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home | Recommended Reading | Top 14 Books that Have Impacted You . . .

Top 14 Books that Have Impacted You as a Coach
Jeff Janssen, Janssen Sports Leadership Center
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Based on your response to my Coaches Book Survey asking you to list the books that have made the biggest impact on you as a coach, leader, and person, here are the top 14 books as recommended by your fellow coaching colleagues around the world as "must reads."

See how the list compares with your all-time favorite books. And, if there are any on the list you haven't yet gotten to, consider reading them soon.


The Top 14 recommended books are listed in reverse order of the number of total votes received:

14. The Carolina Way - Dean Smith, Gerald Bell & John Kilgo

Legendary UNC Coach Dean Smith teams up with leadership expert Dr. Jerry Bell to share their principles on leadership for sport and business teams.

13. Sacred Hoops - Phil Jackson

Zen master Phil Jackson shares his tips for taming and transforming individual superstars into teams that win championships.

12. Anything by John Maxwell

Prolific leadership guru John Maxwell has a ton of books on leadership, team building, and motivation - all of which are sensational. The two most frequently mentioned by you were The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.

11. The Bible

Enough said.

10. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey shares his seven success principles that apply to sports, business, and life. The book provides a cogent and solid framework for personal, professional, and family success.

9. The Winner Within - Pat Riley

An oldie but a goodie, Pat Riley shares his philosophy of leadership and team building when he was the coach of the '80's Showtime Lakers with Magic, Kareem, and Worthy.

8. They Call Me Coach - John Wooden

Venerable sage and former UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden gives a personal account of his life and coaching in this autobiography.

7. The Team Captain's Leadership Manual - Jeff Janssen

This book provides coaches and captains with a 10-week leadership development program to create more effective team captains and leaders.

6. Success is a Choice - Rick Pitino

Success is a Choice covers Coach Pitino's thoughts on motivation and is a great book for helping you motivate your players.

If you liked Success is a Choice, I also highly recommend Pitino's follow up called Lead to Succeed.

5. Reach for the Summit - Pat Summitt

Legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt details her Definite Dozen System for creating winners on and off the court. Although the media likes to portray her intense and intimidating side, you will see that she has a warm and caring side too which is also a big key to her success.

4. Wooden - John Wooden

One of my all-time favorites, this beauty of a book shares Coach Wooden's simple yet profound wisdom on coaching, leading, and living. There is almost something on every page that you can use to motivate yourself and/or your team.

3. The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches - Jeff Janssen and Greg Dale

Being privileged to interview many of sport's most respected and successful coaches (Mike Krzyzewski - Duke men's basketball, Mike Candrea - Arizona Softball, Mary Wise - Florida Volleyball, Jerry Yeagley - Indiana men's soccer, Roy Williams - North Carolina men's basketball, Pat Summitt - Tennessee women's basketball, etc.), we offer seven principles that will help you get the most out of your athletes and team--and be a coach of success and significance.

2. Championship Team Building - Jeff Janssen

With 38 practical team building ideas and activities, this book shares a wealth of strategies and stories for building better teamwork and team chemistry.

1. Leading with the Heart - Mike Krzyzewski

Coach K's book Leading with the Heart gives you a behind the scenes look at what has made Duke men's basketball one of the most respected programs in all of sport.

If you love Leading with the Heart, I also suggest you check out the sequel titled Five-Point Play. This book gives you an day to day look at the Blue Devils 2001 national championship season. You will quickly see how focused Coach K is on the relationships between himself and the players and within the team.

Thank you again for sharing your "must read" book recommendations with your colleagues. Invest time in reading and applying the ideas in any one of these books and you will undoubtedly be a better coach, leader, and person for it.

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