NetWorks Sports Book of the Month: “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton” by Jeff Pearlman

This week’s NetWorks Sports’ Recommended Book is Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman.

This week’s book review is actually a “preview” for Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, which will officially be released on October 4th.  Sweetness, written by New York Times bestselling author (and friend of NetWorks Sports Consulting) Jeff Pearlman, is sure to inspire sports fans, NFL fans, and anyone who wants to hear a story about a man, Walter Payton, who lead a legendary career on the field while carrying himself with so much grace.

Several books have been written chronicling Walter Payton’s life.  Most focused on his career and on-field achievements.  Others dabbled into his personal life.  But Jeff Pearlman has endeavored to find out more about this mysterious man who inspired many through his thrilling runs and awe-inspiring touchdown dives throughout the course of his career.

We could go on & on in support of Pearlman’s book, but we think there is no better way to find out about the content of this book than through the author’s own words.

Writing this book was obviously a meaningful journey for Pearlman, which is surely conveyed in the eloquent prose and honest insight into the true story behind the man we call Sweetness.  With that said, Pearlman has offered up some amazing tidbits about his journey through various video vignettes that you can find on YouTube.

There are about 10 videos for you to enjoy, but the one that struck a chord with me was “SweetSpot3: Jeff Pearlman on his book The Enigmatic Walter Payton.”  Here Pearlman gives us a little insight into what was so interesting about Payton…the fact that the wrong birth date is published in nearly every book or article about Payton.

Fascinating stuff!  Here’s my favorite clip….Jeff Pearlman’s Sweet Spot 3:


Check out the videos & then go to to order a copy of Sweetness for yourself!  You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffPearlman

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NetWorks Book of the Month – Ubuntu by Stephen Lundin & Bob Nelson

This week’s NetWorks Sports’ Recommended Book is Ubuntu! by Stephen Lundin and Bob Nelson.

For those who have read Stephen Lundin’s morale boosting book Fish! or learned how to motivate & reward your employees after reading Bob Nelson’s 1001 Ways to Reward Employees are in for a doubly powerful treat when you read Ubuntu! a book based on an African philosophy “Ubuntu” about partnership, teamwork, and collaboration.

Ubuntu, also known as a GNU/Linux based computer operating system, is defined on Wikipedia as African ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on peoples allegiances and relations with each other.  Ubuntu is seen as a classical African philosophy or worldview.  The word has its origin in the Bantu language of southern Africa.

Similar to Patrick Lenchioni’s books, Ubuntu follows the fictional story of a manager, John Peterson, who like many of individuals today find themselves in a rut both personally & professionally.  In particular, Peterson finds his work environment to be one that is extremely inefficient due to the lack of connectedness between co-workers.  His eyes are virtually opened one night when a co-worker, of African decent, stays behind to assist Peterson.

As with Lenchioni’s books this is a pretty easy read where the reader may discover the intent of the message well before the book concludes.  The premise provides readers with some very simple principles that should be commonsense but may be lost on many of us in today’s corporate culture.

The book can prove to be quite usually when trying to create a more collaborative & interactive work environment in your workplace.  If you are looking to find a simple approach to help change the culture at your office, Ubuntu is certainly a book and a philosophy that you should consider.

To sum up the concept, we can reference Desmond Tutu’s definition from the book “No Future Without Forgiveness.”

“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.” ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

If you are open to a new approach steeped in the simplicity found in African cultures, Ubuntu is worth a read!

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NetWorks Book of the Month – Rework by Jason Fried (@JasonFried) & David Hansson (@37Racer)

This week’s NetWorks Sports’ Recommended Book is Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

As with many busy corporate executives and small business owners, finding time to read for leisure is a challenge.  Despite the challenges we all face in carving out valuable time to do something that is relaxing & edifying, every now & then you come across a book that offers a refreshing new perspective on an aspect of your life that you have dedicated an inordinate amount of time.  Not surprisingly, we all have a lengthy list of books (or authors) that we want to read when we have a moment.

Rework is one of those books.  Recommended by a close friend, Jennifer Azzi (Olympian and current Head Coach at the University of San Francisco) a year ago, it was easy to go online & order the book immediately with the hope that I could find the time to dive into the book at some point.  The first few pages of Rework were so fascinating that I immediately went out and purchased copies for friends & colleagues who I felt would be inspired by reading it as well.

The best thing about Rework is that it isn’t your typical business book that dispatches career advice that we have all heard incessantly.  The authors actually challenge you from the jump and want you to get a bit uncomfortable with your normal way of thinking or approaching your life and carer endeavors.

Rework, written by the founders of 37 Signals (online platforms for CRM and productivity tools), is another powerful book that can be read from cover to cover in one sitting.  As the title suggests, the authors want to compel readers to “rework” their old methods of doing business and challenge what other standard business books suggest that you spend an inordinate amount of time on (from business plans to hiring staff).  Over the course of these easy flowing chapters, they share their advice for rewriting the rules we have all learned “should” help lead us to successful business endeavors.

If you are an entrepreneur, this is a must read.  But the book’s lessons aren’t limited for those who are looking to venture out on their own.  The simple strategies & rules are applicable in any situation and for anyone who is willing to buck the system & think outside of the box a bit.  Many times, we find ourselves operating under the same principles over and over and it takes a new voice to awaken our creativity.

After reading the book, you may not be compelled to follow all of the advice, but you will certainly look at things differently.  If you are interested in a new perspective on how to move forward with your business and are willing to challenge the way you currently do things, you’ll enjoy this new and unique guide to reworking your business!

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NetWorks Book of the Month – The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11)

This week’s NetWorks Sports’ Recommended Book is Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon.

With so much going on in our professional and personal lives these days from the polarizing political debates affecting the global economy and everyone’s personal finances to the challenges of a 24/7 workforce, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook.  But regardless of your position in the home or in the office, you can inspire others to look on the brighter side of things simply by living your life with positivity.

We all know those individuals who you enjoy being around because they are always able to put things into perspective & remain upbeat even through adverse situations.  We all have the ability to positively affect our environment.  With a little focused attention…you can be the person to bring positivity.  It’s contagious!

That’s what Jon Gordon conveys in his bestselling book, which is inspiring people around the globe.

The Energy Bus is easy to read due to Gordon’s witty storytelling and insightful “10 secrets” for success (in life, home, and work). The best part was that the stories were about real people who are going through the same things that you & I are on a daily basis and the tips are simple & easy to incorporate into your life.

The book can probably be read in one sitting (or on a not too long flight), but you may find yourself wanting to backtrack to revisit a lesson that struck a chord with you.

The best thing is that you finish the book inspired with a plan of action to change the energy around you.

Definitely a book to recommend to your family, friends, and co-workers!