Books that have influenced your FRC Mentoring

Back in May, I asked for book suggestions from FRC Mentors that they felt have influenced and guided their mentoring.

@Katie_UPS kindly collected them all into a goodreads list -✓

Feel free to add more suggestions here or add endorsements for some of the books already on the list.


Really glad to see Good to Great on there. I would highly suggest “The Captain Class” by Sam Walker. I found this book to echo some of the things in “Good to Great”, but as it relates to many different sports teams over time. I think the shear volume of research that had to be done for the book also set it apart in my mind. One of my favorites for sure.


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is a good book (on Katie’s list). Actually, most of Brene Brown’s books are great.


Tangentially, would anyone be interested in a mentor book club?


Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports–and Everyday Life

How to Win Friends & Influence People

And a favorite, The Last Lecture


This one explains why our teams mean so much to us, and why FRC is so important to those that share the passion for it.

More esoteric and dense, but there’s a lifetime of depth here:

This one has been invaluable to me professionally, and I think that’s trickled into FRC mentorship.

+1 for “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. I must have read through my copy at least 10 - 12 times.

It is cool to see “Art of War” on the list that @AllenGregoryIV linked. Last month, Tyler Holtzman used a quote from it in one of the presentations given at the “2056 Ways To Inspire Conference”. For those interested, the version by Samuel Griffith has very extensive explanations of the context of Sun Tzu’s writings that is missing in a lot of the other translations.

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Both of which have seriously influenced my mentoring in important ways.


This was another influence for me:

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Whenever things are bad, you can always open Endurance and read a couple chapters and think “Well, my choices aren’t 40 degrees F and soaking wet or 14 degrees F and dry, and also my bedroom isn’t breaking apart every night to reveal a chasm of freezing seawater, so things are actually not so bad.”


I base my mentoring and teambuilding on some of the classics:

The Prince
The Will to Power
Ender’s Game
The Social Contract
Animal Farm
and of course, Lord of the Flies.

FRC teams are basically tiny autocratic government-company agglomerations.



The Abolition of Man is always top of the list for most influential books on my life writ large. It’s given my work soul.
Coming Apart has grounded me on the need to integrate engineers with laymen- especially on the social side. FRC is fertile ground to help avoid this in the first place.
To Engineer is Human motivates further the philosophy of why we engineer things- for good, not expediency.
The Peter Principle has helped me to say ‘no’ to roles I should not be taking on, even if they’re “vertical advancement”.


“The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t” by Nate Silver


Yes please! (on the mentor book club)

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My Dad and my son LOVE this book. My Dad visited Shackleton’s hut when he was on an Icebreaker for the Coast Guard.

Thanks for clarifying this. I haven’t read Scott Kelly’s book Endurance but I couldn’t possibly see why he’d be encountering frigid seawater in low earth orbit.

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Seriously…Rocket Boys by Homer Hickan

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