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3 Books From Outside the Sports Genre For 2017

Check out these professional development recommendations you should add to your bookshelf.

There’s no better time than the start of a new year to commit to making an investment in yourself. If you’re fortunate enough to get a break in the action over the holidays to catch up and rest, a good book can serve as a great retreat from the daily grind.

While there are many sports books available that focus on topics like leadership, team building and hard work, navigating outside of the sports genre to find practical books with relevant takeaways can be a challenge.

Here are three non-sport professional development books to add to your 2017 reading list:

1. The Art of Thinking Clearly

Author: Rolf Dobelli

This book is a quick read and applicable for anyone making decisions based on analysis. Each chapter highlights a different way we can incorrectly make decisions through different biases and errors.

Amazon.com summary: The Art of Thinking Clearly by world-class thinker and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning — essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid “cognitive errors” and make better choices in all aspects of their lives.

Have you ever: Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn’t worth it? Or continued doing something you knew was bad for you? These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to spot them, we can avoid them and make better decisions.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision-making—work, at home, every day. It reveals, in 99 short chapters, the most common errors of judgment, and how to avoid them.”

2. Ego is the Enemy

Author: Ryan Holiday

This book is particularly relevant for anyone in the early stages of his or her career, and gives practical advice on how to put aside your ego in order to learn and grow as person. If you’re looking for applications to the world of sport, this book has you covered. It’s filled with case studies from the NFL, NCAA basketball and MMA. Holiday’s previous book, The Obstacle is the Way, was a cult hit in some circles of the sports industry.

Amazon.com summary: “Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to his­tory. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.

In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, 'you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.'”

3. The Non-Designer's Design Book

Author: Robin Williams

Formal design training is not a prerequisite for a career as an analyst. However, being able to effectively communicate information with your team is an important quality.

This book covers fundamental design principles that can be readily applied to almost every part of your workflow - building code windows, output reports and putting together presentations.

For additional reading, be sure to check out our article on designing custom presentation slides in Keynote.

Amazon.com review: “For nearly 20 years, designers and non-designers alike have been introduced to the fundamental principles of great design by author Robin Williams. Through her straightforward and light-hearted style, Robin has taught hundreds of thousands of people how to make their designs look professional using four surprisingly simple principles. 

Now in its fourth edition, The Non-Designer’s Design Book offers even more practical design advice, including a new chapter on the fundamentals of typography, more quizzes and exercises to train your Designer Eye, updated projects for you to try, and new visual and typographic examples to inspire your creativity.”

Have a must-read that didn’t make our list? Drop it in the comments below.

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