Get, Set, Read: The Books Indian Sports Stars Draw Inspiration From
With their grit, determination and grace, sportspersons inspire millions. But where do athletes and players draw their inspiration from. Legends of sport, philosophy and even religion.
BloombergQuint spoke to five sportsmen about their favourite reads and what they learnt from them.
Former captain of India’s hockey team, CEO, Olympic Gold Quest
Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography
Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography is Ferguson’s second autobiography. It presents his experiences and journey as the manager of the football team Manchester United.
The book has lessons from sports that can applied in the corporate world, Rasquinha said. “The dynamics of managing a team like Manchester United are hard. Ferguson has dealt with so many superstars and super-egos, and got the best out of each individual.”
Rafa: My Story, By John Carlin and Rafael Nadal
This autobiography includes memorable highlights such as winning the 2008 Wimbledon and completing a career Grand Slam after winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. This book offers a glimpse into Nadal’s life, an intensely private person who until now has never talked about his personal and family life.
Tennis player and coach
Chrissie: My Own Story, By Chris Evert Lloyd
Llyord describes personal and professional difficulties she had to overcome and provides a first-hand account of competing the pro tour.
“This is the one line, ‘My father taught me how to play tennis, and I taught myself to win’, has stayed with me from the book,” said Vasant.
Open, By Andre Agassi
Groomed to be a tennis champion by his moody and demanding father, Agassi, by the age of 22, had won the first of his eight Grand Slams. But off the court, he was often unhappy, confused and had come to resent the sport. Agassi writes candidly about his early success and his uncomfortable relationship with fame, his marriage to Brooke Shields, his growing interest in philanthropy, and the highs and lows of his career.
Vasant also recommended Rafa.
Badminton player and Arjuna awardee
Touch Play-The Prakash Padukone Story, By Dev S Sukumar
The book traces Prakash Padukone’s rise from playing badminton in a wedding hall in old-world Malleswaram in Bangalore to playing in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and London.
It is based on more than 200 interviews with family, friends, and Padukone’s national and international contemporaries.
My Experiments With Truth, By Mahatma Gandhi
In his autobiography, Gandhi recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of non-violent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other non-violent struggles of the twentieth century.
“The learning from this book resonates with me at a personal level, especially the lesson of not being aggressive,” Ghia said. “This book has helped me because it shows that you don’t need to be aggressive to prove your point. It is better to be focused and calm. I have followed this even while playing.”
Lawn tennis player, Arjuna awardee, and founder of Natekar Sports & Fitness
It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life, By Lance Armstrong
This book talks about the incredible journey of biker Lance Amstrong, his gruelling schedule, the Tour De France and how he coped with testicular cancer. “Despite the doping controversy he was embroiled in, this remains of one of the best reads on coping with life and its problems,” Natekar said.
Bounce: The Myth Of Talent And The Power Of Practice, By Matthew Syed
Syed, in this book, explains why some people thrive under pressure and others choke. He weighs the value of innate ability against that of practice, hard work and will.
Natekar also suggested Open.
“This is a special book because it laid everything bare,” he said. “When Agassi talks about his problems with drugs, issues with his father, and obvious hate for tennis in his early days, it presents a vulnerable side of the athlete,” Natekar. “In today’s social media age, things are filtered to show only the flattering side of people. And in this way, Agassi’s open admission of his problems is touching.”
World billiards champion
Autobiography Of A Yogi, By Paramhansa Yogananda
Autobiography of a Yogi is a profound introduction to the ancient science of yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. The author clearly explains the subtle but definite laws behind both the ordinary events of everyday life and the extraordinary events commonly termed miracles.
Considered a modern spiritual classic, the book has been translated into more than 20 languages and is widely used as a text and reference work in colleges and universities.
The Bhagwad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna.
It covers spiritual, ethical and philosophical issues in the form of dialogue between Krishna and Arjun over life, war and death.
Who Will Cry When You Die, By Robin Sharma
The book is divided into 101 short chapters. Each chapter offers solutions and suggestions to face some of the difficult problems of life to help develop personality and personal skills.
“All these books help me with introspection,” Sitwala said.