The most important thing when exercising is the right motivation. Thanks to it we go for a run on a cold winter morning instead of sleeping in, or after work we go to the gym instead of going home. Sometimes characters from books and movies can inspire athletic performance. We have compiled the top 5 books for motivation, after which you won’t want to skip a workout.
Open: An Autobiography, Andre Agassi
What’s cool about the book: It’s a real adventure. There are no preambles, no long digressions, and no cheesy phrases: Andre hits the gas and races to the finish line in fifth gear. He writes as he played – with heart, variety, power, talent:
– about the despotic father who invented the tennis gun “dragon” and pissed him off with his nagging;
– about forbidden pills, rivers of whiskey and tequila, stopped only by the iron will of Steffi Graf;
– about denim shorts as a challenge of the era;
– about the giveaway game with Chang and the dislike of Sampras;
– the romance/sex with actresses;
– and, of course, the bald head he hid under a bandana.
Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, Reed Albergotti, Vanessa O’Connell, Santino Fontana
What’s cool about the book: Doping is sneaky, dishonest and dirty, but even it has a romantic story with spy disguises, secret flights between Europe and the US, oxygenated blood transfusions in a bus right on the Tour De France and cheating doping officers.
A book about the most successful (already unofficially) cyclist of our time, Lance Armstrong, is a sports “Crime and Punishment” where the smart, calculating, money and fame-protected Raskolnikov (Lance Armstrong) tries to beat the investigators and the world anti-doping system. After reading this, you’ll want three things: to get on your bike immediately, take up triathlons, and review Lance’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. That’s a great plan for the summer!
The Long Walk, Stephen King
What’s cool about the book: King has been called the king of horror, but he’s actually just a king and knows how to tell great stories, even if he doesn’t scare the reader half to death. “The Long Walk” is a dystopia about a totalitarian state where, for the people’s amusement, someone’s inflamed mind has invented an annual and rather savage walking contest — a survival contest. Young kids from all over the country participate, and the prize is the fulfillment of the winner’s every wish.
It’s a powerful and very sad mix of determination, heroes’ self-belief, despair, and hopelessness (as strange as that sounds when applied to a book about walkers). It’s a book for when your vacation is too civilized.
What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, Simon Critchley
What’s cool about the book: English philosopher, author of a couple dozen books with hard-to-digest titles, David Bowie biographer, debater with Slavoj Žižek, Liverpool fan–Football literature has been waiting for just such a man to look at the simplest and most popular game on the planet, armed with the widest possible lens. Soccer is very often undeservedly marginalized, trying to portray it as a dubious minority hobby, but Critchley successfully counteracts this by linking the game to everyday life–he views soccer as a performance, soccer as a collective unconscious, a manifestation of intelligence and stupidity simultaneously.
In short, if you’ve ever not just yelled at the TV, but also thought about something along the lines of “why do I root so selflessly for this particular doomed club” or “all my failures in relationships are due to my acting like Cristiano Ronaldo,” this book is for you.
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, Michael Lewis
What’s cool about the book: Everyone praises Lewis for Moneyball and demands a sequel. This book comes as close to that status as possible (although it is technically completely self-contained). In my opinion, it is even stronger. Michael learned that many of the reasons for the underestimation of players written about in Moneyball have long been studied in great detail in the works of Daniel Kahneman (a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist in economics) and Amos Tversky. He tells their story and through them finds new ways to use numbers effectively in sports.