10 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

written by Erica Quam

Most coaches I work with aren't the type to go for long vacations sitting out on the beach with an umbrella drink in hand and pouring through a romance novel. If you do - then kudos to you! That's probably a great way to drop out and really unplug. It's just not something I've ever been able to do.

I heard recently that most humans read between 700-1000 books in their lifetime. That's made me realize I can't read every book out there. So now I'm getting a little picky. If I'm gonna read something, I want it to be meaningful and worthwhile. So, here's my summer reading recommendations list for you. 

10. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons

No matter what age group you coach, this is a great resource for coaches and parents. Rachel talks about how relationships are the most important classroom for girls. Her work gives girls the tools to navigate the challenging nuances of those relationships. I love this book because it has a teachers guide - a great extra for coaches!

9. What Drives Winning: Building Character Gets Results by Brett Ledbetter

Brett teaches athletes that they are people first, athletes second. He shares how an array of successful coaches emphasize character over results and how that has changed the lives of their athletes. I got to meet Brett last summer and hear him speak. He's super relatable and doing some amazing work. The activities he shares in his book can be great to use with any team.

8. Rising Strong by Brené Brown 

I'm so inspired by Brené's work. She does important work and makes her research come alive through humor, stories and a framework that breaks hard things down into ideas that are more simple and understandable. This book gives readers a tangible process to work their way through after the many challenges life throws our way. Resiliency is a leadership skill that can be developed. Dr. Brown's research shows you how.

7. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I loved Elizabeth's book: Eat, Pray, Love. I was fortunate to go to Oprah's big event in Seattle recently and got to hear Elizabeth talk about her new book that had not yet been released. It's a great blend between serious and sass. If you're want to be inspired and tap into your creative self (no matter how creative you believe yourself to be...you are...) then this is a great read!

6. Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain

Susan definitely got the world's attention with her first book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Now, she's turned her focus towards kids and teens. She's even dedicated a chapter to quiet athletes. Whether you are introverted or you would like to understand the more introverted kids on your team...this is a must read.

5. You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

It's hard not to put a Jon Gordon book on the list for the summer. Here's his latest book that was released in March 2016 that is co-authored with Mike Smith, former Atlanta Falcons coach. These two tag team throughout the book to outline an overall framework for teambuilding and leadership. Coach Smith is humble and talks about the challenges and mistakes as well as the victories. You don't always get that kind of honesty!

4. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff

We all have an inner critic that gets in the way of us living up to our full potential. When we are more compassionate with ourselves, we can be more brave, have more confidence and live a more full and rich life. I'll admit - I haven't read this one yet. It's on my list. I signed up for the online course with Kristin Neff and Brené Brown and it's the required reading. I'll be starting it this weekend!

3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

This book will blow your mind. Marie has developed her own method (called the 'KonMari Method') for simplifying, organizing, and storing. It will challenge your habits and help you systematically clear up your clutter and enjoy the new energy that comes with a tidy environment. I can't say I've implemented all of her strategies...but the things I've done have brought me more calmness, clarity and inspiration as a result!

2. How to Train A Wild Elephant and Other Adventures of Mindfulness: Simple Daily Mindfulness Practices For Living Life More Fully & Joyfully by Jan Chozen Bays, MD

Here's the opening of Jan's book: "People often say to me, 'I'd love to practice mindfulness, but I'm so busy I can't seem to find the time." Therein lies one of the conundrums of our society today. This book contains 53 different exercises - or practices - that can be incorporated into your daily life. It may take a few more minutes...to slow down the breath. It may take a little longer in your day to actually slow down long enough to pay attention. Maybe there could even be a lesson a week relative to what you're doing with your team?

1. Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX by Ginny Gilder

Ginny was grew up in an era where girls mostly stayed on the sidelines. She was focused on her academics and went to Yale where she discovered rowing. Her story personalizes the impact of Title IX and how sports teach us lessons well beyond the field. 

So, now it's your turn. What books are on your reading list this summer? Share in the comments below.