5 books high performers should read this month
Get inspired by pros overcoming the odds in baseball, football, and fencing.
THE BOOK: ASTROBALL BY: BEN REITER
The Gist: In 2014, the Houston Astros had lost nearly twice as many games as they had won over the past three years. But in a widely derided Sports Illustrated cover story, staff writer Ben Reiter predicted the major league team would go on to win the World Series in 2017. Reiter turned out to be right, and his first book gives an insider’s look at one of the most remarkable underdog stories in sports history.
THE BOOK: TROPIC OF FOOTBALL BY: ROB RUCK
The Gist: American Samoa consists of just 76.1 square miles on a string of islands and coral atolls located about 6,000 miles off the Pacific Coast of the U.S. Yet this tiny territory is producing a disproportionate number of NFL and Division I football players, including Hall of Famer Junior Seau and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. Rob Ruck, a sports historian and professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, explores this unique phenomenon, weaving in larger issues of race, socioeconomic inequality, and more.
THE BOOK: THE OMEGA PRINCIPLE BY: PAUL GREENBERG
The Gist: The claims on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are plenty, from helping prevent coronary heart disease to increasing brain volume. “Taken collectively, they promised no less than a cure for middle age itself,” writes James Beard award-winning author Paul Greenberg. In his latest book, Greenberg digs deep, traveling from Peru to Antarctica to tell the story behind the so-called “miracle compound” and the multibillion-dollar industry it’s built.
THE BOOK: PROUD BY: IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD
The Gist: Fencing is one of the few sports that allowed Ibtihaj Muhammad to remain covered up, heeding to the modesty dictated by her faith. But the fencing community had more than a few reservations about her race, religion, and gender. She details these and more in her quest to become not only the first woman in hijab to compete for the U.S. in the Olympics but the first female Muslim American to medal.
THE BOOK: KILLING IT BY: CAMAS DAVIS
The Gist: After losing her job as a magazine editor and ending a 10-year relationship, Camas Davis found herself broke and at a crossroads. This searching, candid memoir follows Camas as she heads to Gascony, France, on a forgotten credit card, learns the art of whole-animal butchery, and discovers herself in the process.