I’m a big believer in the benefits of reading for growth, not only mentally, but in the pursuit of excellence in any field. As far as a sport like ski racing goes, though, mental training is crucial. There are not many books specifically about ski racing. But don’t worry! These amazing books will help you out in ways that are subtle and often more powerful than direct studying of ski racing! Enjoy, and let us know what you think of any of these books in the comments section!
1. The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
Josh Waitkin is a master of learning. He was the subject of the book/ movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, and then went on to be a martial arts champion as well. This is a compendium of his ways of excelling. There were a lot of cool ideas in this book that seemed intuitive once Waitzkin explained them, namely Making Smaller Circles, The Soft Zone, and Form to Leave Form. He speaks first hand about chess and martial arts, but the real value we can take from this book is a strategy for lifelong learning and an inspiration for striving for mastery in any activity.
2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is a famous record of stoic philosophy and one of my all time favorite books. Some of its tenets revolve around controlling your internal emotions before worrying about external events, seeing opportunities in every obstacle, and staying strong in the face of adversity. Reading this will help your ski racing and your life.
3. 4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss wrote a masterful book on the process of learning and used cooking as a vehicle. In fact, the whole first quarter of the book is a discussion of learning techniques, which can be applied to ski racing. Bonus: if you read the whole book, you’ll also become a good cook! 🙂
4. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
This is Ryan Holiday’s contextual study of stoic philosophy, but applied to today’s era. Think of it as a modern Meditations. The premise is that every obstacle is not simple a problem, but can be viewed as a benefit to you. Something that is adversity actually becomes the mechanism that makes you great. This is a wonderful way to view the world and competitive sports.
5. Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson is considered one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time. He has explored many different avenues of coaching strategy and seems to have settled on a zen buddhist method that emphasizes process over results, teamwork over ego, and grind over glory. He’s won more championships than anyone else and remains humble at that fact. This is a remarkable read for anybody (especially ski racing coaches!) and will help you define what competition and success are.
Happy studying, scholars!