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2012 – Clutch

We used the messaging in this book throughout the 2012-13 season and words can’t even describe the feelings of how this ‘mantra’ became a reality for us during the 2013 playoffs.

Clutch: It is an unfortunate truth that years of patient success can so easily be undone. Paul Sullivan, a journalist, and Sian Beilock, a psychology professor, have taken different approaches to the same subject: What is it that allows some people to succeed under pressure and forces others to fail? Both authors have produced readable explanations for why we choke and valuable suggestions for what we can do to get through a make-or-break moment with a better chance of success.

Mr. Sullivan takes his examples from sports, business, the military and the stage. He explains right away that there are five traits that help people pull off a clutch performance: focus; discipline, adaptability, presence (i.e., actual involvement in the task at hand), and fear and desire. At one point he contrasts the performances of Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and Kenneth Lewis, the former head of Bank of America, during the financial crisis of 2008. Both men went into the crisis with their firms in good health. By the end of it, Mr. Dimon had acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual and handsomely increased his company’s share price. Mr. Lewis had acquired the teetering Merrill Lynch and seen Bank of America lose $90 billion in shareholder value.

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2011 – Mindset

“I read this book during the work stoppage of 2011. Following the loss to Dallas in the NBA Finals, we had to take a hard look at ourselves. Reading this book and adopting its concepts were pivotal for me. Being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone, not staying the same, and establishing a growth mindset, all make up the essence of what life is about.”

The premise of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is the idea that people exercise either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe their talents and abilities cannot be improved through any means. They feel that they are born with a certain amount of talent and typically do not wish to challenge their abilities due to the possibility of failure. Individuals with a fixed mindset frequently guard themselves against situations in which they feel they need to prove their personal worth. Challenges are frequently viewed negatively, instead of as an opportunity for personal growth.

People that practice a growth mindset believe abilities, such as athleticism and mathematical capacity, can be improved through hard work and persistence. When presented with an obstacle, those practicing a growth mindset tend to rise to the challenge. Often, people of the growth mindset do not fear failure; instead, they view it as a chance to improve themselves.

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2010 – Band of Brothers

This was the book given to our first team during the ‘Big 3’ era… “For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother” was one of the quotes from the book that we all loved. It meant so much to all of us that we had this quote engraved on a wall in our locker room.

As good a rifle company as any in the world, Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, kept getting the tough assignments — responsible for everything from parachuting into France early D-Day morning to the capture of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden. In Band of Brothers, Ambrose tells of the men in this brave unit who fought, went hungry, froze, and died, a company that took 150 percent casualties and considered the Purple Heart a badge of office. Drawing on hours of interviews with survivors as well as the soldiers’ journals and letters, Stephen Ambrose recounts the stories, often in the men’s own words, of these American heroes.

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2009 – Outliers

The brilliant concept of applying 10,000 hours to anything you do to improve your skills was used by us every day throughout the 2009 season

The Story of Success is a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines the causes of why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how Joseph Flom built Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom into one of the most successful law firms in the world, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practising a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

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2008 – The Energy Bus

This was the first book that I gave to my first team (08-09)

The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Everyone faces challenges. And every person, organization, company and team will have to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success. No one goes through life untested and the answer to these tests is positive energy—the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit that defines great leaders and their teams. Drawing upon his experience and work with thousands of leaders, sales professionals, teams, non-profit organizations, schools, and athletes, Gordon infuses this engaging story with keen insights, actionable strategies and a big dose of positive infectious energy. For managers and team leaders or anyone looking to turn negative energy into positive achievement The Energy Bus provides a powerful roadmap to overcome common life and work obstacles and bring out the best in yourself and your team.