Pete Carroll's Book Recommendations


When I mentor folks, or even in my client work, I emphasize the context of decision making. Too often people look at the end result of someone's performance, or a flashy title--they see the external outcomes.It's an illusion. What matters is someone's internal processing. When people are looking outside of themselves for advice, common questions include:

  • Looking for guidance on how to get to the next level? Who do you look to?

  • See someone who's career or life situation looks appealing? How did they get there?

  • Want to learn a skill that someone else is good at? How did they learn what they know?

It's so important to understand their influences, beliefs, and underlying values. If you are looking at a leadership figure for advice, ask what they read. It can give you a lot of insight into how they think, what motivates them, and how they define success.

The Road to Character by David Brooks--via USAToday. The book draws upon historical figures like Dorothy Day, George Marshall, Augustine, George Eliot, and President Dwight Eisenhower to show how selfless qualities sometimes considered to be old-fashioned in today’s individualistic society can lead to a greater good. The common thread in each tale is a humbling triumph. In each path, however, there first comes rock bottom.

It has affected my language in almost everything I tell them about leadership and serving each other.

Grit by Angela Duckworth.--via The Next Big Idea Club This book is a great read for anyone interested in psychology and personal development. Grit describes what creates outstanding achievements, based on science, interviews with high achievers from various fields and the personal history of success of the author, Angela Duckworth, uncovering that achievement isn’t reserved for the talented only, but for those with passion and perseverance.

In terms of being resilient, we can find ways to instill resilience by training people to believe that they have abilities that allow them to maintain hope. The reason you bounce back is because you know you have a chance and you believe.

Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Successby John Wooden. via The News Tribune When it comes down to it, success is an equal opportunity player. Anyone can create it in his or her career, family, and beyond. Based on John Wooden's own method to victory, Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success reveals that success is built block by block, where each block is a crucial principle contributing to lifelong achievement in every area of life. Each of these 32 daily readings takes an in-depth look at a single block of the pyramid, which when combined with the other blocks forms the structure of the pyramid of success. Join John Wooden and Jay Carty to discover the building blocks and key values--from confidence to faith--that have brought Coach to the pinnacle of success as a leader, a teacher, and a follower of God.

In the bottom-right corner as a foundation of his “Pyramid of Success” for leaders and coaches, Wooden wrote: “Enthusiasm: Brushes off upon those with whom you come in contact. You must truly enjoy what you are doing.”

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. via Sports IllustratedWith more than 800,000 copies sold since it was first published thirty years ago, this phenomenally successful guide has become a touchstone for hundreds of thousands of people. Not just for tennis players, or even just for athletes in general, this handbook works for anybody who wants to improve his or her performance in any activity, from playing music to getting ahead at work. W. Timothy Gallwey, a leading innovator in sports psychology, reveals how to

  • focus your mind to overcome nervousness, self-doubt, and distractions

  • find the state of “relaxed concentration” that allows you to play at your best

  • build skills by smart practice, then put it all together in match play

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, Gallwey's engaging voice, clear examples, and illuminating anecdotes will give you the tools you need to succeed. "Habits are statements about the past, and the past is gone." (page 74)

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday--via Sports IllustratedThe book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.