Reading is an essential part of learning in any role, and it is certainly so for those of us serving as sports chaplains, character coaches, or sports mentors. One of the hardest tasks for me is to choose books to read. I find the recommendations of friends and colleagues to be the best way to choose. In keeping with that thought, I would like to recommend a few books to you. They are from a variety authors, but most all are non-fiction. I hope they enhance your development: personal, professional, and spiritual.
Soul Keeping by John Ortberg is an excellent book about the author’s relationship with his mentor and friend, Dallas Willard.
Deep Work by Cal Newport is a deeply challenging book about how we think and all the matters that distract us from thinking deeply. After reading this book in April, I was challenged so deeply that I removed Facebook from every device that I own, except for one. I found that it consumed too much time for too little benefit.
The Captain Class by Sam Walker is a review of the most dominant sports teams in history and their leadership. Like most books based on research, the author tells us more about his research methods than we really want to know, but his conclusions are fascinating. If you serve a team oriented sport, the insights within are valuable.
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance is a remarkable book with tremendous value to those serving in the USA’s Mid-south and Midwest regions. Vance discusses the paralyzing effects of the culture in which he was reared, and chronicles how he was able to escape it to become a college graduate and a successful attorney.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson is a collection of sermons he delivered as a pastor, earlier in his career. I read everything I can find by Peterson, but this volume is significantly different, as it is pastoral in tone. The reader feels as if this is a personal conversation with the author. Much like Francis Schaeffer’s No Little People, No Little Places, this collection of sermons engages differently than most of the authors’ more scholarly works. This is rich.
Originals by Adam Grant details some of the advantages of having people, just a bit off center, on your team. The author explores the power of non-conformists and their points of view for all sorts of organizations, companies, non-profits, etc.
Occasionally, I will visit Stuart Weir’s book review section of the Verité Sport website for some good ideas. Here is a link to this invaluable resource - http://www.veritesport.org/?page=bookreviewmenu.
I hope this brief list is of value to you and to those you lead.