Great Books for Coaches

This section is dedicated to making you aware of books that I have found to be extremely valuable for coaches to read. I will be discussing and reviewing books that have had an impact on me and/or on other coaches.  While there will be an abundance of books by basketball coaches (since as a basketball coach I have been drawn to many of them), there will be books by all types of coaches, leaders, and authors on this list.

Check back often, as I plan on adding something new every couple of weeks.  I would encourage you to join the discussion and let me know what you think of the books that I discuss. I also encourage you to let me know of any books that you have found to be impactful to you in your coaching, teaching, leadership, or in any other way. There will also be the opportunity for you to purchase the books/videos from Amazon by clicking on the link/picture of it. 

*Full Disclosure* – I make a very small (4%-7%) commission if you buy from Amazon after clicking on the book, but you pay no more than if you went to the Amazon site yourself and ordered it.

List of Great Books for Coaches

Leading with the Heart – Mike Krzyzewski

Uncommon – Tony Dungy

Coming Soon

Bleachers – John Grisham

The Leadership Challenge – Kouzes & Posner

Toughness – Jay Bilas

Start With Why – Simon Sinek

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D

The list of books is below and then the descriptions and reviews of the books is below the list. I hope you enjoy finding out about some of the books that I have found to be extremely impactful in my coaching career.

Leading with the Heart:  Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life                       Mike Krzyzewski – Warner Books – Copyright 2000 – 291 pages

While the books that I will talk about on this page have had a huge impact on me, and many of the authors are coaches who I have admired through the years, Duke University’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, has been my favorite coach at the collegiate or professional level for over twenty-five years.  I read anything he writes, and I listen to/watch him any chance I get. While I have been most impacted by fellow coaches with whom I have worked, Coach K has had the largest influence on me when it comes to coaches that I don’t know personally. There are three books of his that I will be discussing on this page that have had a great impact on me. The first one is the best one -Leading with the Heart.

I have used Leading with the Heart in many ways with teams of mine through the years. It also helped provide me with a lot of information for discussions and essays for the classes I took while pursuing a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  The book is set up in four sections – Pre-Season, Regular Season, Post-Season, and All-Season. Each section has chapters like “Building Your Team,” “Establishing Discipline,” “Training & Development,” “Handling a Crisis,” and the “Core of Character.”  He finishes each chapter with a short list called “Coach K’s Tips” summarizing what was covered in the chapter.  The book is also filled with nuggets of gold on leading people and running an organization.


Uncommon – Finding Your Path to Significance

Tony Dungy – Tyndale House – Copyright 2009 – 260 pages

Many people know that Tony Dungy is a Super Bowl champion coach. Most people also know that Tony Dungy is a man of great principle, character, and faith. This book demonstrates the kind of integrity and character with which Tony Dungy lives his life. His faith guides him on his life’s path. While his faith shines through this outstanding book, it does not overwhelm the book. What does play a major role in the book are the guiding principles that anyone who is in a leadership role can learn from and should look to institute and instill into their programs.  There is so much more to this book than sports, yet all of the lessons that Dungy invokes will help anyone within the athletic realm.

 There are seven Parts to the book – “Develop Your Core,” “Love Your Family,” “Lift Your Friends and Others,” Your Full Potential,” Establish a Mission that Matters,” “Choose Influence Over Image,” & “Live Your Faith.” Each part has anywhere from 3-5 chapters to develop and explain the main lesson for that part. Dungy’s style is easy to read, and the lessons he teaches are immediately applicable for people in all walks of life. While this book focuses less on specifics of coaching and leading than other books you will see on this list, coaches and leaders will find so much to draw from in here that they should not miss the opportunity to read it.