It’s almost summer time, so we pulled together some good reads; inspirational, business, storytelling, brand building, which we have read and enjoyed, in no particular order. There are several coming that are not out yet or we haven’t yet read, so these pass a good sniff test for young grads, beach or mountain hoers or even dads. All are worth the download or the purchase. Enjoy!
The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint for a Cubs Dynasty by David Kaplan: On October 12, 2011, Theo Epstein became the new Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations, flipping a switch on the lovable-loser franchise and initiating a plan to accomplish in Chicago what he’d succeeded in as general manager of the Boston Red Sox: ending a World Series drought. It would require a complete team tear-down and turnover, a new farm system foundation of young talent which Epstein and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer gradually added to with gutsy trades and timely signings. After years of rebuilding, Epstein’s crystalline vision has been unquestionably realized in the form of one of the most exciting and talented teams in baseball, led by heavyweights like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant as well as visionaries like manager Joe Maddon. In The Plan, David Kaplan of CSN Chicago and ESPN Radio goes behind the scenes with the Cubs and their front office, walking the steps of their captivating rise to becoming 2016 World Series champions. Featuring exclusive interviews with Epstein, owner Tom Ricketts, and other team insiders, this is the definitive account of a new era on the North Side.
Crunch Time by Rick Peterson and Judd Hoekstra: Learn how elite athletes like Michael Jordan, Sandy Koufax, Tom Glavin, and Pedro Martinez, deal with pressure. In his 15 years as a major league pitching coach, with “Moneyball” Oakland A’s, NY Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles, Rick Peterson has coached Hall of Famers, Cy Young winners, and many other elite athletes. In this book, he and bestselling author and leadership expert, Judd Hoekstra make this skill available to everyone. From an insider’s perspective, learn how you too can become a Crunch Time performer and perform your best in all situations. With fascinating behind-the-scenes examples from some of the top names in sports and business, Rick and Judd offer six powerful reframing strategies to help you see a pressure situation with a new perspective so that it shifts from a threat that can make you panic to an opportunity for you to shine
Father Ted Hesburgh: He Coached Me by Digger Phelps and Tim Bourret: The University of Notre Dame is a special place, regarded by many as the world’s top Catholic institution of higher learning. Yet its modern reputation for excellence and service is only part of the legacy of Father Theodore Hesburgh, the university’s president from 1952 to 1987. Father Ted’s influence extended beyond Notre Dame’s campus in Northern Indiana. He worked with presidents, Popes, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and his guidance resulted in nuclear nonproliferation, immigration reform, and civil rights legislation. One of the many Domers influenced by Father Ted was Richard “Digger” Phelps, Notre Dame’s men’s basketball coach from 1971 to 1991. Phelps gives readers a seat at the table with Father Ted, from the basketball locker room in the 1970s to Father Ted’s final Mass before he passed away in 2015. This account is an intimate portrait of an unlikely friendship and a rare look at the private moments of a man Digger often describes as “a living saint.”
Ben Hogan’s Secret Fundamental by Larry Miller: Ben Hogan’s accomplishments on the golf course are the stuff of legends, but his life off it was exceedingly private. In this biography, author Tim Scott demonstrates why such public perception was not representative of Hogan’s personality, offering a firsthand glimpse into the famous golfer’s humor and sensitivity. Hogan wasn’t perfect, and many of his fine qualities were never made public until now, as Tim Scott shares his personal experience with Hogan as well as Hogan’s friends, family, and acquaintances. Along the way, a clearer picture emerges of Hogan as a man, a golfer, a friend, and a husband.
Rock Solid: My Life in Baseball’s Fast Lane by Tim Raines and Alan Maimon: For more than a decade, Tim Raines patrolled left field for the nascent Montreal Expos, igniting the powder keg of what would become one of the most innovative, entertaining, and talented teams of the modern era. Raines, nicknamed “Rock,” hit and stole his way into the hearts of baseball fans across North America. The seven-time all-star tore through the Expos record books before moving on to the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and Florida Marlins, ultimately earning three World Series rings. And now Raines sit on the cusp of entering Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. But it wasn’t always easy playing for the upstart Montreal Expos or being Tim Raines. Raines’ performance dipped in 1982, and at the end of the season, Raines entered treatment for substance abuse for cocaine addiction. To avoid leaving the drug in his locker, Raines would carry it in his hip pocket, and would slide headfirst when stealing bases. He used cocaine before games, in his car, after games, and on some occasions between innings in the clubhouse. Raines would later testify at the infamous Pittsburgh drug trials, in September 1985, and would ultimately resume his career at a high level and once again become one of baseball’s brightest stars, on and off the field. This memoir entails the life and playing career of one of the sport’s all-time greatest leaders and personalities, an honest, raw, and compelling tale of triumph and redemption.
It Happens Every Spring by Ira Berkow: Culled from 50 years’ worth of columns from one of the country’s most popular sportswriters, It Happens Every Spring stands as a remarkable and evocative anthology that is guaranteed to delight baseball fans of all ages. Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow captures the spirit of America’s pasttime in this collection of opinions, stories, and observations from his long and distinguished career. From memories of Ted Williams and Satchel Paige to reflections on Jackie Robinson, Barry Bonds, and the soul of the beloved game, this work combines Berkow’s eye for detail with the comedy and drama revealed by the subjects themselves, bringing to life some of the most famous baseball personalities from the last half century.
The Cubs Way by Tom Verducci: Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs’ transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball. Beginning with Epstein’s first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond “Moneyball” thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called “The Cubs Way,” he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics. To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs’ bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge. The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
Living Out Loud by Craig Sager: In Living Out Loud, Craig Sager shares incredible stories from his remarkable career and chronicles his heroic battle. Whether he’s sprinting across Wrigley Field mid-game as a college student with cops in pursuit, chasing down Hank Aaron on the field for an interview after Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, running with the bulls in Pamplona, or hunkering down to face the daunting physical challenges of fighting leukemia, Craig Sager is always ready to defy expectations, embrace life, and live it to the fullest.
Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr: Ernie . is a three-time Sports Emmy Award winner and host of TNT’s Inside the NBA with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. He is the studio host for NBA TV’s popular Fan Night and a studio host for Turner and CBS’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship coverage. He is the lead play-by-play announcer for Turner’s coverage of Major League Baseball and the PGA Championship, and has also covered the National Football League, the British Open, Wimbledon, and the Olympics. In 2007, Johnson was presented with the first-ever honorary John Wooden Keys to Life Award, presented by Athletes in Action, which is awarded to individuals who exemplify Wooden’s “Seven Keys to Life,” including character, integrity, and faith. In 2015, he was recognized with a Musial Award, presented in honor of Stan Musial’s legacy by celebrating iconic “good sports” and the year’s greatest moments in sportsmanship. In 2016, his alma mater, the University of Georgia, honored him with the Grady College of Journalism John Holliman Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Bill Hartman Award for Lifetime Achievement from the UGA Athletic Department. Johnson lives in Braselton, Georgia, with his wife, Cheryl, and their six children, four of whom are adopted.