The Best Things I Read, Watched, and Listened to in 2017

Here is my annual list of my favorites from the year that helped me improve as a coach or simply as a human being.  If you like what you see here, you may want to also check out my lists from 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016.

The Insecurity of Hard Work by Steve Magness 
"We need to believe that hard work can triumph over circumstance."  This slightly contrarian article described a mentality that I feel is omnipresent in our sport -- one that as a coach I have been guilty of as well.

Maybe We All Need a Little Less Balance by Brad Stulberg
"Ever since I can remember, I’ve been told to strive for balance. Yet I’ve noticed something interesting: The times in my life during which I’ve felt happiest and most alive are also the times that I’ve been the most unbalanced."  Stulberg is the author of Peak Performance with the aforementioned Steve Magness.  This article struck a chord with me.  Their book is on my must-read list for 2018.

Breaking 2 by National Geographic (Youtube documentary)
Nike's pursuit to have a human run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours was both controversial and fascinating. As a runner and a general fan of exploring the boundaries of human performances, I was riveted watching this documentary.
My Side, Right or Wrong by Seth Godin
This bite-sized bit of wisdom should be required reading for every American.

The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks 
"About once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light...They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued... They are not thinking about themselves at all." This is a powerful article from 2015 that I read just recently

William James on the Psychology of the Second Wind and What Enables Us to Transcend Our Limits by Maria Popova of The BrainPickings Blog
"Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”

The Greatest Coach You Have Never Heard of by Vern Gambetta 
Actually, there is a good chance you have heard of him if you are a swim coach.  Still, this is an excellent, inspiring read.
The Rich Roll Podcast with Bryan Fogel 
This podcast tells the story behind the Russian expulsion from the upcoming Winter Olympics and  the new documentary Icarus.  I haven't yet watched the documentary on Netflix, but this conversation pulling the curtain back on the anti-doping world was extremely compelling.  Also check out Rich's podcast with U.S. National Team Swimmer Conor Dwyer and his talk with  legendary triathlete Mark Allen

The Daily Stoic:366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday
A fascinating look at ancient stoic philosophy in relateable bite-sized daily nuggets. I haven't finished the book yet because I started it mid-year. I also enjoyed Ryan Holiday's appearance on The Forward Podcast

My Favorite Tweets of the Year
When we say "hard work" we should be referring to an entire process:



-step away

-fine tune

-recover and reflect
— Brad Stulberg (@BStulberg) November 14, 2017

The worst thing you can ever do is think you know enough.
— Sean Hutchison (@ikkosCEO) October 17, 2017

When youre good, you study the competition.

When youre great, the competition studies you.

When youre unstoppable, there is no competition.
— Tim S. Grover (@ATTACKATHLETICS) September 29, 2017

Follow the white cap. #WinningWednesday; @iaaforg;
— Olympics (@Olympics) April 5, 2017

Bullseye hit.

There is no fancy gadget or new technology that can inspire & ignite an athlete quite like a coach is capable.
— Jonathan J. Marcus (@jmarpdx) November 25, 2017

"I wonder if coaches' careers shouldn't be measured by wins & losses as much by number of weddings & christenings invited to." Dave Silk USA
— Wade Gilbert (@WadeWgilbert) November 1, 2017

 A good one to show your athletes -- what will you do when you "get a flat" and hit some adversity? -- FIND A WAY!

When your team car is far behind but your adrenaline says "keep going!" 😂😂😂
— Cycling Today (@CyclingTodayEn) November 8, 2017

A few excellent pieces of writing that had nothing to do with coaching or swimming, but still made an impact on me:

The Girl with the No. 8 Jersey by John Branch

Rebecca Lobo's Incredible Journey to Basketball Royalty by Steve Rushin

A Cycling Legend's War Mission to Save Italy's Jews by Richard Horowitz

An Awesome Quote That Is Both Timely and Timeless
From Martin Luther King's Riverside Speech, 4 April 1967:
"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late.""

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