Book Review: Stillpower

Why does everything worth anything have to be so unbelievably hard to achieve? Well, according to Garret Kramer in his new book, Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life
, the goal one wants to achieve may only seem hard because that is how the person chooses to perceive it. Now, one could clearly argue what the point is of setting and achieving goals if they are easy. Why would I spend time and go through the pain of preparing for the upcoming baseball season to raise my average above .300 if anyone could do it? Well, the secret is that no one else has to know it was easy besides you.

Kramer looks into a number of aspects of sports and life and attempts to explain how something that seems hard, like being a switch hitter, can actually be made to be easy as long as one possesses Stillpower. In essence, Kramer describes Stillpower as something that provides a high level of clarity to one’s life.  Perhaps this is what happens when a career .200 hitter suddenly has a season when they hit .315. It’s not necessarily that they are juicing or that their coach did something magical, but perhaps that the switch clicked in this player’s head and they located their Stillpower.

Kramer is clear that this book is not intended to have a self-help approach, but there are certain lessons that the reader could take away from it that could help them achieve something of greatness. The press release for the book indicates that the ideas presented in it are simple, and this is true. Many of the ideas that Kramer lays out in the book seem like common sense, but sometimes common sense is the hardest thing to teach.

The author spends much of the book addressing Stillpower
in athletes, but also addresses how it could be useful for coaches as well. This trait in coaches exemplifies the ability of a coach to get their team engaged in one common goal. Unlike Stillpower
for athletes when they take something physical and overcome perhaps a mental block, Stillpower in coaches seems to be much more difficult due to the fact that much of convincing others to get together on a goal has to do with one’s personality.

Some of the main topics discussed in the book are:

  • Examining the mind-body connection that so many athletes struggle with
  • The positives and negatives of using personal goals as what one measures their life by
  • The difference between applying free will to achieve something instead of relying on the strength of will
  • An illustration of all of the bumps that happen along the road in one’s life are not to deter one from where they want to go, but to clear up the path they were set to lead
  • An examination of “the zone” which athletes from baseball players to runners claim to be in, but often can’t describe how they got there
  • How to develop a team player, and not just one that says they are
  • The way that following the ideas of Stillpower produce only quality leaders, not quality followers
  • How it can be possible to overcome one’s ego, be aware of it, and push past it to do what is truly right for the team
  • Understand the state of mind that exists both for those who are bullies and those who tend to get bullied

While the topics in this book touch aspects that are present in many sports, baseball may be the sport that could be most affected by harnessing the effects of Stillpower
, because so much of the game relies on one’s mental state.

The age old question could be asked whether the pitcher is confident because he is good or is the pitcher good because he is confident. The same could be said for a coach or a hitter. If a hitter believes they are struggling, they will have a much harder time breaking out of it than a hitter who believes their next ten game hit streak is right around the corner.

Overall grade: 2.75/5

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