Motivational leadership wisdom from a former professional hockey player and coach.
Sports professionals know a thing or two about performance, and Walter (Hockey Plays and Strategies, 2009, etc.) shares his thoughts on the subject in this book, which weaves together personal stories; numerous quotes from athletes, businessmen, politicians, scientists, and others; and solid advice. “There is a mysterious, universally-available inner energy that feeds all high performance,” he writes, which is also the impetus for the book’s title. In expected sports-analogy style, he divides the content into three sections: “Inner Game,” “Outer Game,” and “Team Game.” Each section is further divided into three key forms of “fuel”; for instance, the Inner Game covers “Purpose & Passion,” “Futuring,” and “Believing” under the subtitle of “Core Fuel.” Each chapter closes with exercises, “leadership tips,” and a graphic of a car’s fuel gauge, which the reader is asked to shade in based on “how full your Purpose and Passion tank is today.” The parallel structure lends the book consistency and helps one anticipate what’s coming next even if the book’s “fuel” theme does sometimes feel a bit gimmicky. The content is, for the most part, typical for a leadership book, but there are occasional flashes of uniqueness; for example, the discussion of “Framing” in the Outer Game section provides intriguing food for thought: “Framing is not just about all the positives that we choose for our team and ourselves,” writes Walter. “It is also about the things that we choose to frame out.” Another bit of wisdom worth mentioning is the author’s take on failure, which he says “is not a person; it is an event.…The key is not to allow failure to stop our emotional forward momentum.” The overall style of the book is informal, breezy, and likable, and its use of numerous graphics makes for easy reading. In the concluding chapter, appropriately named “Game On,” the author reprises each of the fuel gauges in the form of a “Hungry Dashboard,” advising the reader to “Keep your tanks full to stay hungry.”
Mostly standard but engaging self-improvement fare that’s nicely packaged.