SBJ/July 24-30, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Summer reading

It’s time again to take a deep dive into the book lists of people in the sports industry, both what they’re reading now as well as the classics that have shaped their lives and their careers.




CEO, American Flag Football League

What are you reading now?
“The Undoing Project,” by Michael Lewis, which is about looking at the world differently and sticking to your guns. I had to do just that!

Tell us about a recent favorite.
I recently read Charles Krauthammer’s “Things That Matter.” He is a guy who decided to let the facts inform his opinion rather than allowing his opinion to inform the facts.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
“Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
“On Wings of Eagles,” by Ken Follett.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?

“Freakonomics,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Paper or digital? Or both?

What’s next on your list?
My friend Erika Katz is writing a book about parenting lessons you can learn from coaches called: “Coach Parenting: Raising Teenagers With Advice from Pro Football’s Greatest Head Coaches.” I just love the concept and can’t wait to read the advance copy.



What are you reading now?
My current read is actually a reread, “Xbox Revisited.” I’ve shared this book with my colleagues and have even integrated it into our leadership retreats. I appreciate the common-sense strategy Robbie Bach uses to address issues in business and community.

Tell us about a recent favorite.
I recently picked up Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” and couldn’t put it down. I’ve always had a passion for the sports industry — it’s how BDA got its start — so it’s great to learn about and appreciate other innovators in sports and branded merchandise!

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
Favorites are always hard, but if I had to choose something that represented me and my career I would have to say “Free Prize Inside,” by Seth Godin. The book aligns with BDA’s philosophy and really brings to life the power that branded merchandise can give to a business’s brand.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
I never fail to find new value in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Its simple principles and anecdotes leave me feeling empowered.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“Radical Candor” — if you are like me, you’re constantly striving to find the right balance between a friendly relationship with employees and the role as business leader. Kim Scott provides a simple and action-driven philosophy for just that.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Call me old school, but I am all about paper. There’s something about turning a page and having the physical copy that makes a book or magazine more satisfying.

What’s next on your list?
I am looking forward to reading “Start With Why.” My focus is always on growing as a leader, and Simon Sinek’s viral TED Talk that focused on the importance of “why” spoke not only to me but to my associates.


Associate chair of external affairs and partnership relations,
DeVos Sport Business Management Program, University of Central Florida

What are you reading now?
“Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll,” by Peter Guralnick. I always enjoy reading biographies of the musicians who composed the soundtrack of my life — Bruce, Carlos, Otis, Keith and Mick, Pete, etc. After spending eight years in Memphis with the Grizzlies, I was familiar with Sam’s legacy and his Sun Records’ discoveries — Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Elvis (of course), Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and more. Guralnick’s exhaustive research and relationship with Phillips and his family provides many golden nuggets I didn’t know. Boy, Sam sure had a great ear!

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance,” by George Mumford. Mumford was Dr. J’s college roommate. A functioning addict for many years, Mumford rebounded through mindfulness and meditation techniques (learned from Jon Kabat-Zinn) to become a teacher himself. In addition to inmates and lesser-knowns, Mumford became the teacher for Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and others. Totally engrossing, this book can help anyone with a goal regardless of position in life.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
This is tough — much easier to choose favorite author: James Ellroy, the Demon Dog of American crime fiction. The L.A. Quartet, comprising “The Black Dahlia,” “The Big Nowhere,” “L.A. Confidential” and “White Jazz,” are all page-turners. Hipsters, hopheads, hitmen, heinous happenings — HOWL! Can’t wait for Ellroy’s next gruesome gem.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
Hunter Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.” I’m still having flashbacks! It’s hysterical and always worth rereading to keep life in perspective.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a great business fable that describes why teams/business organizations fail (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, inattention to results), how to overcome those dysfunctions and the characteristics of High Performing Teams. I met Pat when Andy Dolich brought him to speak to the San Francisco 49ers’ senior management group. (I’ll leave it at that and not go for the cheap laugh.)

Paper or digital? Or both?
Old school, baby — paper! (My wife and kids laugh at me — and not just about this.)

What’s next on your list?
“The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory,” by Julie Checkoway. True story set in 1937-1940 about a group of Japanese-American kids, dirt poor and malnourished without a pool to swim in, who become world champions. I’m a sucker for inspirational stories like this. (I recently read “Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku,” by David Davis, about the Hawaiian who became America’s first superstar Olympic swimmer and introduced surfing to the masses. I must be in a Hawaiian state of mind.)

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