Top Mental Toughness Books of 2018 (so far)

If you are a coach or a boss, then you are paid to read. Hence, I love reading quality books and make it a priority to read the top mental toughness books that are WAY better than mine. If you want a detailed reading list for 2018, check out this article.


Wherever I Wind Up- R. A. Dickey 

Top Mental Toughness BooksCy Young winner, R. A. Dickey pitched for the Vols way before I arrived there. And even though I’m a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I couldn’t have enjoyed this book anymore. This is one of the top mental toughness books I’ve ever read. 

After making the Collegiate World Series, he was slated to be drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers and sign a contract and bonus of $750,000. During the routine physical, it was discovered he had no UCL in his elbow!?!

Thus, no contract! He ended up signing a simple minor league contract. This book is simply top-notch and a real testament to his faith and approach to life.


Anyways- Kent M. Keith 

The paradoxical commandments!

This is a very fast read. It’s easy to digest and sometimes the simple books are the most powerful.

The synopsis is basic, people are going to think you’re doing good for the recognition.

Do good anyways! 

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

Or as Andre Agassi’s strength coach Gil Reyes once told me, “Some battles are worth fighting, even if you lose.”

On Fire- John O’Leary

John O’Leary was a nine-year-old boy who wanted to watch some cardboard burn in his garage as he poured gasoline on it. The subsequent explosion threw him against the garage wall.

He was covered in gasoline and had to run through the flames in order to get out. He ran into his house completely on fire where his brother put the fire out with rug.

This epic story involves finding out your why in life and how an action of gratitude makes all of the difference. In need of perspective or inspiration? this is it. The Top Mental Toughness Books are also in audio format and this is read by the author, which I dig.


The Quarterback Whisperer-  Bruce Arians

I like to whisper too!

“No Risk it, no biscuit. “ is the popular saying from this head coach and quarterback expert. Coach Bruce Arians has worked with the best in the history of the game from Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, to Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer.

Coach Bruce delves into the intricacies and mentality needed to be an elite NFL quarterback and how to build one. His commentary and approach to coaching is authentic and down to earth!




The Undoing Project- Michael Lewis

The author of Money Ball and Three Nights in August, Michael Lewis, wrote another classic.

This book is about two psychologists who changed the way we basically think about our reality. These two researchers examined big data and invented the field of behavioral economics. They always came under harsh scrutiny for their work, because they were unconventional.

For example, would you rather merely LOSE $50 or flip a coin and if you win, you lose nothing, but if you LOSE the coin flip, you lose $100?



Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness  

My Top 5 Mental Toughness Books

Everybody is an athlete, our offices are just different. 

If you want our updated list or recommendations for mental toughness and sport psychology books, click here. 

“You are paid to read.” That’s what my coach told me, so I obliged. It takes Mental Toughness and discipline to read and consume information. Here’s my top list of mental strength books. 

Power of Broke The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage I never watched Shark Tank, but I do know FUBU-For Us By Us.  I’ve also been broke. This book by Daymond John is a fast read, but more importantly is chocked full of stories and insight from the best entrepreneurs on how:

Empty pockets, A tight budget, and a hunger for success is actually a competitive advantage.

Mental Toughness books The Forgotten Highlander: An Incredible WWII Story of Survival in the PacificThe Bridge over the River Kwai was a movie I watched with my dad.

This book is exactly like that, except it’s not Hollywood; it’s the “real” thing. All I can say is that after reading these mental toughness books, I realized that I can’t basically complain about anything. I simply take too many things for granted. #perspective.

leaders eat last Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t  This is the 2nd Simon Sinek book I’ve read and this book is better than Start with Why.  I always thought that the main chemicals in our brains for success were just endorphin & dopamine, right?! The feeling from a job well done and the feeling of exercise.

These are selfish chemicals though, Serotonin & Oxytocin are the leadership chemicals in our brains. The specific actions that we take release or don’t release the essential chemical we are really seeking. This is just one of the fascinating nuggets from the book.

spy the lie Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception My kids are still young, but I’m now prepared for when they become teenagers. This is one of the mental toughness books that you apply only when needed and you kind of forget you had that skill locked away. 

Coaches & Parents- You need to read this book! I actually preferred the audiobook on this one and I think you’ll hear why. 

Extreme Ownership Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win Jocko Willink has a podcast that is just straight up nasty. There are so many HUGE learning lessons from the podcast as well as the book. Since not many can actually relate to Navy Seals and their extreme disciplined level of life, this book breaks it down so that no matter your profession, cause, or passion, you’ll benefit from reading it. These are one of the mental toughness books that you apply immediately. 

It boils down to one thing- there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. Discipline = Freedom.


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly.