45 books like Second Wind

By William F. Russell,

Here are 45 books that Second Wind fans have personally recommended if you like Second Wind. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

This book is similar to mine, following a team of high school basketball players through a season, but it’s set in an urban environment: Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The boys it focuses on are African-American, the off-court struggles they and their community face (crime, violence, drug use, the lure of the streets, and the corruption of college basketball recruiters) differ from those that challenge the kids in remote Alaska, but the joy and solace they find in the game itself are the same. The writing is terrific—lucidly and intimately bringing to life the four boys whose lives it focuses on.

By Darcy Frey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Darcy Frey chronicles the aspirations of four young men as they navigate the NCAA recruitment process, their only hope of escape from a life of crime, poverty, and despair.

It ought to be just a game, but basketball on the playgrounds of Coney Island is much more than that. In The Last Shot, the aspirations of a few of the neighborhood's most promising players reveal that what they have going for them (athletic talent, grace, and years of dedication) may not be enough to defeat what's working against them: woefully inadequate schooling, family circumstances that are often desperate, and the…


Book cover of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

While this book mirrors the template of Darcy Frey’s book and my own, following a high school basketball team through an entire season, the setting—an upper-class, genteel community of white suburbanites in Amherst, Massachusetts—is a world away from that of those stories, and, most importantly, the athletes are female. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, through her elegant writing, brings a piercing understanding of the obstacles these girls face in the wake of Title IX as they prove their toughness, perseverance, and abilities in a sport traditionally dominated by men. 

By Madeleine Blais,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1995 to huge critical acclaim and a finalist for the NBCC Award for Nonfiction, Madeleine Blais's In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle is a modern sports writing classic. Now expanded and updated with a new epilogue, Blais's book tells the story of a season in the life of the Amherst Lady Hurricanes, a powerhouse girls' high school basketball team from a small western Massachusetts college town. The Hurricanes were a talented team with a near-perfect record, but for five straight years, when it came to the crunch of the playoffs, they somehow lacked the scrappy, hard-driving…


Book cover of Heaven Is a Playground

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

While the titles mentioned so far focus on high school teams spending their winters inside gymnasiums with referees on the court and fans in the bleachers, this one, written vibrantly by a staffer for Sports Illustrated magazine, shifts outside, to a blistering hot summer on the asphalt courts of Flatbush in Brooklyn, where teenage boys (including future legends Fly Williams and Albert King) and full-grown men play a tougher game, replete with trash-talking, flashy in-your-face moves, and tests of manhood that often turn to violence, with no officials to enforce order or rules, and few bystanders besides aging ex-athletes betting a few dollars on the outcomes, and other pickup teams waiting to take on the winners. As on inner-city playgrounds across the country, the game of basketball offers a rare respite from otherwise grim lives framed by poverty and the almost complete absence of hope.

By Rick Telander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heaven Is a Playground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1974, Rick Telander intended to spend a few days doing a magazine piece on the court wizards of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. He ended up staying the entire summer, becoming part of the players’ lives and eventually the coach of a loose aggregation known as the Subway Stars. Telander tells of everything he saw: the on-court flash, the off-court jargon, the late-night graffiti raids, the tireless efforts of one promoter-hustler-benefactor to get these kids a chance at a college education. He lets the kids speak for themselves, revealing their grand dreams and ambitions. But he never flinches from showing us how…


Book cover of A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

Bill Bradley was as far from a typical college and NBA superstar as can possibly be imagined. He was 6’5” but could barely dunk. In a race between the tortoise and the hare, he would be the tortoise. Yet, with an uncanny set of shooting, passing, and rebounding skills, he became the nation’s top high school prospect, with more than 70 colleges, including every powerhouse in the sport, offering him a scholarship. Instead, he chose to play at lowly Princeton, in one of the game’s weakest conferences—the Ivy League—where he averaged more than 30 points a game over the course of his career, becoming a two-time first-team All-American and, in his senior season, national player of the year, leading the Tigers to the 1965 NCAA tournament’s Final Four, in which he scored an unheard of 58 points against Wichita State and was named the tournament’s MVP—the only player to this…

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sense of Where You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book from the legendary New Yorker writer John McPhee, tells about Bill Bradley when he was the best basketball player Princeton had ever seen.

When John McPhee met Bill Bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. In A Sense of Where You Are,
McPhee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made Bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. But athletic prowess alone would not explain Bradley's magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself—his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense…


Book cover of Go Up for Glory

Matthew A. Werner Author Of Season of Upsets: Farm boys, city kids, Hoosier basketball and the dawn of the 1950s

From my list on more than just sports books.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller and jack of all trades who grew up on a family farm in Indiana. I can operate a combine, analyze data, or edit a book. Writing about sports can create great stories, but the true beauty lies in the people and circumstances, not the stats and game highlights. Most of my works are nonfiction—personal interest, sports, history, and sports history. I enjoy unearthing untold stories, especially when they involve equal rights, underdogs, hidden history, and non-famous people. Everyone has a story to tell.

Matthew's book list on more than just sports books

Matthew A. Werner Why did Matthew love this book?

An 11-time NBA champion, Bill Russell revealed the insecurity of being a super tall, lanky, Black man that can’t avoid notice. He wrote honestly about racism and civil rights in America. He mentioned great Celtics players and described the NBA’s early days. His description of the physical demands of traveling and playing so many games made me realize his job was hard work. Read it just to find the passage where Russel describes—better than any writer ever has—that rare, amazing feeling you get when teammates are in sync, everything is clicking, and a team plays at its peak.

By Bill Russell, William Mcsweeny,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Go Up for Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back in print for the first time in decades, Go Up for Glory is the classic 1968 basketball memoir by NBA legend Bill Russell, with a new foreword from the author.

From NBA legend Bill Russell, Go Up for Glory is a basketball memoir that transcends time. First published in 1965, this narrative traces Russell's childhood in segregated America and details the challenges he faced as a Black man, even when he was a celebrated NBA star. And while some progress has been made, this book serves as an urgent reminder of how far we still have to go in…


Book cover of Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership From the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner

Ryan Buckley Author Of The Parallel Entrepreneur: How to start and run B2B businesses while keeping your day job

From my list on how to start a side hustle.

Who am I?

I studied economics and environmental policy but landed in entrepreneurship. I wrote The Parallel Entrepreneur after I sold my first company and continued to work on Rbucks, my blog, after I joined the next company. Outside of work I volunteer frequently in my community. I’m an Associate Professor in the Business Department at Diablo Valley College, where I teach marketing and sit on the advisory boards for both the Business and Computer Science departments. I also lead the Diablo Valley Tech Initiative (DVTI), an economic development organization incubated at DVC. Related to DVTI, I run Lamorinda Entrepreneurs, a community group that promotes and supports local entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Ryan's book list on how to start a side hustle

Ryan Buckley Why did Ryan love this book?

A great book about leadership and business. I pick it because it’s on the reading list suggested in The Art of Profitability. I learned that focus is important. Bill Russell was one of the greatest basketball players of all time because he worked harder and played smarter than everyone else. However, he also recognized that he doesn’t play every position. He needs to have a great team, one that adapts to the competition. He needs them all to play at his level and he was able to do that, winning the NBA Finals a record-breaking 11 seasons. One way to build a successful side hustle (or portfolio of side hustles) is to recruit a great team to help you.

By Bill Russell, David Falkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Russell Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bill Russell epitomizes innovation, teamwork, and leadership. Now the winner of 11 championships as a player and coach of the Boston Celtics and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player reveals the 11 essential steps to attaining success in your professional and personal life.

In this invaluable book, Bill Russell shares the insights, memories, and most important, the essential “rules of success” that influenced him in every aspect of his life, from raising a daughter as a single father to becoming a successful coach and mentor to others. Filled with personal and professional stories of his days playing with Celtic greats Bob…


Book cover of The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership

Sally Helgesen Author Of How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job

From my list on actually being a leader.

Who am I?

I have spent the last 32 years of my life working with women leaders and aspiring women leaders all over the world and helping organizations to create more inclusive cultures. As a result, I’ve been exposed to extraordinary leaders and to terrible leaders and have seen up close the impact they have on people’s lives. This has inspired me to write 7 books and thousands of articles exploring different aspects of the leader’s journey and to deliver leadership workshops in 32 countries. What do I love? Sharing the stories that inspire me.

Sally's book list on actually being a leader

Sally Helgesen Why did Sally love this book?

The Captain Class examines what it takes to build a dominant and dynastic sports team: the 1949-1953 New York Yankees; the 1956-1969 Boston Celtics; the 2011-2015 New Zealand All Blacks, the Cuban Women’s volleyball team 1991-2000, Barcelona’s professional soccer team 2008-2011, Australian Women’s Field Hockey in the 1990s, The San Antonio Spurs 1997-2016. The answer may surprise those who believe the presence of an undeniable GOAT (greatest of all time, or superstar) is the key ingredient of superb and sustained success– or those who attribute sustained success to great management, overwhelming talent, or unlimited money. Rather, Walker examines the impact of exceptional player-leaders who carry the team’s culture in their bones and inspire teammates to make outsized effort through their fierce dedication and strategic intelligence.

By Sam Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Captain Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to winning is not what you think it is.
It's not the coach. It's not the star.
It's not money. It's not a strategy.
It's something else entirely.

The founding editor of The Wall Street Journal's sports section profiles the greatest teams in history and identifies the counterintuitive leadership qualities of the unconventional men and women who drove them to succeed. Fuelled by a lifetime of sports spectating, twenty years of reporting, and a decade of painstaking research, The Captain Class is not just a book on sports; it is the key to how successful teams are built…


Book cover of Florence Adler Swims Forever

Elyssa Friedland Author Of The Most Likely Club

From my list on loads of nostalgia.

Who am I?

I’m somebody that starts far too many sentences with the phrase “Remember when.” I have great sensory recollection of things from my past. As a high schooler in the 90s, I can still smell the CK One I was wearing during the Seinfeld finale and hear the Nirvana blaring through my 5-disc changer while I did my homework. I love using my writing to bring certain time periods back to life. I think because technology is moving so quickly – I struggle to understand TikTok – I like writing books and reading books that take me back to a time period that isn’t changing with status updates, new pictures, and Snaps every second. 

Elyssa's book list on loads of nostalgia

Elyssa Friedland Why did Elyssa love this book?

Tearjerker warning here. This book brought me back to 1930s Atlantic City. As a Jersey Girl, I’m always curious to read books about the place I grew up. I was especially interested in this book because it centered on a Jewish family, similar to my own. While the plot hinges on a tragedy, there are also hopeful moments and some well-placed humor. Not only was I wrapped up in the family drama, but I learned so much history about the Jersey Shore, a place that today barely resembles what author Rachel Beanland describes.   

By Rachel Beanland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Florence Adler Swims Forever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The perfect summer read" (USA TODAY) begins with a shocking tragedy that results in three generations of the Adler family grappling with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets across the course of one summer.

"Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She'll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story." -Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Finalist for The Great Believers

Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to "America's Playground"…


Book cover of Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich

Mike Sielski Author Of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality

From my list on going beyond the final score.

Who am I?

I immersed myself in sports when I was young. Watched every game. Knew every statistic and piece of trivia. Lived and died with my favorite teams’ fortunes. But as I aged and became a writer, the outcomes of the games mattered less and less to me. The sports themselves mattered less and less. What mattered were the stories that I could uncover and tell—stories that, by the nature of sports and competition, branched into all the themes and fields of the human condition.

Mike's book list on going beyond the final score

Mike Sielski Why did Mike love this book?

I rushed out to buy Kriegel’s bio of Pistol Pete when it hit stores in 2007.

I’d always found Maravich fascinating as a basketball player—the guy is still the all-time leading scorer in Division I men’s basketball history, and he played just three years of college ball—but didn’t know much about his life.

I wondered: How was there enough material for Kriegel to write a full-length book about him? Turns out, more than enough for Mark to write a brilliant book that, like so many great sports stories, is really about fathers and sons.

By Mark Kriegel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pistol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling Pistol is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dream—and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Pete—a basketball icon for baby boomers—all the Maraviches paid a price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family: its rise, its apparent ruin, and, finally, its redemption.

Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid…


Book cover of The NBA In Black And White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach

Syl Sobel Author Of Boxed Out of the NBA: Remembering the Eastern Professional Basketball League

From my list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball.

Who am I?

When Jay Rosenstein and I started writing Boxed Out of the NBA, we thought we were writing a light collection of mostly humorous anecdotes from old ballplayers about playing in the minor league. But as we interviewed the old Eastern Leaguers and understood how the league gave a home to players who couldn’t make the NBA in large part because of race, we realized we had a much more important and socially significant story. It’s been our privilege to get to know these gentlemen, and feel like they have entrusted us to tell their story. We want to help them get the respect and recognition they deserve while they are still here to appreciate it. 

Syl's book list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball

Syl Sobel Why did Syl love this book?

Ray Scott is a living bridge from the first generation of Black players in the NBA to the modern NBA that emerged in the 1970s.

Through high school in Philadelphia where he played against Wilt Chamberlain, to college in Portland where he first competed against Elgin Baylor, to his formative professional years in the Eastern League where his contemporaries were the league’s all-time stars like Sherman White, Wally Choice, and Hal “King” Lear, to his early years in the NBA where his mentor was Earl Lloyd, to succeeding Lloyd as an NBA coach and becoming the first African American named NBA Coach of the Year, Scott has soldiered through numerous affronts yet always emerged with grace, dignity, and hope.

“Coach,” as he is called, in this memoir written with prolific basketball writer and former Eastern League player Charley Rosen, demonstrates why he is respected and beloved as both a leader…

By Ray Scott, Charley Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The NBA In Black And White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A memoir of hard lessons learned in the racially segregated and sometimes outright racist NBA of the early ‘60s by celebrated NBA player and the first Black Coach of the Year, Ray Scott. Introduced by Earl "the Pearl" Monroe.

“There’s a basic insecurity with Black guys my size,” Scott writes. “We can’t hide and everybody turns to stare when we walk down the street. … Whites believe that their culture is superior to African-American culture. ... We don’t accept many of [their] answers, but we have to live with them.”

Ray Scott was part of the early wave of Black…


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