As I did last year, I think there is value in passing along my favorite books of the year. Not necessarily because I think I have some great insight into what books may be impactful on you, but instead because the books you read give an insight into how your thought process evolves and changes.
|A few of the books I read in 2014|
Last year, I provided a trend of my book reading history as I evolved from a very specific base of running/training books and have continued this further branch outwards towards disparate topics that on first glance have little to do with my actual sport and job. Last year's theme could be summed up as a glimpse into my evolution of learning. At some point I had to ask the question why is that?
And after pondering I think the answer is connection.
You see, the ability to connect seemingly disparate concepts is what I think defines true knowledge and understanding. It's when the clouds part and you start to see how different things in life connect and can translate into useful information in your specialty when things get really interesting. And it makes complete sense. The brain, and memory in particular, function best by establishing connections. As author and storyteller Neil Strauss put it, "The brain learns through metaphor and story telling."
It's the narrative that matters. What happens when we force ourselves to read topics that aren't exactly in our field of expertise is that we lose some of our biases and blindness. In my field of running, I have extreme comfort in most areas, so it's almost as if my brain goes on slight autopilot. We browse through the material, quickly able to filter and identify what matters, what is right, what is wrong, and what is useful. When we read something off topic, we lack this filter and have to evaluate and think about claims. Or in Daniel Kahneman's terms, we get to System 2.
The key is knowing just enough to be dangerous, but not knowing so much to be blind to the more subtle points being made. And that's the life of a coach. You are an expert, but in reality you are an expert at being a generalist. In my coaching I have to play part time coach, physiologist, physical therapist, trainer, strength coach, psychologist, biomechanist, counselor, and a number of different things.
Without going to far into a reflection on 2014, as I'm sure I'll find time to blog about that at some time, here are my favorite books that I read in 2014, that caused me to make the most connections.
(I get a lot of my reading lists from recommendations from friends, so feel free to post your best books of the year in the comments!)