Books topic

Performance

Patti Niemi’s autobiographical story of her journey to become a professional orchestral percussionist. It provides a powerful insight into a world of obsessive relentless practice, competitive auditions and the impacts of pressure on performance.

Sticking it Out

Patti Niemi
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Myles Downey is a leading executive coach with over 25 years of experience in the business.  This book is a great distillation of why coaching works and makes such a difference in unlocking the performance potential of individuals and teams as well as being an effective how to guide for those wanting to develop their own coaching skills.  Fundamentally based around the GROW model Downey adds the benefit of years of practitioner experience to provide a hands on practical framework for shaping and delivering coaching sessions that drive change.

Effective Modern Coaching

Myles Downey
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John Whitmore along with Tim Gallway was a pioneer of performance coaching for business.  This book introduces the principles of effective coaching to help individuals fulfill their potential.  The book covers the GROW model as a framework for coaching conversations; goals, reality, options & wrap up and lays down a great foundation for anyone working to understand coaching as a process for unlocking and developing performance.

Coaching for Performance

John Whitmore
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Bill Walsh was the head coach of the 49’s from 1979-89 & took them from being the worst team in the NFL to winning three Super Bowel Championships as well as leaving a legacy that saw the team go on to win two further titles in the years after he left. The book is about his approach to coaching, a relentless focus on preparation and a defined ‘standard of performance’ for every conceivable drill and process. Many useful comparisons and experiences for anyone interested in developing and leading teams.

The Score Takes Care of Itself

Bill Walsh
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Atul Gawande is a General and Endocrine surgeon as well as an Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School. The book is about the search to find a simple reliable method for improving surgical outcomes in the face of ever increasing complexity and specilization.  A problem that is far from being confined to medicine.  The solution, a checklist and a culture that recognizes experience does not make us infallible.  In fact it often creates the conceit of omnipotent competence which is frequently the genesis of careless oversight. Essential reading for anyone interested in decision-making.

The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande
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Born out of a US government funded research project into the process of predictive analysis, this book about the mental processes and habits of a rare group of analysts who are able to make accurate predictive forecasts.  None of these individuals is a professional analyst or the custodian of any particular expertise these were simply volunteers with a curiosity and an approach that turns out to be far more accurate than the predictive powers of most ‘experts’ or agencies. Anyone interested in the analysis of complex situations should read this for its invaluable insights into how to approach problems, use analysis in an effective and insightful way and synthesize multiple points of view into a reasoned judgement.

Superforecasting

Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner
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Alistair Campbell will need little introduction to most people.  Chief spokesman for Tony Blair, a key New Labour strategist at the heart of PM Blair’s government he is well qualified to reflect on what defines those individuals and team’s that win.  Looking at key themes in the winning cocktail such as strategy, leadership and teamship the book is unique for the host of top performers used to illustrate the book.  From world leaders, politicians sportsmen and women and their coaches to business men and successful entrepreneurs.  Useful read to any leader and anyone interested in developing potential and performance.

Winners & How They Succeed

Alistair Campbell
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Allistair McCaw is a renowned coach with over 20 years of experience coaching elite level athletes across a wide range of individual and team sports.  His clients include a string of world and Olympic champions, grand slam tournament and league winners. This book sets out his philosophy and the principles of his approach.  Relevant not just to athletic coaches but in anyone interested in how to develop pursue and sustain high level performance excellence.

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach

Allistair McCaw

A how to guide for developing high performance teams.  The book looks at 7 facets for delivering results; context, mission, talent, norms, buy-in, power and morale and provides guidance and exercises to benchmark and develop the team.  Certainly not the holy-grail its authors might claim but none the less of value to anyone interested in developing high performance organizations.

The Rocket Model – Practical Advice For Building High Performance Teams

Gordon Curphy & Robert Hogan
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Ray Dalio is the billionaire founder of Brigewater Associates arguably the most successful investment management fund in history.  Founded in a 2 bedroom flat in 1975, the company currently has $160 billion under management.  The book is the story of the the quest to develop a set of clear thinking principles to distill a mental road map for navigating the challenges of life and business.  Anyone interested in how to build and scale a high performance culture should read this.

Principles

Ray Dalio
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James Clear is an American author, entrepreneur and photographer who focuses on human performance.  He writes about applied research from psychology and neuroscience and in this book looks at the power of habits – the compound interest of developing potential.  Richly illustrated this book is a practical guide of what to do to build good habits combined with insights into why it works.

Atomic Habits

James Clear
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The authors believe that innovation and creativity can be taught.  The book sets out handrail methodologies for innovation and provides a wealth of examples to prove and illustrate its practical application.

Drew Boyd is a global leader in creativity and innovation with decades of corporate experience, Professor Jacob Goldenberg is a University researcher based in Israel and the US. Together they set out to create a system for deliberate innovation they describe as ‘systematic inventive thinking’.

Inside the Box

Drew Boyd & Jacob Goldenberg
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Investigative reporter David Epstein’s 2nd book is an essential companion and counter point to Peak by Anders Ericcson and pop science books such as Outliers by Malcom Gladwell and Bounce by Matthew Syed.  If your interested in performance, decision making or education in any context this is essential reading.  If your performance domain is complex and ambiguous then specialization can be a problem and the benefits of generalization (Range) become critical.  Compelling and well illustrated.

Range

David Epstein
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First published in 1936 this is still a masterpiece of applied common sense.  The style may be a little folksy and the examples can seem dated but the essence of how to get the best out of others and yourself from communication is as relevant as ever.  Wish I’d read it years ago!

How To Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie
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Atul Gawande is a General and Endocrine surgeon as well as an Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School and the author of several best selling books.  Better, wrestles with the universal challenge of professionals – how to get better at what you do whilst actually doing it.  Well researched and illustrated anyone who wrestles with the challenges of developing performance will benefit from this book.

Better. A Surgeon’s Notes On Performance

Atul Gawande
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Josh Waitzkin was a child chess prodigy and went on to become a world champion martial artist and coach who is now deep into paddle surfing.  The book is partly biographical charting his experiences with chess and martial arts but this is simply the canvas for his exploration of developing world class performance.  Part psychology this is both a how to manual and a philosophy of life. Anyone interested in peak performance and skill acquisition should read this.

The Art of Learning

Josh Waitzkin
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Tim Ferriss is the authour of a string of best selling books and the host of the Tim Ferris podcast show, the number 1 business show on Apple podcasts. The book is a distillation of many of the habits, tactics, lessons and ideas of a host of world class performers who have been interviewed on the podcast. The contributors are an eclectic mix of athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists who share advice on what they have figured out.  A great resource to dip into.

Tribe of Mentors

Tim Ferriss
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All three authors have a background in teaching and the genesis of their focus on practice has been to develop the skills of teachers. This is an eminently readable and practical guide with tips, ideas and practices that any professional can apply to the challenge of how to continually improve and how to develop and model excellence for others.

Practice Perfect

Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway & Katie Yezzi
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