Made to Stickby Chip & Dan Heath
A book on communication that manages to follow its own advice is a treat. This is one of the most practically helpful books I have ever read. The plan they lay out for making ideas sticky is one that is beneficial whether explaining something to your kids, writing a marketing plan, or preaching a sermon.
Gladwell is an author I really enjoy. His journalistic exploration of certain trends or ideas is always fresh and intriguing. While this book isn’t very prescriptive, it does offer some useful concepts and roles for helping your idea or product go from nothing to something or from good to great. Mainly, though it is Gladwell’s stories that make his books interesting. They are like biographies of concepts, and I think this is the best one he’s written to date.
I think this book grabbed me because it was such a trend setter. You can hear the voice of Dale Carnegie in self-help books and business leadership books that have been published for decades hence. His principles and how-tos are so basic that they almost seem simplistic, but they add up to an impressive and decidedly helpful whole.
As a former high school football player I was utterly drawn into this tale. Bissinger spent a year in Odessa, TX detailing the lives of the Permian High School Panthers. He delves into relationships in and out of football, their place in the community (mini deities), their plans for the future, and of course their successes and failures as a football team. As in most cases, the book was better than the movie (and had nothing to do with the TV show). Bissinger is masterful in expressing the thoughts, challenges, hopes, and disappointments of a whole team and a whole town.
The legend of St. Anthony could just as easily be called “The Legend or Bob Hurley Sr.,” the larger-than-life coach of a tiny catholic school in Jersy City, NJ. For decades, Hurley has coached St. Anthony to unparalleled success under utterly unfavorable circumstances. At a tiny school with no money in a destitute area riddled with drugs and crime, Hurley, a crusty aging white guy, has carved out his basketball empire. This is the story, expertly written, of how his consistent toughness and demands for unflagging effort turn an under-performing and under-sized team into champions. Again.