We are busy people. Training, working, family and friend time, errands, cooking, sleeping, and so much else. You have heard and probably said things like, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” or, “I am so busy, I really can’t take on another thing.” For many adults, it seems one of the to-do list lines they quickly delete is reading. And that’s a shame! Bill Gates explained, when asked why he reads about 50 (almost all nonfiction) books a year, “Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding. […] Each book opens up new avenues of knowledge to explore.”
I know, we immediately think, “But he’s Bill Gates! Of course he reads 50 books a year!” That is a feat, for sure. But it underscores the importance and the reasons why we read: to grow, to better ourselves, to broaden our abilities, and to ready ourselves for new challenges. Wait a minute, that sounds like an ad for a new training regimen or product, right? Athletes can benefit and grow from reading, as well. Some of that growth will simply be enjoyment. Some will be learning new approaches or why and how someone achieved some great milestone or overcame a terrible setback. And some books helps us sharpen our mental faculties, preparing and equipping us to stay in the game and push ourselves harder toward the goal.
With that in mind, here are three books we think will be worth clearing time in your daily schedule to read:
High Performance Habits, by Richard Burchard
Burchard’s story is inspiring in itself. But how he attacks each challenge in his life and uses those challenges as catapults to learn and grow is remarkable. He’s ambitious but approachable, educated but still learning. In High Performance Habits, Burchard reviewed hundreds of empirical studies, took data points from over two million people, and evaluated what makes high performers excel. He presents the data by looking at six habits they all seem to share. This isn’t about getting a corner office job. This book is about performance—in relationships, health, work, and life. We can all use some of that, right?
To the Finish Line, by Chrissie Wellington
Chrissie Wellington is a name we all know. She is a four-time IRONMAN champ, setting records along the course, some of which stand today. In this book, Wellington relays the grit, determination, and practices that enabled her amazing accomplishments. She doesn’t gloss over the challenges and setbacks, but tells those stories with honesty, candor, and, sometimes, a bit of humor. She provides training and nutrition tips as well as how to mentally overcome adversity and achieve. This book will be an all-in read not only for triathletes, but any athlete looking for insights on how to be a better competitor and achieve more. Frankly, those sound like goals that transcend sports.
I’d Know That Voice Anywhere: My Favorite NPR Commentaries, by Frank Deford
If you love sports in general and how sports impact our lives and the world around us (and how the world around us impacts sports), then Frank Deford’s commentaries will be nothing short of an indulgence for you. For 37 years, until just a few months before his death, Deford offered weekly commentaries on NPR’s Morning Edition. He engaged in everything from squash and curling to softball, running, and the Olympics. He didn’t shy from the social situations surrounding sports and athletes. He loved sports deeply and respected what they could do for us. He also decried the missteps and blind spots that sometimes leave those of us who love sports disillusioned. He received honors and awards aplenty over his career, but his voice and candor never changed. After you finish this book, indulge further—listen to him read some of his commentaries.
If it’s not already, we hope you’ll make reading a part of your daily routine. Reading isn’t just a pastime or way to fill empty hours. It’s a way to grow, to learn, to better ourselves. Ideas, passions, and community are spread and strengthened when they’re shared across generations and distances. Reading makes that possible. We are glad you choose to read our thoughts and ideas and invite you keep it up. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep in touch. Read on, team HOTSHOT!