One of the most anticipated reads I've had in sometime was Kevin Eastman's "Why The Best Are The Best." And it didn't disappoint.
I've known Kevin for over seven years and have heard him speak on numerous occasions including at Coach U and to our team at Texas A&M. Two things are going to happen when you hear Kevin speak -- you are going to gain knowledge and your are going to be inspired. The same is true with "Why The Best Are The Best."
What is special about the book is that you just don't have to be a basketball player or coach to gain from it. You can participate or coach any sport and come away better. In fact, forget the athletic industry as a whole. If I worked with a group of people in any facet of life, this is a book that would help me to lead and build teams.
The book starts quick with Kevin's "25 Power Words" -- worth the price of the book alone. Here are just a couple of my favorites:
1. Truth - The ultimate “must have” for personal and team success; without it we’ll live in the world of frustration and regret.
12. Choices - If I listen to the right voices, I tend to make the right choices.
16. Habits - The good ones are the most powerful and most needed; they are hard to create and difficult to break.
25. Talent - Overrated, unless we add an e and a d; in my world the e and the d stand for “extra dimension.”
Going back on "truth" Kevin expounded by saying truth needs three things:
You must be able to live it.
You must be able to tell it.
You must be able to take it.
A few more thoughts that hit home that I will share with our team.
But competition is more than simply you against me. It is a mindset to bring the best that you have in you each day, no matter how things are going. Competitors get their reputations not from just playing or working hard; those are given in the world of competition. True competition comes in when you are willing to continue to give the best of what you have even when you are losing.
Some other highlights of the book included:
Kevin shares the 12 pillars in the Boston Celtics Standard Of Excellence.
There is also a section titled “Success Triangles” that list three words bonded together that make a different in teams and competitors. Below is the list but the book is a must read for the details Kevin gives on each.
◄Capability, Knowledge, and Team-Ness
◄Three dimensions of success: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
◄Three sets: Skill set, Mindset and Reset.
◄Three C’s: Overcoming Complacency, Conceit and Compromise
◄Three bests: The best, my best, our best.
◄Three don’ts: Do not dismiss obvious, age and ideas
◄Three battles: Combating fear, failure and limitation
◄Three ingredients for success: Respect, Trust, Like
◄There ins: All-in, not-in, Give-in
◄Three ups: Showing up, Shutting up, Keeping up
There is also a section on the power of lists. If you've heard Kevin speak you know he the master of "bullet points" -- sharing knowledge in short lists...and he shares some great ones in the book
The book also has tons of quotes — many that I will use with our team. Here are three of my favorite:
“Having respect in this league is one of the hardest things to do. It’s not just about how you perform but how hard you work. Hard work gives you respect.” – Kevin Garnett
“Sometimes you have to put your heart into something knowing that it may be broken.” -Doc Rivers
“We have plenty of talent, but talent is not going to be good enough.”- Steve Kerr
Possibly the best part of the book are the numerous stories Kevin shares to bring home the power of his talking points. Again, if you’ve heard Kevin speak you know he is a master story teller and an expert at painting pictures. I’d share a few of those stories but I’d be cheating you — you need to get this book!