Books, books, books …

I have a bookmarker showing this great statement of the 16th century Dutch philosopher and writer Erasmus: “When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes”. My athletes once confronted me with this statement and thought it was mine (it could have been).

Many people visiting me ask me which are my favorite books. I wish I could tell them, since I have a couple of favorite books in every subject of my library.
Still books are great transfer systems for knowledge and experience. Some authors put many decades of experience in a book that takes only days to read and the knowledge is shared. Another advantage is that the author took his/her time to deliberately write the book and made conscious decisions about what to write and what to leave out. That’s better than the sound bites (mostly noise bites) of tweets and other fast but superficial media.

Here are some of the books that helped me to understand the whole picture:
Hall, G.M: The Ingenious Mind of Nature; Deciphering the Patterns of Man, Society and the Universe; Basic Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7382-0584-2.
Gitt, W: In the Beginning was Information; A Scientist explains the Incredible Designs in Nature; Master Books Printing, 2007, ISBN 978-0-89051-461-0
(I temporarily lost him in part 3)
Young, S: Designer Evolution; A Transhumanist Manifesto; Prometheus Books, 2006; ISBN 1-59102-290-8

At this moment in sports the books of Ultimate Athlete Concepts are among the few that bring new ideas, or transfer foreign (most former East-block) concepts and have them finally translated in English with lots of comprehensive and practical information.
Example: the latest book by Issurin: “Building the Modern Athlete: Scientific Advancements and Training Innovations”. It is packed with information, not only superficial, trendy stuff, but embedded in a clear view how training actually works and what can be done.
Also the old master Bondartchuk is writing one book after another, sometimes with an overwhelming amount of tables an numbers but always based on his tremendous practical experience and understanding of the training process. His new one is called: “Champion School: A Year to Year Model To Developing Elite Athletes”. I read it in one weekend, and here is a good review of it:

I also enjoyed the work done with biofeedback in “Psychological Skills Training” by Boris Blumenstein and Yitzhak Weinstein and college coaches should read Cal Dietz’ book “Triphasic Training” which is very comprehensible and practical.

Another must-read is the formal GDR handbook about training (I wrote the Dutch translation in 1980) “Principles of Sports Training” by Dietrich Harre. I still have the 1977 version and sometimes re-read it these days.

And here is another short statement by Erasmus: “Your library is your paradise”, and he couldn’t be more right about that.
But this post would not be complete without a more recent statement from columnist Pete Hamill: “There are ten thousand books in my library, and it will keep growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library years ago I would have more money in the bank today. But I would not be richer.”

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