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7 Must-Read Books Of All Genres For Coaches

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PCA National Advisory Board Member Dacher Keltner is a Psychology Professor and the Director of the Greater Good Science Center (@GreaterGoodSC) at UC-Berkeley. Keltner is most famous in the sports world for his study on NBA teams, when he identified a link between positive, supportive ‘touching’ (such as high-fives) and success on the court. Keltner is also a published author, most recently publishing The Power Paradox.

In this video, Keltner recommends the following set of books, not just for 1st-time coaches, but for any coach looking to elevate their game and help make better athletes, better people.

  • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, by Robert Sapolsky

This book, to Keltner, is a "phenomenal book on stress" that can help coaches handle tough situations.

  • Nichomachean Ethics, by Aristotle

Not only is it a short read, but it can help a coach remember that virtue and the ethical life are not only important in church, but in everyday life and coaching.

  • Play: How It Shapes The Brain, Opens The Imagination, by Stuart Brown

Sports, according to Brown, is founded upon playful instincts, and Stuart Brown drives home that message better than most.

  • Ethics Of A New Millenium, by The Dalai Lama

This can teach coaches the value of kindness and compassion in practice.

  • Mindfulness For Beginners, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

To Keltner, when you're mindful, you can transcend the condition of nervousness or anxiety. No one teaches this practice better for those new to mindfulness better than Kabat-Zinn.

  • Coach: Lessons On The Game Of Life, by Michael Lewis

Lewis' personal story of his high school coach whose message was not simply about winning, but about self-respect, sacrifice, courage, and endurance.

  • The Power Paradox, by Dacher Keltner

All coaches are placed in a position of power, whether they like it or not, and this book teaches coaches how to use that power for the good.