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Peak Performance 101

How to reach your potential and perform at your best when it matters most

Ready to reach your potential and perform at your best when it matters most? Fantastic. Let’s get clear on where you’re headed, go all in, and cultivate our grit + presence + self-confidence as we vacuum up any potential choke dust, visualize, let it rip and win or learn.

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Wooden

A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

John Wooden. He’s arguably the greatest coach EV-ER and this book is essentially one Big Idea after another. Wooden is all about the fundamentals and in this Note we’ll explore a few of my favorite Big Ideas on his old-school wisdom—from the fact that full effort = full success to the importance of becoming a realistic optimist.

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How Champions Think

In Sports and in Life

Dr. Bob Rotella is widely recognized as the world’s leading sports psychologist. He’s coached everyone from basketball stars like LeBron James to rock stars like Seal. The golfers he’s coached (including greats like Rory McIlroy) have won an astonishing 80+ major championships. Want to know how champions think in both sports AND life? Well, here you go. Big Ideas we explore include the importance of going for "exceptionalism" (by definition, to be great/a champion you need to be an "exception" to the norm so...), a message from God (key takeaway: focus on the process, results are all good), train it and trust it, enthusiasm (it's the catalyst of champions), how to create your own reality (hint: don't do what average people do), and how to win the ultimate game of life.

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The Mindful Athlete

Secrets to Pure Performance

Who does Zen master Phil Jackson go to when he wants to get his players' minds right? George Mumford. Mumford has coached everyone from Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant and gives us a great introduction to mindfulness way beyond sports. Big Ideas we explore include Kobe's 1,300 3-pointers (PER DAY), romancing your discomfort zone, stepping in btwn stimulus and response, and REALLY listening to yourself.

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The Way of the Fight

Georges St-Pierre. GSP. If you’re into mixed martial arts/the UFC, you know GSP as one of the greatest pound for pound fighters ever. Although I’m not really a big MMA guy, I’ve always admired the sheer, visceral strength + courage of fighters and elite warriors like the UFC champions + Navy SEALs/Army Rangers. In this great book we get a behind the scenes look into GSP’s greatness. Big Ideas include Areté, Sacrifices vs. Decisions, being courageous (hint: it’s NOT about being fearless), crazy dreams + long journeys, and dedication.

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Chasing Excellence

A Story About Building the World's Fittest Athletes

If you’ve ever worked out at a CrossFit gym and/or watched the Reebok CrossFit Games, you know that the absolute best CrossFit athletes are absolute beasts. Well, Ben Bergeron has been the coach behind six world championships. This book is his inspirational, wisdom-packed (!!!) look at how he coaches greatness told through the lens of the 2016 Games in which his athletes (Mat Fraser and Katrín Davíðsdóttir) BOTH won. (Think about that... He coached BOTH the men’s and the women’s champions. <- That’s amazing.) My copy of the book is r i d i c u l o u s l y marked up. The book is OUTSTANDING. Big Ideas we explore include: Committing to excellence (vs. "Meh, I'm good enough."), the 12 character traits of a champion, grit (how's yours?), positivity (selection attention + confirmation bias), embracing adversity (overload and get stronger!), and acting like a champion NOW.

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The Champion's Mind

How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and this great book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore: the vision of a champion (and how to fuel it), what mental toughness *really* is, how/why to be ugly but effective, how to evaluate yourself (3 q’s: good + better + best), and creating sustained obsession as you take the champion’s honor pledge.

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With Winning in Mind

The Mental Management System

This is a SHOCKINGLY good book. Want to get your mind right? Lanny Bassham, an Olympic gold medalist, has been teaching the art of mental training/peak performance for decades and this book tells us just how to rock it. In the Note, we'll look at the importance of making the process primary and other fundamentals of mental mastery.

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It Takes What It Takes

How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life

Trevor Moawad is a mental conditioning coach to elite performers. He is well known for being the mental coach to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and has worked closely with prestigious NCAA football programs and coaches, the US Special Operations community, Major League Baseball, and the NBA. This book is, as per the sub-title, all about “How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life.” I loved it and, if you’re also equally fired up by the mental toughness in sports and life genre, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Big Ideas we explore include neutral thinking (much better than positive or negative), goats and G.O.A.T.s, the law of substitution (focus!), the illusion of choice (if you’re REALLY ALL IN, there is no choice), and drawing a line in the dirt (and getting to it… again and again and again!).

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Relentless

From Good to Great to Unstoppable

Tim Grover was Michael Jordan’s trainer and, basically, his mental toughness coach. Kobe Bryant’s as well. And Dwayne Wade’s. And... Well, a ton of other elite athletes. He’s one of the world’s top mental toughness coaches and this book is, as per the sub-title, a manual on how to go “From Good to Great to Unstoppable.” Big Ideas we explore include: relentless commitment (vs. "Meh, good enough"), Do. The. Work (eat frogs and dominate), Pressure (pressure, pressure! BRING IT ON!), the source of true confidence, greatness math (remember: effort counts twice; just ask Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice), and turning your dreams into reality (ready?).

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Shoe Dog

A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Phil Knight created Nike. This book is a *phenomenally* well-written, funny, tear-jerking, inspiring look at how he and his eclectic team of misfit geniuses made Nike one of the most iconic brands in the world. If you’re into sports, business and hero’s journeys, you’ll love it. I highly recommend it. Big Ideas we explore include: Crazy Ideas, victory, billionaires getting their credit cards declined (before they’re billionaires), optimal business, gratitude, luck and answering your calling.

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Legacy

New Zealand’s national rugby team The All Blacks are arguably THE greatest team ever. In this book, James Kerr unpacks what makes them so great and how we can lead + create a Legacy. Big Ideas we explore include the fact that Better People Make Better All Blacks, Kiwi Kaizen, embracing expectations and leaning into the power of Loss Aversion (remember: no pressure, no diamonds), hitting the psychological gym and answering a couple questions that will help clarify YOUR legacy.

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The Turnaround

How to Build Life-Changing Confidence

This is our sixth Note on Darrin Donnelly and the final book from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We've featured the entire series. This book features a fourth-string quarterback on the worst college football team in the conference whose life changes the day he meets his new head coach who turns the program around by helping him and his teammates forge unstoppable confidence. It’s awesome. And, as you’d expect, it’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Old School Grit

Times May Change, But the Rules for Success Never Do

This is our second Note on Darrin Donnelly and the second of six books from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We'll be featuring the entire series. This book is a fable that features an NCAA basketball coach named Coach Flanagan in his 43rd and final season writing letters to his grandchildren about how to develop grit in their lives via fifteen different rules. Coach Flanagan is a blend of John Wooden’s old-fashioned morals, Mike Ditka’s no-nonsense persona, Lou Holtz’s can-do optimism and strict discipline, and Vince Lombardi’s no-excuses, high expectations, never-back-down attitude. In other words, he’s awesome! The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Victory Favors the Fearless

How to Defeat the 7 Fears That Hold You Back

This is our fourth Note on Darrin Donnelly and the fourth of six books from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We'll be featuring the entire series. Each of the books in the series features a Hero meeting a Guide. This book features a boxer who’s doubting his decision to try to become a professional fighter. What’s he need to do if he wants a shot at the heavyweight championship? He needs to conquer his fear. More specifically, he needs to conquer the SEVEN fears that are holding him (and all of us!) back from actualizing our potential. Let’s jump in and explore some of my favorite Ideas we can apply to our lives TODAY.

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Relentless Optimism

How a Commitment to Positive Thinking Changes Everything

This is our third Note on Darrin Donnelly and the third of six books from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We'll be featuring the entire series. In this inspirational fable, we meet “Bobby Kane, a minor league baseball player who, at the age of 31, is coming to terms with the fact that his dream of making it to the majors” might be coming to a disappointing end. Then... He meets a wise manager who helps him develop the relentless optimism that helps him... spoiler alert... make his dreams a reality. Bobby, of course, represents ALL of us who face doubts on our Heroic quests. Now...it's time to chat about some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!

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Life to the Fullest

A Story About Finding Your Purpose and Following Your Heart

This is our fifth Note on Darrin Donnelly and the fifth of six books from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We'll be featuring the entire series. This book is a fable about a high school coach who’s doubting whether he made the right decision to stay in the small town in which he grew up and coach the same football team his father coached for decades. The most important theme: Follow your heart. Trust yourself and your authentic path. Do what YOU are here to do. Do YOUR duty. Play YOUR role as well as you can. THAT is what it means to be truly Heroic. And, that’s what this book is all about. I’m excited to share a few of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!

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Think Like a Warrior

The Five Inner Beliefs That Make You Unstoppable

This is our first Note on Darrin Donnelly and the first of six books from his "Sports for the Soul" series. We'll be featuring the entire series. This book is a fable about a college football coach going through hard times who is lucky enough to spend time with five of the most legendary sports coaches in history: John Wooden, Buck O’Neil, Herb Brooks, Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Vince Lombardi. Those coaches each share ONE Big Idea to help him navigate his challenges and fulfill his potential. I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas from this one so let’s jump straight in.

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The Mental Game

Winning the War Within Your Mind

This is the seventh book in Darrin Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series. We’ve covered all of them so far. As I said in the previous Notes, I basically read the first six books in a single week. They are all AWESOME. In addition to brilliantly integrating ancient wisdom, modern science and practical tools in a grounded yet inspiring way, Donnelly has a gift for weaving that wisdom into a great sports story—which is why I’m such a big fan and highly recommend the books for you and your sports-loving friends and family and colleagues. This book features a professional golfer who is struggling to make it on the PGA Tour. He has the opportunity to spend time with one of the greatest golfers of the era who gives him some life-changing wisdom. It’s FANTASTIC. Super inspiring, quick-reading. Pure gold. Get a copy here. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. As always, I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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The Soul of a Butterfly

Reflections on Life’s Journey

Muhammad Ali was a magnetically charismatic heavyweight champion turned humanitarian. Wikipedia tells us that he was nicknamed “The Greatest” and that “he is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. In 1999, he was named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.” He wrote this book with his daughter Hana Ali in 2004. He was 62 at the time. He died at the age of 74 in 2016. It’s a fantastic autobiography in which we learn about the struggles he faced as a Black man living in the segregated South and the courage and commitment with which he strived to live a life of integrity and love. I highly recommend it as both a great, inspiring biography of one of the most beloved (and polarizing!) figures of the 20th century AND as a means to learn more about the challenges we continue to face in creating a just society. The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Winning

The Unforgiving Race to Greatness

Tim S. Grover is the preeminent authority on the science and art of achieving physical and mental dominance. He has worked with THE most elite basketball players in history. In this book, he shares his fierce wisdom in the context of stories about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as he RELENTLESSLY makes the point that “Winning” (with a capital “W”) is, shall we say, not for the faint of heart. If you’re feeling inspired to feel the INTENSITY of an ALL IN human being, I think you’ll love it. As you’d expect, the book is packed with Big Ideas. Let’s get to work.

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Read This Book Tonight To Help You Win Tomorrow

Get Mentally Primed To Perform Your Best

Dr. Rob Gilbert has been teaching sports psychology since 1979. And, he’s been dominating a daily inspiring message for OVER 30 YEARS. This book, that was recommended to me by my dear friend Brian Cain, is a SUPER conversational, quick-reading look at how to, as per the sub-title, “Get Mentally Primed to Perform Your Best” by, as per the sub-sub-title, “Using Inspirational Stories, Practical Sports Psychology Tips and Over 120 of the Greatest Motivational Sports Quotes. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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Unlocked

Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success

George Mumford is an incredibly humble, Heroically wise human being who beautifully embodies the wisdom he shares. This is the second Note we’ve done on one of his great books. The first was on The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance. As we discussed in that Note, George was Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s mindfulness coach. Phil Jackson brought him in to help take the Chicago Bulls to the next level then did it again when he was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. As per the introduction, this book is all about how to “unlock” your inner greatness. It’s fantastic. It’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a handful of my favorites so let’s jump straight in.

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The Hoops Whisperer

On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball's Best Players

Who do LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Dwight Howard, James Harden and a ton of other top basketball players go to to get better? Idan Ravin. If you’re into sports + self-development + the pursuit of being the best you can possibly be, I think you’ll *love* the book. Big Ideas include getting paid to do what you love, greatness, obstacles and exiting the cave.

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No Limits

The Will to Succeed

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history and arguably the greatest athlete ever. This book is a quick look at 8 virtues that led to his 8 gold medals in '08. Big Ideas we explore include how to train your mind, going all in, knowing what's important now (aka W.I.N.), and not confusing "can't" vs. "won't."

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Win Forever

Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion

Pete Carroll is the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Seattle Seahawks. His Win Forever philosophy was inspired by an awesome hybrid of Abraham Maslow, John Wooden and his own commitment to always competing while having a whole lotta fun. In the Note, we'll check out a few of my favorite Ideas to help us Win Forever in all facets of our lives.

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The Inner Game of Tennis

The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

Originally published in 1974, this book is, as the sub-title suggests, the classic guide to the mental side of peak performance and transcends tennis/sports. If we want to win the game of life, we've gotta start by winning the inner game. In the Note, we'll take a quick look at how to do that, learning about Self 1 + Self 2 (and how to help them get along), quieting our mind and asking for qualities we aspire to have.

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The Rise of Superman

Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance

The Rise of Superman. What an awesome title and vision. Steven Kotler is one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of flow. He created the Flow Genome Project that is all about “decoding the peak performance state of flow.” (<—Awesome.) In this book we take a peak at how we can get our greatness on. Big Ideas include a quick look at flow and how to hack it, achieving mastery sans misery, using fear as a compass and how to do the impossible.

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Peak

Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Anders Ericsson is the world’s leading scientist studying expert performance—looking at how, precisely, the people who are the best in the world at what they do became the best. In this Note, we take a quick look at The Gift that we all have that’s the key to our potential greatness, HOW to go about tapping into the benefits of that gift via a certain type of practice (forget naive practice and go for purposeful + deliberate!), the fact that there is no such thing as a “10,000 Hour Rule,” and why we should be called Homo Exercens rather than Homo Sapiens. :)

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Peak Performance

Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success

Brad Stulberg is a writer focused on health and the science of human performance. (Amy Cuddy calls him her favorite health and science writer.) Steve Magness is a coach to some of the top distance runners in the world. Together, they’ve written a super-engaging, quick-reading book on how to pursue growth in a healthy, sustainable way—aka, without burning out. Big Ideas we explore include the secret equation of sustainable awesome (Stress + Rest = Growth), just-manageable challenges, the iPhone Effect Part 3 (aka how to decrease your productivity in one step!), the optimal work/rest ratio, and the paradoxical twist of fulfillment.

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Coaching the Mental Game

Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Everyday Life

Harvey Dorfman was one of the world’s leading mental training experts. Major League Baseball described him as a “pioneering sports psychologist.” He earned World Series rings as the mental skills coach for both the Oakland A’s and Florida Marlins. In this book, he covers the A to Z of mental discipline. Big Ideas we explore include Carpe momentum (seize the task at hand!), the peak performance cycle (approach + results + response), the blind men (and their elephant), and Percussus Resurgo (“Struck down. I rise again!”).

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The Power of Full Engagement

Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

Loehr and Schwartz tell us we've gotta manage ENERGY not time if we wanna really optimize our lives. Their book is pure goodness. In this Note, we'll explore the four principles of full engagement, why we want to be more like sprinters rather than marathon runners, that there's a pulse of life and we need to honor it, and the power of positive rituals. And some other really Big Ideas on getting our Full Engagement on.

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Mind Gym

An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence

We go to the gym to work out our bodies. But what about our minds? We need a mind gym!! This is one of the top books on mental training. Focused on athletes but we're all athletes in the bigger game of life. In this Note, we'll hit the mind gym hard--learning how to move beyond our perceived limits, manage pressure, build confidence and show up consistently.

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Bounce

Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success

What do you think about excellence? Do you think it’s primarily driven by natural, inborn talent? Or, do you think that it’s primarily driven by effort? Matthew Syed tells us that’s a very important decision that has a broad impact on how we show up and shows us how to Bounce into our highest potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the iceberg illusion, 1 million balls, doublethink and the importance of purposeful practice + the growth mindset.

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Spartan Up!

A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

Spartan Up!! Want a swift kick in the optimizing butt?! This is the book for you. It truly is "a take-no-prisoners guide to overcoming obstacles and achieving performance" delivered with enthusiasm by Joe De Sena--the renowned endurance/adventure racer who created Spartan Race. We'll look at what's impossible vs. just really hard, how to pass the cookie test as we develop grit and learn how to get to the next telephone pole in the race of life.

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Raise Your Game

High-Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best

Alan Stein is a peak-performance coach who was immersed in the basketball world for fifteen years and now applies that wisdom to the broader game of life. I’m a huge fan of peak performance books, especially those with sports themes so I enjoyed this book. It’s broken down into three parts, capturing the various roles we play in life and work: Part I: Player, Part II: Coach and Part III: Team. Each section features a set of five core virtues we need to master and integrate across each domain. Big Ideas we explore include the importance of Self-Awareness (it's virtue #1!!), two case studies on discipline (featuring Steph Curry and Kobe Bryant), the comparison game (note: you will always (!) lose), the five virtues of being a great Coach, and one more rep (up Hell on the Hill).

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Elite Minds

How Winners Think Differently to Create a Competitive Edge and Maximize Success

Stan Beecham is a sports psychologist who has worked with many of the world’s elite athletes. As per the title of the book, he tells us that it’s their MINDS that make the difference in sustained high levels of performance—creating a competitive edge and maximizing success. Big Ideas we explore include your case of mistaken identity (you're greater than you think), the curse of perfection (remember to play poorly well), the true meaning of the word "compete" (= "to strive WITH" not against) and of the word "contest" (= "to make a promise"!) your ultimate opponent (fear!!) and the ultimate question: To go or not to go (Answer: GO!!!).

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Go Long!

My Journey Beyond the Game and the Fame

Jerry Rice is the greatest NFL wide receiver of all time. You might also know him from his Dancing with the Stars awesomeness. And, perhaps most importantly, he seems like a really good guy—committed to being a role model and expressing the best version of himself in everything he does. I always knew Jerry had an extraordinary work ethic and I thought it would be fun to hear about his journey in his own words. And, here we are. Big Ideas we explore include: Jerry on fear (you might be surprised how much fear drove his success), the voices in his head (that wisely said, "Never quit!"), growth and grit (Jerry is a poster child for the science of both), how to practice (hint: the way you want to play), what he did after breaking the all-time touchdown record (hint: showed up for training the next day THREE hours before everyone else), and the best you (that's what we're chasing!).

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Win or Learn

Gregor and Me: A Trainer's Journey

John Kavanagh is one of the best MMA coaches in the world. He runs Straight Blast Gym Ireland and has been coaching the superstar Conor McGregor—one of the best MMA fighters in history—since the day he got into MMA and arrived in his gym. John was also Ireland’s first MMA fighter and its first Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Plus, he’s a down-to-earth, humble guy. This is his inspiring story about his journey to the top and it reads like a case study in the growth mindset and grit. Big Ideas we cover include the fact that “Win or Learn” is literally THE PERFECT mantra for the growth mindset, Conor's path from welfare to $100m, the goldfish-bowl effect (need to hop out of your bowl?), standing up and falling down (and then getting back up!), loving what we do as the secret sauce to awesome (science says!!) and remembering that there's no easy route to any destination worth getting to.

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The New Toughness Training for Sports

Mental Emotional Physical Conditioning from One of the World's Premier Sports Psychologists

Jim Loehr is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and peak performance experts. In this great book, he tells us how all champions are able to access their Ideal Performance States, why we want to lean into challenges, how to make waves throughout out day and the first rule of toughness.

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How Bad Do You Want It?

Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle

Matt Fitzgerald is a journalist, coach, sports nutritionist, and author of more than 20 books. In this book, he walks us through the different scientific perspectives on how to tap into our latent potential with a deep dive into what’s known as the “Psychobiological Model.” It’s a super-engaging look at some ridiculously inspiring elite athletes and how they mastered their minds to do some extraordinary things. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the psycholobiological model (see: sub-title of the book: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle), the fire walk of life (how far do you get to your wall?), the psychology of pain (brace yourself!), perfectionism (vs. optimalism), the audience effect (eyeballs = better performance), motivation (= the strongest influence) and Steve Prefontaine's approach to crushing it ("Bring it on!").

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The Oxygen Advantage

Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter

Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading teachers of the Buteyko Breathing Method which was created in the 1950s by a Russian doctor named Dr. Konstantin Buteyko. McKeown suffered from asthma for decades until he found the Buteyko Method. At which point, he reversed his asthma symptoms and then dedicated his life to helping others optimize their breathing. In this book, he extends the Buteyko Method into an approach he calls the Oxygen Advantage. Big Ideas we cover include the #1 obstacle to optimal breathing, Oxygen Delivery 101, the #1 breathing tip, and how to dial in your sleep.

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The Road to Sparta

Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World's Greatest Footrace

Do you know why we call our modern marathon a marathon? You may think you know the real story behind the very first marathon, but in this captivating, inspiring tale, Dean Karnazes (named by Men’s Health as one of the 100 Fittest Men of All Time) gives us a deeper look at the man who, 2,500 years ago, ran the first ULTRAmarathon and, in doing so, effectively saved Western civilization. :) Big Ideas we explore: a history lesson The Battle of Marathon, why balance doesn’t lead to happiness (and what does), a 24 Hour Fitness with Harvard profs, heroes are ready and how to play the pain game.

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The Ultra Mindset

An Endurance Champion's 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life

Travis Macy is best known as the record-setting champion of Leadman—“a sort of six-week Grand Prix of Ultra Endurance” that consists of a jaw-dropping number of challenges. This book is a fun look at the eight principles that make up the Ultra Mindset Travis uses to do extraordinary things. Big Ideas we explore include: Your new mantra, what to do when you don’t feel like it, thinking about thinking, making the choice to give up choice, and never quitting… except when you should quit (w/a great litmus test for when you should/shouldn’t quit).

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The Mental Edge

Maximize Your Sports Potential with the Mind-Body Connection

This is an old-school mental training book written for athletes in 1999. When Kenneth Baum wrote it, the mind-body connection wasn’t as well-established as it is now so many of the ideas he shares were cutting-edge at the time. Big Ideas we explore include the power of a desire inferno, DROPing into WOOP, power talk, 26,000 breaths a day, and Maslow’s warning.

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Be Quick -- But Don't Hurry

Finding Success in the Teachings of a Lifetime

Be quick!! But don't hurry. John Wooden repeat that all.the.time to his players in every.single.practice. We need to live with intensity (!), fully showing up and playing at the edge of our abilities WHILE staying centered. Andy Hill walks us through how he learned how to do that playing under Wooden during their dynasty days.

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The Champion's Comeback

How Great Athletes Recover, Reflect, and Re-Ignite

Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists. We covered his first book The Champion’s Mind. This one is kinda like part 2 in which we look at how the Champion responds to the inevitable (!) setbacks faced on the road to greatness—using those setbacks as opportunities to bounce back and make a sweet comeback. Big Ideas we explore include seeing setbacks as challenges rather than threats, outperforming our contracts, practicing ’till you can’t get it wrong, and the 3 P’s of peak performance.

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My Fight Your Fight

Ronda Rousey is a TOUGH human being. If you’re even remotely familiar with MMA/the UFC, I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know but reading this book brings the point home even more loud and clear. If you don’t know Ronda, ESPN just voted her the best fighter on the planet. She’s an Olympic medalist in Judo and the biggest (and highest paid!) star in the mixed martial arts world. Imagine if Bruce Lee was alive today. And he was a woman. That’s Ronda Rousey. :)

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Born to Run

A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Christopher McDougall is an extraordinary writer and this is a fascinating book. We covered his more recent book Natural Born Heroes in which he profiles World War II Cretan resistance fighters and their amazing physical feats. In this one, Christopher takes us on an incredible journey to meet a hidden tribe that can run forever (well, almost!) and an eclectic group of iconoclastic superathletes who meet them in the Copper Canyons of Mexico to run the greatest race the world has never seen. Big Ideas we cover include the secret power of glee + determination, the two goddesses (wisdom + wealth) and which one to pursue, the beast and how to love it, proper running form, and how to do super-challenging things.

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Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect

This book is not only a golf/sports psychology classic, but a great primer on approaching life with the right mindset. If you’re into golf, you’ll love it. Big Ideas we explore include: Being an expander rather than a shrink, smaller targets leading to greater focus, the importance of your short game (in golf AND in life), fear vs. nervousness, paying a caddie to berate you and expectations: the good and the bad.

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Finding Your Zone

Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life

Would you like to find the Zone more often? Well, yah! Leading sports psychologist Michael Lardon, M.D. shows us how. 10 core lessons. In the Note, we'll look at why you want to have two scorecards, the importance of activation energy (451 degrees, please!!) and how to keep your confidence dialed in.

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#552 Positivity, Science of

For Peak Performance in Sports and in Life
Continuing our time with world-class CrossFit coach Ben Bergeron, let’s look at another one of his champion characteristics: Positivity.
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#13 Good Bad Days

Mastering the Art of Playing Badly Well
Jack Nicklaus once said that the real key to being a great golfer was “playing badly well.” It’s one thing to play well when
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#57 How to Put on Your (Life-)Socks

Wisdom from the Greatest Coach Ever
John Wooden’s UCLA basketball teams won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, including an 88-game winning streak. (Go Bruins!) ESPN says
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#539 Jack Nicklaus Never Missed a 3-Foot Putt

Nor Did He Ever Three Putt on the Final Hole
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been having fun hanging out with the sports psychologist of Champions, Bob Rotella. We talked about
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#619 How to Win Forever

After Losing for Over 15 Years
In our last couple +1s, we had fun hanging out with Jerry Rice and scoring some touchdowns. Let’s continue our sports theme for a bit
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#621 How to Be Like Mike

Go All In (Skip the Gatorade)
In our last +1, we talked about the great Sufi poet Rumi and compared his spiritual intensity with some sports icons. I said Rumi would have
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#1220 Peak Performance You

Flip the Switch—TODAY!
In our last +1, we got an inspiring (Hoosiers-inspired) pep talk from Admiral McRaven right before engaging in our next most important
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#703 How Bad Do You Want It?

Mind Over Obstacles
Matt Fitzgerald wrote a great book called How Bad Do You Want It? It’s a great addition to the
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#856 Practicing with Kobe (At 4am)

Wonder What We’ll Work On…
In our last +1, we chatted about The Comparison Game with Alan Stein. Remember: The odds of us losing that game are (precisely!) 100%. So…
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#560 Full Effort = Full Victory

Gandhi, Matt Damon and Will Smith on Winning
We’ve been talking a lot about how champions maximize minutes—giving everything they’ve got into being the best versions of
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#266 Champions Do More

Got 10 Reps? Give Me 11!
Continuing our theme of stepping up and into our very own World Champion You Training Camp, let’s have fun with a little practice of mine.
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#548 Just Execute Your Game Plan

Wooden and Lombardi and You
A couple +1s ago, we talked about Vince Lombardi and John Wooden chasing perfection and catching excellence. Today I want to chat about
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#1256 Conscious Competence

Is Where It’s At
As you know if you’ve been following along, I’m a big fan of mental toughness books—whether that’s coming from peak performers in
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#991 The Peak Performance Equation

Stress + Rest = Growth
In our last +1, we talked about some wisdom from Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness’s great book The Passion Paradox. Recall1: We can have
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#587 Making the Impossible Possible

How to Make It What’s for Breakfast in X Tomorrows
As we’ve discussed, Steven Kotler wrote The Rise of Superman. His “No pressure, no diamonds” mantra goes through my head at least a
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#693 Channeling Mia Hamm

The Vision of a Champion
Not too long ago we talked about how much I enjoy training in the rain. I mentioned how I start every Trail workout with the same (super
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#977 Start Strong!

Got Any Starting Lines in Your Life?
In our last +1, we talked about the importance of finishing strong. I shared a bit about the origin story of my first business, eteamz. It
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#537 Squirrels, Einstein and You

Two Mindsets: Training vs. Trusting
In our last +1, we had fun dominating our dishes with Byron Katie. Get this: The same day I was thinking about that, I was driving to my
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#524 Ambition + Routine

“Routine, in an Intelligent Person, Is a Sign of Ambition.”
Daily Rituals is a fascinating book that features brief vignettes of the idiosyncratic habits of 161 of history’s most iconoclastic
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#311 Ideal Performance State

Emotional Consistency and Peak Performance
Jim Loehr is one of the world’s leading authorities on peak performance. He and Tony Schwartz wrote The Power of Full Engagement and
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#645 Boundaries or Burnout

100% On + 100% Off <- Repeat
In our last +1, we talked about how the Peak Performance guys recommend we craft our optimal work-to-rest ratio. Pop quiz: You recall the
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#604 Interleaving

A Key Way to Learn
In Learning 101, we talked about a concept scientists call “interleaving.” The basic idea is simple: If you want to learn something,
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#1263 The Illusion of Choice

Want Greatness? There Is No Choice
We’re kinda on a roll exploring some of Trevor Moawad’s peak performance wisdom from his great book It Takes What It Takes so, I say,
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#224 Rest Before You’re Tired

Remember Your Heart and Its Billions of Beats
Do you know how many times your heart beats in a lifetime? That obviously depends on a number of factors, but for the sake of discussion
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#857 Practice: When Can I Stop?

Great Ones Say…
In our last +1, we hung out with Kobe Bryant and Alan Stein in the gym at 4am. Doing what? HAMMERING our fundamentals, of course. (Fun fact:
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#705 The Psychology of Pain

Want to Endure More Pain? Science Says: Brace Yourself
Continuing our exploration of how to endure the pain of walking over burning (psychological) coals in pursuit of the upper limits of our
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#551 Maximizing Minutes

Ben Bergeron + Dan Millman on Mastery
A few +1s ago we spent some time with world-champion CrossFit coach Ben Bergeron. Let’s have another quick wisdom session with this
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#1110 What Great Performance Looks Like

Look! Up, Up in the Sky!
In our last +1, we did some swooping and gliding and hunting with a red-tailed hawk and our bird-watching guide: Carlos Castaneda. Today I
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#487 Breath Control = Emotional Control

See: Navy SEALs, All Elite Performers, YOU!
Concluding this edition of our breathing series, let’s talk about the fact that BREATH CONTROL = SELF-CONTROL. You know how elite
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#270 2 Scorecards

One for the Lead + Another for the Lag
While we’re on a roll with the 4 Disciplines of Execution, let’s circle back and talk a bit more about the Lead vs. Lag Measures. This
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#252 Consistency over Intensity

The Secret Sauce to Awesome Sauce
After selling my first business over fifteen years ago, I had enough money to spend some time figuring out what I wanted to do when I grew
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#955 Falling on Your Butt

Approximately 20,000 Times
Geoff Colvin’s Talent Is Overrated is a great book. It falls into the “Effort Counts Twice” / Deliberate Practice bucket of how to
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#1219 SEALs and Hoosiers

Get Your Tape Measure Out and Let’s Go!
In our last +1, we made it through one evolution at a time with William McRaven as he endured Hell Week and became a Navy SEAL. Fast forward
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#1257 “That Works!”

Let’s Do It Again (And Again) (And Again)
In our last +1, we talked about Trevor Moawad’s distinctions on Conscious Competence from his great book It Takes What It Takes. As we
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#1280 How to Be a Success

Wisdom from Two World-Class Coaches Named Phil
In our last +1, we drew some Venn circles with my Yoda and had fun high fiving God by giving ALL we’ve got. Today I want to chat about
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#546 Catching Excellence

As We Chase Perfection
In our last +1, we talked about Ben Bergeron—the CrossFit Games coach whose athletes have won six world championships. I briefly mentioned
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#580 Average vs. Elite

How to Practice: Right vs. Wrong
In our last +1, we talked about Zen in the Art of Spartan Spear Throwing and the recent installation of a spear throw setup in our backyard,
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#263 World Champion You Training Camp

What Would Your Life Look Like If THAT Was the Standard?
Josh Waitzkin is a fascinating guy. You know that movie Searching for Bobby Fisher featuring a little chess prodigy kid? Well, Josh was that
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#470 How to Win the Olympic Games

Hint: Compete
I can’t resist. One more +1 on Aristotle. So… The Olympic Games started in Olympia (not too far outside of Athens) in 776 BC. A few
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#230 Marginal Gains

Here’s How to Win
Once upon a time, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France. Over 100 years of trying, and, precisely, zero wins. Then a guy named
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#602 The Ultimate Anabolic (Pseudo)Steroids

Aka: Training Your Recovery
In our last +1, we talked about The Mystery of the Hairy Fingers and how to alchemize suffering into laughter like a five-year-old. 😜 I
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#622 The Growth Mindset

Jordan, Picasso and You
In our last +1, we talked about how to be like Mike sans the sugar-laden Gatorade. 🤓 I briefly mentioned the fact that Jordan was
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#28 Emotional Stamina

What to Do When You’re Having a Rough Day
What do you do when you’re having a rough day? Maybe it starts the moment you wake up and you just don’t feel like doing your normal
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#629 Sleeping with Tom Brady

And Roger Federer and LeBron James
Tom Brady is one of the (if not the) greatest football players of all time. He’s won five Super Bowl Championships and is still dominating
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#630 Want to Be Great?

Find the Time. Find the Energy
In our last +1, we talked about LeBron James and the fact that he tries to get 11 to 12 hours of sleep per day when he’s training. (So
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#647 Alarms: Work-Down vs. Wake-Up

One’s (at Least!) 10x Better than the Other
Not too long ago, we chatted about Roger Federer, LeBron James and Tom Brady and how much those all-time greats prioritized sleep. As you
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1:59

The Sub-Two-Hour Marathon Is Within Reach―Here's How It Will Go Down, and What It Can Teach All Runners about Training and Racing

Phil Maffetone is one of the greatest (if not THE) greatest endurance coaches ever. He’s coached everyone from the best triathlete in history (Mark Allen) to some of the best race car drivers (like the Andretti brothers). He even toured with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers as their wellness coach and helped Rick Rubin Optimize his life. This book is a fun look at Maffetone’s perspective on how to go about breaking the elusive 2-hour marathon. As he says in the sub-title, it’s all about “how it will go down” AND “what it can teach all runners about training and racing.” If you’re a marathoner, this might be the perfect way to get introduced to Maffetone’s core ideas. I loved it as another way to drill Maffetone’s core ideas into my mind and training methodology. It’s basically a holistic look at all the marginal gains we can apply to reach our running potential. Big Ideas we cover include a quick look at just how fast a 1:59 pace is (sub-4:35 min mile for 26.2 miles = CRAZY fast!), the importance of the MIND in hitting the target, why AEROBIC speed is so important (plus, what it is and how to train it), the ideal training schedule (is super dynamic and personal), how to run properly (hot coal technique!), and balancing the catabolic + anabolic phases of training.

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Spartan Fit!

30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit.

Joe De Sena is the founder of the Spartan Race. He’s also, as Angela Duckworth, author of Grit, tells us: “a paragon of grit” who “shows you how you’re capable of so much more than you think.” A paragon of grit. That’s the perfect description. After inspiring us with stories of real-life heroes and ancient Spartan lore, De Sena walks us through the seven pillars of Spartan training + a 30-day plan to get Spartan Fit. Big Ideas we explore include getting to the starting line, developing obstacle immunity, making thousands of small decisions and your gritty oath.