In Employee Development, Leadership, Wednesday Wisdom

Lessons from great reads outside the bookstore’s business section.

 Here are a couple of books to consider.

 The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

My favorite passages:

An unnamed coach is reputed to have said, “Rowing is like a beautiful duck. On the surface it is all grace, but underneath the bastard’s paddling like mad!”

But the greatest paradox of the sport has to do with the psychological makeup of the people who pull the oars. Great oarsman and oarswomen are necessarily made of conflicting stuff–of oil and water, fire and earth. On the one hand, they must possess enormous self-confidence, strong egos, and titanic willpower. They must be almost immune to frustration. Nobody who does not believe deeply in himself or herself–in his or her ability to endure hardship and to prevail over adversity–is likely even to attempt something as audacious as competitive rowing at the highest levels.

And yet, at the same time–and this is key–no other sport demands and rewards the complete abandonment of the self the way that rowing does.

The team effort–perfectly synchronized flow of muscle, oars, boat, and water; the single, whole, unified, and beautiful symphony that a crew in motion becomes–is all that matters. Not the individual, not the self.

Fail Until You Don’t by Bobby Bones

My favorite passage:

The same is true with friends. While it’s important to have champions, those folks to tell you that you’re great, it’s equally important but a lot harder to find an honest critic who also wants you to succeed. Lots of people will fluff you up (particularly if you start to do well). You need someone you trust in your life who will always give you their real opinion. If a person can tell you, “That wasn’t good,” you’ll really believe it when he or she says, “Hey that was great.” If you find a friend or colleague like this–one whose compliments mean more because their criticism is real–hold on tight to them, because they are rare and valuable.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My favorite passages:

There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.


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