blank stare. In fact, I think he hardly remembered anything from his venture.
And that’s the problem today.
Less Can Be More . . .
So much information is bombarding us today that it is hard to NOT be like my buddy. It is so easy to be overloaded. I should know because I am one who used to fall into that trap. But over the last few years I’ve culled my sources of info into a small manageable pile. I read less books, watch less videos, and listen to less podcasts but I learn more and retain it better.
With that written, here are my 7 favorite sources, each I consider a gold mine, and none of them have anything at all to do with coaching, or sports.
There are three podcasts that I listen to. The first is Chris Brogan’s Human Business Way. He does a series of interviews with a variety of people across a large spectrum of society. I would say that I’ve learned one thing from each interview that I bring back into my coaching. Plus Brogan himself is quite energized and entertaining. The 20-some-odd minutes goes by very fast.
Back 2 Work is the second podcast I listen to. It runs on the longer side, sometimes up to 90 minutes but the two hosts, Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin, are very specific about being very specific. In some ways it is like a Seinfeld episode, where there is a deeper meaning inside while being lighthearted and self depreciating on the outside. They both are very knowledgeable about topics that can easliy relate to coaching, and being a coach.
The third podcast is MacPower Users. I’m an Apple freak and love all their stuff and the hosts are very knowledgble about computers. They are both lawyers and they discuss, at length, using technology to it’s fullests, while staying sane. A recent episode was dedicated to going paperless (and host David Sparks has written a book with that title) and I learned numerous things that have helped me be better organized. They do have a Mac bias but both hosts know other platforms. If you want to get smarter about using technology in the workplace this could be a podcast for you.
I read a lot of books. But over the past several months three books have opened my eyes to subtopics in the Wild World of Coaching Sports Today. Not only about how I do my job, but why I coach, how I can do it better, and most importantly, how I can do it longer.
The first work is James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games. I just wrote about this in an upcoming post on Dan Tudor’s recruiting site. Basically, Carse notes that coaches (and everyone else) play two types of games. The first game, the Finite Game is our sport, where we have winners and losers. The second one is different, the Infinite Game, and it is about improvement, and there is nothing but winners. This info is very relevant to coaching since almost hourly coaches are faced with decisions dealing with these two games and those decisions can generate a lot of stress.
The Icarus Deception is written by Seth Godin. An insightful book and I personally think the author has a great mind and is an engaging writter. I get a wealth of info out of this book in terms of what my athletes, especially the new ones, are going through but also myself and how I should be looking at how I do my job. It goes into details about excellence and pursuing it.
The third book that I am gaining a lot from is the Impact Equation, by Chris Brogan (also the creater of the Human Business Way podcast noted above). As I try to build my business and websites outside of my job (MaxRigging.com, StickFigureSimple.com, RowingTalks.com) there are certain things I should, and should not, do as I try to gain more impact. His book is very insightful on how to improve your impact which in many ways goes to the core of coaching. If you are trying to build a team or build a business there is stuff here for you in this book.
There might be gold on Mars.
If I’m every stranded on Mars, alone, and I have one thing that I can have (besides Angry Birds) it would be TEDTalks. I cannot say enough about the engagement, the clarity, the angles and paths toward success that I’ve gained from TEDTalks. The short presentations (18 minutes) are a constant stream of great information, and I’ve tried to model my annual coaches conference, RowingTalks, after it. I seldom watch the videos, but pour over the audios time and time again. To me TEDTalks are the defining factor as they mine great ideas from some of the most creative and innovative minds in the world we never hear of.
And so. . .
What about you? Do you have one that you love? Do you have a goldmine outside of the world of sports that is impacting you and helping you grow. Is it a neighbor? A comic book? I’d really like to know, and so would others.
Come on — chime in. Show off — share the gold. It’s how we all get better.
PS: And let me tell you about one trick I use to make most of these sources. I use a program called Evernote, in which I put the little tidbits of gold I get. Then I review that information often and this brings that gold back to life. It’s a great free program and worth a look.