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Books

Sports Business Management Books

A Season on the Brink (1986)

Author: John Feinstein

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A Season on the Brink chronicles the basketball season that John Feinstein spent following the Indiana Hoosiers and their fiery coach, Bob Knight. Knight granted Feinstein an unprecedented inside look at college basketball - with complete access to every moment of the season. Feinstein saw and heard it all - practices, team meetings, strategy sessions, and mid-game huddles - during Knight's struggle to avoid a losing season. A Season on the Brink not only captures the drama and pressure of big-time college basketball but paints a vivid portrait of a complex, brilliant coach walking a fine line between genius and madness.
A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports (2006)

Author: Brad Snyder

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After the 1969 season, the St. Louis Cardinals traded their star center fielder, Curt Flood, to the Philadelphia Phillies, setting off a chain of events that would change professional sports forever. At the time there were no free agents, no no-trade clauses. When a player was traded, he had to report to his new team or retire. Unwilling to leave St. Louis and influenced by the civil rights movement, Flood chose to sue Major League Baseball for his freedom. His case reached the Supreme Court, where Flood ultimately lost. But by challenging the system, he created an atmosphere in which, just three years later, free agency became a reality. Flood’s decision cost him his career, but as this dramatic chronicle makes clear, his influence on sports history puts him in a league with Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali.
Athletes Are Brands Too: How Brand Marketing Can Save Today's Athlete (2017)

Author: Jeremy Darlow

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Athletes Are Brands Too teaches athletes at every level how to build a brand that can lead to success in life, regardless of what happens in their athletic career. One part road map, one part call to arms, this guide gives athletes the tools to build their influence, beat the odds, and leverage their athletic accomplishments well beyond sports. In the world of athlete branding, it's easier to crash a party than throw a party. This book will show you how.
Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset On and Off the Court (2017)

Author: Jay Wright, Mark Dagostino, and Michael Sheridan

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In Attitude, Coach Wright shares some of the leadership secrets that have enabled Villanova, a private university with an undergraduate enrollment of less than 6,500, to thrive in the hypercompetitive world of college athletics. As he recounts the story of the 2015–16 Wildcats, Coach Wright offers anecdotes from his own journey up the ladder of success, with lessons learned on the Little League playing fields of his youth and wisdom passed down from his coaches and mentors. Each step of Villanova’s journey to a national championship incorporates a signature term torn from Coach Wright’s own motivational playbook. Here are key principles that aspiring leaders can apply, not only on the basketball court but in the boardroom, the classroom, and the living room. From learning to accept your role to remembering to honor those who came before us, Jay Wright’s core values provide a positive blueprint for transformational team building based on the idea that anyone—from the head coach to the last player on the bench—can be a leader when the moment demands it.
Authentic (2021)

Author: Paul Van Doren

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You may not have known their creator, but you certainly know the shoes: for more than four generations, Vans shoes have been synonymous with cool. Authentic is a celebration of Van Doren’s remarkable life and the iconic brand he built, beloved by skateboarders, creatives, and fans everywhere for its laid-back, colorful SoCal vibe, and famous for its people-oriented company culture. In Authentic, he shares his unlikely journey from high-school dropout to sneaker-industry legend. A blue-collar kid with no higher education and zero retail experience, Van Doren started out as a 16-year-old “service boy” at a local rubber factory. Over the next few decades, he leveraged a knack for numbers, a genius for efficiency, and the know-how to make a great canvas tennis shoe into an all-American success story. What began as a family shoe business has today evolved into a globally recognized brand with billions of dollars of annual revenue. Van Doren is not just an entrepreneur, he’s an innovator.
Ball Four (1970)

Author: Jim Bouton and Leonard Shecter

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When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don't ordinarily follow baseball.
Be Where Your Feet Are (2021)

Author: Scott O'Neil

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When we're moving at 115 MPH, we rarely see the wall coming. But it comes for all of us and when it does, we grasp for lessons, for meaning, for purpose. Each moment (good or bad) and each win or loss, provides us an opportunity to learn, and if we choose to take it, that opportunity can change our lives-and the world- for the better. The human spirit craves connection. Authenticity. Belonging. Touch. Gratitude. Purpose. We need to make our interactions count. In Be Where Your Feet Are, this CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils offers his own story of grief and healing, and shares his most valuable lessons in what keeps him present, grounded and thriving as a father, husband, coach, mentor, and leader. Scott avails his network to share poignant life lessons from an array of people including professional athletes and sports executives, a world-famous Movie Director, Saudi royalty; and his teenage daughters, among many others.
Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics (2014)

Author: Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

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A wealth of research in recent decades has seen the economic approach to human behavior extended over many areas previously considered to belong to sociology, political science, law, and other fields. Research has also shown that economics can provide insight into many aspects of sports, including soccer. Beautiful Game Theory is the first book that uses soccer to test economic theories and document novel human behavior. In this brilliant and entertaining book, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta illuminates economics through the world's most popular sport. He offers unique and often startling insights into game theory and microeconomics, covering topics such as mixed strategies, discrimination, incentives, and human preferences. He also looks at finance, experimental economics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics. Soccer provides rich data sets and environments that shed light on universal economic principles in interesting and useful ways. Essential reading for students, researchers, and sports enthusiasts, Beautiful Game Theory is the first book to show what soccer can do for economics.
Bottom of the Ninth (2009)

Author: Michael Shapiro

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Fifty years ago, as baseball faced crises on and off the field, two larger-than-life figures took center stage, each on a quest to reinvent the national pastime. In the late 1950s, baseball was under siege. Up-and-coming cities that wanted teams of their own were being rebuffed by the owners, and in response Congress was threatening to revoke the sport’s antitrust exemption. These problems were magnified by what was happening on the field, as the New York Yankees were winning so often that true competition was vanishing in the American League. In Bottom of the Ninth, Michael Shapiro brings to life this watershed moment in baseball history. He shows how the legendary executive Branch Rickey saw the game’s salvation in two radical ideas: the creation of a third major league—the Continental League—and the pooling of television revenues for the benefit of all.
Brands Win Championships (2015)

Author: Jeremy Darlow

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Defense doesn't win championships. Defense wins games. Brands win championships. In ten years, the most consistently successful college athletic programs will be those with the strongest brands, not simply the strongest defense or most explosive offense from year to year. It's not just about x's and o's anymore. It's about polarizing uniforms on the field and massive billboards in Times Square. It's about making your brand sexy to seventeen- and eighteen-year-old blue-chip athletes. And this is your guidebook on how to reach them. In the world of college athletics today, it's easier to crash a party than throw a party. Brands Win Championships will show you how. Inside, you'll find three simple brand-building steps that can take your program from bad to good or from good to great.
Call an Audible: Let My Pivot From Harvard Law to NFL Coach Inspire Your Transition (2016)

Author: Daron K. Roberts

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In the summer of 2006, author Daron K. Roberts was just one year away from earning a law degree from his dream school: Harvard. But that summer, in the throes of a clerkship at a Texas law firm, Roberts had a revelation—he wanted something different. Very different. Daron Roberts wanted to be an NFL football coach. After making the transition from Harvard Law student to NFL newbie, Roberts worked as a coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, West Virginia Mountaineers, and the Cleveland Browns. But he’s not forgotten how hard it was to take that first step in a new direction. In Call an Audible, Roberts shares his inspiring journey and reveals his playbook to help guide your next transition.
Can't Knock the Hustle (2021)

Author: Matt Sullivan

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The Nets were already the most intriguing startup in the NBA: a team of influencers, entrepreneurs and activists, starring the controversial Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But this dynasty-in-the-making got disrupted by the unforeseen. One tweet launched an international scandal, pitting the team's Chinese owner and the league's commissioner against its players and LeBron James. The sudden death of Kobe Bryant, after making his final public appearance in Brooklyn, sent shockwaves through a turbulent season. Then came the unimaginable. A global pandemic and a new civil-rights movement put basketball's trend-setting status to the ultimate test, as business and culture followed the lead of the NBA and its empowered stars. No team intersected with the extremes of 2020 quite like the Brooklyn Nets, and Matt Sullivan had a courtside view.
Distant Replay (1985)

Author: Dick Schaap and Jerry Kramer

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The nostalgic reunion of the first Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers of the mid-1960s, elicits reminiscences of their victorious triumphs and their tragic losses, especially of their late coach, Vince Lombardi.
Done Deal (2020)

Author: Daniel Geey

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Whether it is a manager being sacked, the signing of a new star player, television rights negotiations, player misconduct or multi-million-pound club takeovers, lawyers remain at the heart of all football business dealings. Written by leading Premier League lawyer Daniel Geey, who has dealt with all these incidents first hand, this highly accessible book explores the issues--from pitch to boardroom--that shape the modern game and how these impact leagues, clubs, players, and fans. Featuring insider anecdotes and expert contributions, Done Deal provides football fans with a fresh and authoritative perspective on all off-field football matters.
Every Day I Fight: Making a Difference, Kicking Cancer's Ass (2015)

Author: Stuart Scott and Larry Platt

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Shortly before he passed away, on January 4, 2015, Stuart Scott completed work on this memoir. It was both a labor of love and a love letter to life itself. Not only did Stuart relate his personal story - his childhood in North Carolina, his supportive family, his athletic escapades, his on-the-job training as a fledgling sportscaster, his being hired and eventual triumphs at ESPN - but he shared his intimate struggles to keep his story going. Struck by appendiceal cancer in 2007, Stuart battled this rare disease with an unimaginable tenacity and vigor. Countless surgeries, enervating chemotherapies, endless shuttling from home to hospital to office and back - Stuart continued defying fate, pushing himself through exercises and workout routines that kept him strong. He wanted to be there for his teenage daughters, Sydni and Taelor, not simply as their dad but as an immutable example of determination and courage.
Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution (2019)

Author: Christoph Biermann

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Football's data revolution has only just begun. The arrival of advanced metrics and detailed analysis is already reshaping the modern game. We can now fully assess player performance, analyse the role of luck and measure what really leads to victory. There is no turning back. Now the race is on between football's wealthiest clubs and a group of outsiders, nerds and rule-breakers, who are turning the game on its head with their staggering innovations. Winning is no longer just about what happens out on the pitch, it's now a battle taking place in boardrooms and on screens across international borders with the world's brightest minds driving for an edge over their fiercest rivals. Christoph Biermann has moved in the midst of these disruptive upheavals, talking to scientists, coaches, managers, scouts and psychologists in the world's major clubs, traveling across Europe and the US and revealing the hidden - and often jaw-dropping - truths behind the beautiful game.
Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story (1972)

Author: Dave Wolf

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This book is about a professional basketball player, Connie Hawkins, but it is also about American athletics. The hope and despair of the ghetto schoolyard, the cutthroat college recruiting, the camaraderie and dissension in the locker room, the gambling scandals, the blacklists, the legal battles - Hawkins has been through them all. For eight years, the graceful, 6'8" Hawkins was an outcast, playing in tainted obscurity, blacklisted by the NBA. As a frightened teenager, he had made false confessions - under police pressure - and was wrongfully implicated in a fixing scandal. David Wolf's magazine acticle dramatically cleared Hawkins in 1969. Foul! in Connie Hawkin's story, a meticulously documented, remarkably candid biography of one of our greatest athletes. A compelling portrait of a unique and perceptive black man, it is also a behind-the-scenes look at basketball.
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (1990)

Author: Buzz Bissinger

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A profile of the town of Odessa, Texas, and its high school football team--the Panthers, the high school team with the best winning record in Texas history--chronicles its dramatic 1988 season and focuses on the bitter struggle between sports and education.
From Hang Time to Prime Time: Business, Entertainment, and the Birth of the Modern-Day NBA (2020)

Author: Pete Croatto

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Far beyond simply being a sports league, the NBA has become an entertainment and pop culture juggernaut. From all kinds of team logo merchandise to officially branded video games and players crossing over into reality television, film, fashion lines, and more, there is an inseparable line between sports and entertainment. But only four decades ago, this would have been unthinkable. Featuring writing that leaps off the page with energy and wit, journalist and basketball fan Pete Croatto takes us behind the scenes to the meetings that lead to the monumental American Basketball Association–National Basketball Association merger in 1976, revolutionizing the NBA’s image. Croatto dives into CBS’s personality-driven coverage of key players, as well as other cable television efforts, which launched NBA players into unprecedented celebrity status. Essential reading whether you’re a casual or longtime fan, From Hang Time to Prime Time is an enthralling and entertaining celebration of basketball history.
Good Enough to Dream (1985)

Author: Roger Kahn

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Roger Kahn's first major league hit was a grand slam: The Boys of Summer, his runaway bestseller that immortalized the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers. Now Kahn does the same for players whose moment in the sun has not yet arrived. Good Enough to Dream is the story of his year as owner of the Class A, very minor league Utica Blue Sox. Most of the Blue Sox will never make it to the majors, but they all share the dream that links the small child in the sandlot with the bonus baby who has just smacked one out of the stadium. It's a dream Kahn learned from his father and, in the course of a season, passes on to his daughter-hours of practice for a moment of poetry; a hard living but a touch of legend. Good Enough to Dream presents baseball unadorned, a game still sweet enough to lure grown men to leagues where first-class transportation is an old school bus and the infield is likely to be the consistency of thick soup. It is a funny and poignant story of one season and one special team that will make us hesitate before we ever call anything "bush league" again.
Heaven Is a Playground (1976)

Author: Rick Telander

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Heaven Is a Playground was the first book on the uniquely American phenomenon of urban basketball. Rick Telander, a young photojournalist and former high school basketball player, spent part of the summer of 1973 and all of the summer of 1974 in Brooklyn living the playground life with his subjects at Foster Park in Flatbush. He slept on the floor of a park regular's apartment, observing, questioning, traveling and playing with, and eventually coaching a ragtag group of local teenagers whose hopes of better lives were often fanatically attached to the transcendent game itself. At times little separates the author and his subjects, both of whom are emotionally linked by their passion for hoops. But as the summer unfolds and even superstars such as the legendary and incendiary Fly Williams are confronted with the realities of ghetto life and the sociological hurdles facing African American males, the joy of the game starts to be seen as the wispy pipe dream it often becomes. Written before cell phones, disposable cameras, and cable TV, Heaven Is a Playground is one of a kinda funny, sad, ultimately inspiring book about Americans and the roots of the sport that they love.
How to Win at the Sport of Business (2011)

Author: Mark Cuban

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Using the greatest material from his popular Blog Maverick, Cuban has collected and updated his postings on business and life to provide a catalog of insider knowledge on what it takes to become a thriving entrepreneur. He tells his own rags-to-riches story of how he went from selling powdered milk and sleeping on friends' couches to owning his own company and becoming a multi-billion dollar success story. His unconventional yet highly effective ideas on how to build a successful business offer entrepreneurs at any stage of their careers a huge edge over their competitors.
Loose Balls (1990)

Author: Terry Pluto

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What do Julius Erving, Larry Brown, Moses Malone, Bob Costas, the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs and the Slam Dunk Contest have in common? They all got their professional starts in the American Basketball Association. The NBA may have won the financial battle, but the ABA won the artistic war. With its stress on wide-open individual play, the adoption of the 3-point shot and pressing defense, and the encouragement of flashy moves and flying dunks, today's NBA is still—decades later —just the ABA without the red, white and blue ball. Loose Balls is, after all these years, the definitive and most widely respected history of the ABA. It's a wild ride through some of the wackiest, funniest, strangest times ever to hit pro sports—told entirely through the (often incredible) words of those who played, wrote and connived their way through the league's nine seasons.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2004)

Author: Michael Lewis

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Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis follows the low-budget Oakland A's, visionary general manager Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball theorists. They are all in search of new baseball knowledge―insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.
My Loosing Season (2002)

Author: Pat Conroy

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During one unforgettable season as a Citadel cadet, Pat Conroy becomes part of a basketball team that is ultimately destined to fail. And yet for a military kid who grew up on the move, the Bulldogs provide a sanctuary from the cold, abrasive father who dominates his life—and a crucible for becoming his own man. With all the drama and incandescence of his bestselling fiction, Conroy re-creates his pivotal senior year as captain of the Citadel Bulldogs. He chronicles the highs and lows of that fateful 1966–67 season, his tough disciplinarian coach, the joys of winning, and the hard-won lessons of losing. Most of all, he recounts how a group of boys came together as a team, playing a sport that would become a metaphor for a man whose spirit could never be defeated.
Namath: A Biography (2004)

Author: Mark Kriegel

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In between Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan there was Joe Namath, one of the few sports heroes to transcend the game he played. Novelist and former sports-columnist Mark Kriegel’s bestselling biography of the iconic quarterback details his journey from steel-town pool halls to the upper reaches of American celebrity—and beyond. The first of his kind, Namath enabled a nation to see sports as show biz. For an entire generation he became a spectacle of booze and broads, a guy who made bachelorhood seem an almost sacred calling, but it was his audacious “guarantee” of victory in Super Bowl III that ensured his legend. This unforgettable portrait brings readers from the gridiron to the go-go nightclubs as Kriegel uncovers the truth behind Broadway Joe and why his legend has meant so much to so many.
Negotiate Like the Pros (2008)

Author: Kenneth Shropshire

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If you're looking to build your deal-making chops, there is no better school than the world of professional sports. Few authors are as qualified to guide you through that rough-and-tumble terrain as Ken Shropshire. From the Fortune 500 to the NFL, from Don King to big city mayors, Ken has negotiated major sports deals across the country and around the world. He's also one of today's most sought-after negotiating coaches, with clients ranging from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to IBM. In Negotiate Like the Pros, Ken tells the stories behind some of the most sensational sports deals of all time and extracts powerful lessons from them on the skills you need to master to become a top-notch dealmaker.
Now Pitching for the Yankees: Spinning the News for Mickey, Billy and George (2001)

Author: Marty Appel

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Starting as a college student sorting Mickey Mantle's fan mail and rising to become the youngest director of public relations in baseball history, Marty Appel offers a unique behind-the-scenes memoir of life with the New York Yankees from 1968-1977. Appel stood shoulder-to-shoulder with both the benchwarmers and the superstars of the past and present, from tempestuous owner George Steinbrenner to Hall of Famers like Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson. With a new chapter bringing the story up-to-date, as well as changes and milestones in the game he loves, Marty Appel paints a hilarious and poignant portrait of the Yankees.
Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich (2007)

Author: Mark Kriegel

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Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid with the floppy socks and shaggy hair. And all these years later, no one else ever has. The idea of Pistol Pete continues to resonate with young people today just as powerfully as it did with their fathers. In averaging 44.2 points a game at Louisiana State University, he established records that will never be broken. But even more enduring than the numbers was the sense of ecstasy and artistry with which he played. With the ball in his hands, Maravich had a singular power to inspire awe, inflict embarrassment, or even tell a joke. But he wasn't merely a mesmerizing showman. He was basketball's answer to Elvis, a white Southerner who sold Middle America on a black man's game. Like Elvis, he paid a terrible price, becoming a prisoner of his own fame. Set largely in the South, Kriegel's Pistol, a tale of obsession and basketball, fathers and sons, merges several archetypal characters.
Playbook for Success: A Hall of Famer’s Business Tactics for Teamwork and Leadership (2010)

Author: Nancy Lieberman

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There are basics that every woman must have if she is to succeed in the corporate world, start and run her own business, or coach her own winning team. In Playbook for Success, Hall of Fame Business Entrepreneur Nancy Lieberman brings her leadership and coaching ability to the boardroom to teach professional women the same rules of success she teaches her players. Playbook for Success is a plan to help make success a part of one's daily routine and teach women that success is not just a title or corner office, but an attitude, belief, and way of life.
Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won (2011)

Author: L. Jon Wertheim and Toby Moskowitz

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In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost. Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.
Season Ticket: A Baseball Companion (1988)

Author: Roger Angell

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Angell's absorbing collection traces the highs and lows of major-league baseball in the 1980s. Roger Angell once again journeys through five seasons of America's national pastime--chronicling the larger-than-life narratives and on-field intricacies of baseball from 1982 to 1987. Angell's collected "New Yorker" essays, written in his unique voice as a fan and baseball aficionado, cover the development of the game both on the diamond and off. While diving into subjects such as Sparky Anderson's '84 Detroit Tigers, the legendary 1986 World Series and the Curse of the Bambino, and the increasingly pervasive issue of player drug use, Angell reveals the craft and technique of the game, and the unforgettable stories of those who played it.
Shoe Dog (2016)

Author: Phil Knight

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Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.
Soccernomics (2009)

Author: Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

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Why do England lose? Why does Scotland suck? Why doesn't America dominate the sport internationally...and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style? These are questions every soccer aficionado has asked. Soccernomics answers them. Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology, and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer. Soccernomics is a new way of looking at the world's most popular game.
Sports Business Management 2nd Edition (2020)

Author: George Foster

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This new edition of a widely adopted textbook equips students with a comprehensive understanding of the sport industry. With a focus on management, strategy, marketing and finance, the decision-making approach of the book emphasizes key concepts while translating them into practice. Content specific to each of the vital stakeholders in the sport business is included.
Sports Publicity: A Practical Approach (2020)

Author: Joe Favorito

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Effective communications are essential for all sport organizations. In this fully revised and updated third edition of his ground-breaking guide to communications in sports, Joe Favorito introduces the skills, knowledge and techniques needed to become a successful communicator. Favorito outlines the history of sports communications, explores the most important professional themes, topics and issues, and highlights exciting opportunities for future development. With a strong emphasis on professional practice and the day-to-day realities of working in sports and entertainment, the book covers all the core functional areas such as: digital and social media strategy, crisis management, creative writing, the value of audio storytelling, the role of communications in business. No other book offers such a valuable insider’s view of the sports communications industry or the importance of PR and media relations in building successful sports organizations. Sports Publicity: A Practical Approach is essential reading for all students working in sport business, marketing or communications, and any PR practitioner looking to improve their professional skills.
Swoosh: Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There (1991)

Author: J. B. Strasser and Laurie Becklund

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Six smart but inexperienced men--a Stanford MBA, a track coach, a paralyzed long jumper, a former welfare worker, a lawyer and an accountant--formed a tight-knit brotherhood, merging their personal and professional lives, making up the rules along the way. And with their winning combination of vision, wit, moxie, and luck, they pioneered the most successful sports company in history.
Ted Williams (2004)

Author: Leigh Montville

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The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. One of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend – and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? In 1941, the entire country followed Williams's stunning .406 season, a record that has not been touched in over six decades. Then at the pinnacle of his prime, Williams left Boston to train and serve as a fighter pilot in World War II. Ted Willams's personal life was equally colorful. He was married and divorced three times and he fathered two daughters and a son. He was one of corporate America's first modern spokesmen, and he remained, nearly into his eighties, a fiercely devoted fisherman. With his son, John Henry Williams, he devoted his final years to the sports memorabilia business, even as illness overtook him. And in death, controversy and public outcry followed Williams and the disagreements between his children over the decision to have his body preserved for future resuscitation in a cryonics facility--a fate, many argue, Williams never wanted.
The Boys of Summer (1972)

Author: Roger Kahn

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This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for The Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love.
The Breaks of the Game (1981)

Author: David Halberstam

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More than six years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his groundbreaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves. The tactile authenticity of Halberstam's knowledge of the basketball world is unrivaled. This is a story about a place in our society where power, money, and talent collide and sometimes corrupt, a place where both national obsessions and naked greed are exposed. It's about the influence of big media, the fans and the hype they subsist on, the clash of ethics, the terrible physical demands of modern sports, the unreal salaries, the conflicts of race and class, and the consequences of sport converted into mass entertainment and athletes transformed into superstars -- all presented in a way that puts the reader in the room and on the court, and The Breaks of the Game in a league of its own.
The Cap: How Larry Fleisher and David Stern Built the Modern NBA (2020)

Author: Joshua Mendelsohn

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Today the salary cap is an NBA institution, something fans take for granted as part of the fabric of the league or an obstacle to their favorite team’s chances to win a championship. In the early 1980s, however, a salary cap was not only novel but nonexistent. The Cap tells the fascinating, behind-the-scenes story of the deal between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association that created the salary cap in 1983, the first in all of sports, against the backdrop of a looming players’ strike on one side and threatened economic collapse on the other. The Cap explores in detail not only the high-stakes negotiations in the early 1980s but all the twists and turns through the decades that led the parties to reach a salary cap compromise. It is a compelling story that involves notable players, colorful owners, visionary league and union officials, and a sport trying to solidify a bright future despite a turbulent past and present. This is a story missing from the landscape of basketball history.
The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership (2018)

Author: Sam Walker

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The seventeen most dominant teams in sports history had one thing in common: Each employed the same type of captain—a singular leader with an unconventional set of skills and tendencies. Drawing on original interviews with athletes, general managers, coaches, and team-building experts, Sam Walker identifies the seven core qualities of the Captain Class—from extreme doggedness and emotional control to tactical aggression and the courage to stand apart. Told through riveting accounts of pressure-soaked moments in sports history, The Captain Class will challenge your assumptions of what inspired leadership looks like.
The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse (2017)

Author: Tom Verducci

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It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions. How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball. The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
The Education of an American Soccer Player (1978)

Author: Shep Messing

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One of the North American soccer League's great goalies, Messing relates anecdotes about his Bronx childhood, Harvard education, participation in the Munic Olympics, and career with the New York Cosmos.
The Game (1983)

Author: Ken Dryden

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Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. He gives vivid and affectionate portraits of the characters—Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and coach Scotty Bowman among them—who made the Canadiens of the 1970s one of the greatest hockey teams in history. But beyond that, Dryden reflects on life on the road, in the spotlight, and on the ice, offering a rare inside look at the game of hockey and an incredible personal memoir. This commemorative edition marks the 30th anniversary of the book’s original publication, and it includes a new foreword by Bill Simmons, new photography, and a new chapter, “The Game Goes On.” Take a journey to the heart and soul of the game with this timeless hockey classic.
The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry (2017)

Author: John Feinstein

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On March 18, 1980, the Duke basketball program announced the hiring of Mike Krzyzewski, the man who would restore glory to the team. The only problem: no one knew who Krzyzewski was. Nine days later, Jim Valvano was hired by North Carolina State to be their new head coach. The hiring didn't raise as many eyebrows, but the two new coaches had a similar goal: to unseat North Carolina's Dean Smith as the king of college basketball. And just like that, the most sensational competitive decade in history was about to unfold. In the skillful hands of John Feinstein, The Legends Club captures an era in American sport and culture, documenting the inside view of a decade of absolutely incredible competition. Feinstein pulls back the curtain on the recruiting wars, the intensely personal competition that wasn't always friendly, the enormous pressure and national stakes, and the battle for the very soul of college basketball.
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro (1999)

Author: Joe McGinniss

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Master storyteller Joe McGinniss travels to Italy to cover the unlikely success of a ragtag minor league soccer team--and delivers a brilliant and utterly unforgettable story of life in an off-the-beaten-track Italian village. When Joe McGinniss sets out for the remote Italian village of Castel di Sangro one summer, he merely intends to spend a season with the village's soccer team, which only weeks before had, miraculously, reached the second-highest-ranking professional league in the land. But soon he finds himself embroiled with an absurd yet irresistible cast of characters, including the team's owner, described by the New York Times as "straight out of a Mario Puzo novel," and coach Osvaldo Jaconi, whose only English word is the one he uses to describe himself: "bulldozer." As the riotous, edge-of-your-seat season unfolds, McGinniss develops a deepening bond with the team, their village and its people, and their country.
The Miracle of St. Anthony (2005)

Author: Adrian Wojnarowski

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In a city mired in endless decay, where the youth suffer through all the horrors of urban blight, hope comes in a most unassuming form: a tiny brick schoolhouse run by two Felician nuns where a singular basketball genius takes teenagers from the mean streets of Jersey City and turns them into champions on the hardcourt. Coach Bob Hurley had been working miracles at St. Anthony High School for over thirty years, winning state and national championships and offering his players rescue from their surroundings through college scholarships, when he met his most dysfunctional team yet. In The Miracle of St. Anthony Adrian Wojnarowski follows Hurley through a gripping and heartrending season as he struggles to lead a troubled team to glory through his unparalleled understanding of the game and his ceaseless determination to see no more children lost to these streets.
The Muhammad Ali Reader (2013)

Author: Gerald Early

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Muhammad Ali—arguably the finest athlete of the twentieth century and incontestably one of the most famous Americans of his time—is known the world over, not only for his boxing prowess, but for his rebellious courage and resilience against controversy. He has been both underdog and champion, villain and prince, playboy and staunch Muslim, exalted American and punished conscientious objector. He was the ultimate athlete—Heavyweight Champion of the World—and today confronts the physical debilitations of Parkinson's disease. Floyd Patterson defends Ali's right to criticize America's participation in the Vietnam War; Malcolm X explains how Ali went from "entertainer" to "threat" with his declaration as "a man of race"; Ali himself shares some intimate and definitive thoughts in a Playboy magazine interview; and Gay Talese gives us a front seat on a ride to Cuba, where Ali meets up with Fidel Castro. Organized by decade, chapters begin with a few opening remarks by Ali himself, and a spectacular sixteen-page photo insert captures The Champ in all his guises.
The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players (2019)

Author: Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik

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As bestselling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik reveal in The MVP Machine, the Moneyball era is over. Lindbergh and Sawchik's behind-the-scenes reporting reveals: how undersized afterthoughts José Altuve and Mookie Betts became big sluggers and MVPs, how polarizing pitcher Trevor Bauer made himself a Cy Young contender, how new analytical tools have overturned traditional pitching and hitting techniques, how a wave of young talent is making MLB both better than ever and arguably worse to watch. Instead of out-drafting, out-signing, and out-trading their rivals, baseball's best minds have turned to out-developing opponents, gaining greater edges than ever by perfecting prospects and eking extra runs out of older athletes who were once written off. The MVP Machine charts the future of a sport and offers a lesson that goes beyond baseball: Success stems not from focusing on finished products, but from making the most of untapped potential.
The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet (2016)

Author: Steven Mandis

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Real Madrid is the most successful sports team on the planet. The soccer club has more trophies than any other sports team, including 11 UEFA Champions League trophies. However, the story behind the triumph goes beyond the players and coaches. Generally unnoticed, a management team consisting mostly of outsiders took the team from near bankruptcy to the most valuable sports organization in the world. How did Real Madrid achieve such extraordinary success? Columbia Business School adjunct professor Steven G. Mandis investigates. Given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, Mandis is the first researcher to rigorously analyze both the on-the-field and business aspects of a sports team. What he learns is completely unexpected and challenges the conventional wisdom that moneyball-fueled data analytics are the primary instruments of success. Instead, Real Madrid's winning formula both on and off the field, from player selection to financial management, is based on aligning strategy with the culture and values of its fan base.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performer (2016)

Author: Timothy Ferriss

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For the last two years, I’ve interviewed more than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. For most of my guests, it’s the first time they’ve agreed to a two-to-three-hour interview. This unusual depth has helped make The Tim Ferriss Show the first business/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads. This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else. It also includes new tips from past guests, and life lessons from new ‘guests’ you haven’t met. What makes the show different is a relentless focus on actionable details. This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis?
Veeck As in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck (2001)

Author: Bill Veeck

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Bill Veeck was an inspired team builder, a consummate showman, and one of the greatest baseball men ever involved in the game. His classic autobiography, written with the talented sportswriter Ed Linn, is an uproarious book packed with information about the history of baseball and tales of players and owners, including some of the most entertaining stories in all of sports literature.
We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History (2020)

Author: Bill Hanstock

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In We Promised You a Great Main Event, longtime sports journalist Bill Hanstock pulls back the curtain to give a smart fan’s account of WWE and Vince McMahon’s journey to the top. Untangling the truth behind the official WWE storyline, Hanstock does a deep dive into key moments of the company’s history, from the behind-the-scenes drama at the Montreal Screwjob, to the company’s handling of the Jimmy Snuka scandal, to the real story of the Monday Night Wars. WWE is an extraordinary business success and an underappreciated pop cultural phenomenon. While WWE soared to prominence during the Hulk Hogan years, as the stakes grew more and more extreme, wrestlers faced steroid scandals and assault allegations. The whole story is here, good, bad, and ugly, from the heights of iconic cultural moments like Wrestlemania III to the arrival of global superstars like The Rock and John Cena.
What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen (2017)

Author: Kate Fagan

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If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter. What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people -- and college athletes in particular -- face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi (1999)

Author: David Maraniss

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In this groundbreaking biography, David Maraniss captures all of football great Vince Lombardi: the myth, the man, his game, and his God. More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor of the American experience. The son of an Italian immigrant butcher, Lombardi toiled for twenty frustrating years as a high school coach and then as an assistant at Fordham, West Point, and the New York Giants before his big break came at age forty-six with the chance to coach a struggling team in snowbound Wisconsin. His leadership of the Green Bay Packers to five world championships in nine seasons is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a living legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning. In When Pride Still Mattered, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss captures the myth and the man, football, God, and country in a thrilling biography destined to become an American classic.
Win at All Costs: Inside Nike Running and Its Culture of Deception (2020)

Author: Matt Hart

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In May 2017, journalist Matt Hart received a USB drive containing a single file—a 4.7-megabyte PDF named “Tic Toc, Tic Toc. . . .” He quickly realized he was in possession of a stolen report prepared a year earlier by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for the Texas Medical Board, part of an investigation into legendary running coach Alberto Salazar, a Houston-based endocrinologist named Dr. Jeffrey Brown, and cheating by Nike-sponsored runners, including some of the world’s best athletes. The information Hart received was part of an unfolding story of deception which began when Steve Magness, an assistant to Salazar, broke the omertà—the Mafia-like code of silence about performance-enhancing drugs among those involved—and alerted USADA. He was soon followed by Olympians Adam and Kara Goucher who risked their careers to become whistleblowers on their former Nike running family in Beaverton, Oregon. Combining sports drama and business exposé, Win at All Costs tells the full story of Nike’s running program, uncovering a corporate win-at-all-costs culture.
You Gotta Have Balls (2012)

Author: Brandon Steiner

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Brooklyn kid hustles his way to the top of a sports marketing and memorabilia empire Brandon Steiner went from a kid who sat in the nosebleed seatsat Yankee and Shea Stadiums to CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing Inc., one of the largest sports marketing and memorabilia companies in the United States, with an inventory of more than 10,000 collectibles. You Gotta Have Balls details Steiner's multiple entrepreneurial adventures, where he has both learned and taught others his fair share of "rules." Along the way, he developed some of the most innovative approaches to business—methods that many of today's companies would be wise to observe and employ themselves. You Gotta Have Balls follows Steiner on his pathway to success by demonstrating the business philosophies that allowed him to become the powerful magnate that he is.