As many of you know, I have a strong passion for books. I often say that when I left the NCAA and went back on the Professional tour, books were my head coach. I relied heavily on them to provide me with perspective, guidance, ideas, and overall knowledge. My love of books served me plenty as a tennis player but has especially helped me as a person and in my aspirations with Mission Elite.
We at Mission Elite believe heavily in the power of taking time to learn in each and every position of the company. It is something when developing schedules we make sure to specifically cement in our days.
I take it one step further by reading, listening, thinking, writing, and discussing learned topics even in my spare time. I feel this is such a critical component to be effective in my role within the company. See, reading, and listening, helps you expand your base of knowledge, providing you with a world of new tools to apply in your endeavors through life. While upon reflection, writing and speaking act as a source for synthesizing, understanding, and articulating the tools and new knowledge you have.
With that being said, each quarter, I plan to share the top 10 books I've read over the quarter. I have done this in the past and felt it to be valuable and interesting for those who follow.
1. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
This book taught me what might genuinely matter to you at the end of your life. This book also provided me with an even deeper appreciation for the elderly. I spent the following days telling my friends that if you really want to know what matters in life, observe how the elderly live theirs.
One of my favorite parts was when Morrie, on his deathbed, is asked to describe his ideal day and does so with nothing but the simplistic pleasures we so often take for granted.
I pose this question to you. What do you think will matter to you on your own deathbed?
2. The Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail - Ray Dalio
This book taught me the importance of studying history. Not just political or economic history but the history of all topics you find yourself curious about or with a problem to be solved. Often in life and individualistic sectors, we are surprised by things we didn't see coming. This may be a natural response to all the new occurrences within our lifetime, but if willing to study the history that took place even before, we may find that what is currently in front of us has actually happened before. Buy into the importance of knowing and understanding what has historically happened. It may help you prepare for what could come for the first time within your lifetime.
Furthermore, this book was fascinating because it helped me further understand the reasoning for the current global political situations we are facing.
3. Hard Landing - Thomas Petzinger, Jr
The invention of airplanes had an incredible impact on advancing our lives and capabilities as humans. Most who refuse or have yet to search beneath the surface of such an excellent resource at our disposal might ignore the costs or the impact operating an airline must undergo to provide this service.
I wanted to seek further into a couple of personal questions I had regarding the airline industry being one that provided such an incredible service but was so volatile. As well as why, besides personal gains, which logically seeking is not most effectively found through operating within the airline industry, one would be willing to take on such a high risk, low reward, and operationally consequential path.
This book taught me that excellent service often follows great risk and sacrifice that may often go unappreciated by the public. However, we choose to take on that responsibility regardless of recognition, acknowledgment, or personal gain because it is how we make the world a better place.
4. The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great - Ben Shapiro
This book allowed me to think critically and in detail about our world, progression, and regression.
We are and have improved in so many ways. People live longer, are more educated, there is less poverty, we are more accepting of diversity, our quality of life materially speaking has drastically improved, and we are more civilized statistically speaking than ever, for example.
But we have also digressed in so many ways. Suicide, depression, loneliness, trust, and the presence of following feelings over facts are at some of their highest recorded rates ever.
How can we use history and stop to think critically about where we have gone right and where we have gone wrong. What led to our progressions, and what has led to our regressions. Continuing to ignore the necessities for evaluating our success and errors throughout history puts us at risk of moving forward without a clear path to a much more complete and whole world and life.
5. One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - Matthew Yglesias
This book made me think about the advancement of society. How we advance our community is through people. More people is a good thing. Each added individual has unique and extra skills to positively and beneficially provide to the world. The challenge lies in getting creative about supporting each person with our current fixed resources. We need to be able to afford more people and provide them with strong quality. If we cannot accomplish this, then we cannot grow and will instead stagnate. The issue is that in a forward-moving world, moving faster each day, staying still means moving backward. Listening to Yglesias think about how to solve a problem that in his mind must be solved helped me think about our own issues surrounding Mission Elite. We know we can help people, and we have had the creative genes to solve resource issues at each stage so far. But each step in continuing to help more and more people will become more complex, and like in Yglesias's mind, doing anything less than solving this problem is non-negotiable. We must do so, and so the question lies in the how.
The importance of creative solution makers is so apparent through reading this book.
6. Blockchain Revolution - Don and Alex Tapscott
I found this book fascinating in the aspect for which we can improve and alleviate traditional practices that genuinely do not serve us to the extent that we can be. This book was an inspiration for my own ideas on how we can improve and innovate within our company's own services and the traditional standards within our industry.
Where can we provide better, more efficient, and more effective services for our clients is a question that kept going through my head.
What the invention of blockchain may be doing for our financial system surrounding financial transparency, security, immediacy, and maximization can truly be used as a source of inspiration for systems within other industries as well.
7. Beyond Order: Jordan Peterson
When I read Jordan's first book, "The Antidote for Chaos" I was at a crossroads filled with uncertainty after retiring from professional tennis, coaching in the NCAA, and returning to pro tennis. Needless to say, it was a time of uncertainty. However, I dedicated a large part of my success in my comeback to the lessons I learned from his first book on how to navigate life in times of uncertainty.
Now, I feel much more direction and structure within my life, meaning his new book, "Beyond Order" which in many ways balances out his first book, came to me at a perfect time.
This book shines a light on how it is important to be structured and create certainty but not so much that you lose all sources of creativity and discovery. Life is about the balance between chaos and order. We must make sure we possess the right amount of both while moving in a direction that will help us end up in a better place than we started. Both of his books combined will teach you how to do this.
8. The Spatial Web - Gabriel Rene
I felt this book to be essential for further understanding what is to come. Especially when technology is becoming more and more prevalent and advanced, we must learn how to combat some of the dangers to come and be aware of what to expect. I speak a lot about the importance of history regarding repeating effective practices and shielding yourself from repeating harms. However, becoming aware of the future and maximizing the future procedures is also crucial. We must secure ourselves from the liability from what our future can hold and learn what to or not engage in regarding the future.
Those who not only understand how the world came to be but how the world will come to be will find themselves much ahead of the curve.
9. For Love of Country - Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
This book outlines the importance of veterans and how they continued to contribute even after their time on duty.
These veterans post-service tended to become some of the most valuable people in developing their communities back home.
Throughout this book, I couldn't help but think about how we neglect or do not include our former top tennis players following their playing careers. We have to do a better job retaining former top players into positions of leaders, advisors, and coaches within our sport. If we want to improve the development of our youth, the ones who have navigated the competitive circuit at the highest levels before must be involved in this process. We must figure out how we can make staying engaged in this sport, post-playing career, a more viable option. Our former top players have so much more to offer, and we are currently facing a coaching shortage. What is crazy is how our current list of coaches and or advisors in Canadian tennis does not include so many of our former top players. These former players can help share with our current non-top playing coaches what it takes to personally navigate the competitive playing field.
We have produced so many exceptional players in our history. Still, few of them continue with this sports post-playing careers when provided with alternative options. It is not that the former players do not want to share their experience and knowledge in which they dedicated their lives to learning either. It is actually that the current coaches or leaders have not been willing to embrace them or find a creative way that would attract them into development roles. This may be due to insecurities about their own lack of playing careers or lack of innovative solutions. However, this must be solved if we want to maximize our current set of tennis players' potential.
Two questions arise 1. How can we continue to include our former top players in helping the future generation in attractive ways? 2. How can current coaches, leaders, and advisors, insecure or threatened by these former top players, put competitive development over their own status or position.
If we can solve these two questions, it will undoubtedly produce better competitive results for the advancement and development of our current set of professionals and juniors. Why? Because our tennis veterans firsthand know what it takes to actually go to battle at the highest levels.
10. The Defining Decade - Meg Jay
Recommended by one of my good friends who wanted to stress the point of urgency and navigate this decade with as little regret as possible. The importance of understanding the value of time and how to make each precious moment, regardless of age, count, is evident in this book.
I learned through this book that we must not procrastinate in life. Don't think you are young and can tackle the issues of tomorrow later. Tomorrow will come in the blink of an eye, and you will be unprepared. Mature fast, organize your priorities in life and live better and fuller in the long run for it.