I am just getting ready to start a new book, Out of My League, by Dirk Hayhurst. I am no literary critic, but I do have my favorite sports related books, one of which was written by Hayhurst. So here are my favorite reads by category… winners of the First Annual “Pinky” Awards… ok… maybe a few of you will get that. Click on any of the covers and go directly to Amazon for more information.
- Best Sports Biography
- Best Football Book
- When Pride Still Mattered – David Maraniss
If you are interested at all in the history of professional football, and especially coaching genealogy, then I guarantee you will enjoy this biography of legendary Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.
When Pride Still Mattered, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, David Maraniss is the quintessential story of how Vince Lombardi, the son of an immigrant Italian butcher, rose to the top, and how his character and will to prevail transformed him, his wife, his children, his players, his sport, and ultimately the entire country. It is also a great football story, filled with accounts of Lombardi’s life, from his playing days with the Seven Blocks of Granite at Fordham in the 1930s to the glory of coaching the Green Bay Packers of Starr, Hornung, Taylor, McGee, Davis, and Wood in the 1960s.
- Best Running Book
- Born to Run – Christopher McDougal
- A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
In Born to Run, McDougall tracks down members of the reclusive Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. After being repeatedly injured as a runner himself, McDougall marvels at the tribe’s ability to run ultra distances (over 26.2 miles, commonly 100 miles or more) at incredible speeds, without getting the routine injuries of most American runners. This book covers everything from the evolution (and de-evolution) of running shoes to the evolution of the human species.
- Best Rags to Riches Sports Book
- That First Season – John Eisenberg
- How Vince Lomardi took the worst team in the NFL and set it on the path to glory.
That Fist Season chronicles Vince Lombardi’s remarkable first year as head coach with the franchise he would reinvent and etch forever in football history. In a single year, as the grizzled coach who took no bull, he would transform a team of underachievers into winners and reignite a city known for its passion for its sport. Based on exhaustive new research and interviews, That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a football career marked by greatness. I thought it was such a great story of doing things the right way that we had our entire Truman High School football squad read it prior to our District Championship 2011 Season.
- Best Baseball Book
- Bullpen Gospels – Dirk Hayhurst
- Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran
Somewhere between Bull Durham and The Rookie, The Bullpen Gospels takes an unforgettable trot around the inglorious base paths of minor league baseball, where an inch separates a ball from a strike, and a razor-thin margin can be the difference between The Show or a long trip home
- Best Book from a former college football player turned intellectual and founder of an entire Literary movement (Beat Literature)
- On The Road – Jack Kerouac
OK, full disclosure – On The Road is my favorite book, by my favorite author, Jack Kerouac. Putting in into a list of sports related books is a bit of a stretch, BUT, Kerouac did attend Columbia College on a football scholarship.
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac. On the Road is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use.
- Best Strength and Conditioning Book
- Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, 3rd Edition
Now in its third edition, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning is the most comprehensive reference available for strength and conditioning professionals. In this text, 30 expert contributors explore the scientific principles, concepts, and theories of strength training and conditioning as well as their applications to athletic performance. Perfect for studying for the NCSA Certification Test.
- Best Sports Business Book
- Anything by Seth Godin from
- Purple Cow to
- The Icarus Deception
Although business/ marketing books, as I have referenced many time, Godin’s thinking aligns perfectly with athletes and coaches trying to achieve more.
I would love hearing from you… what are your favorite books in these categories? What other categories and favorites do you have? Please add to this list!
Comments and Questions always welcome!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org