Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Matheny Manifesto

A Young Manager's Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life

Mike Matheny, Jerry B. Jenkins

Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason three times in his first three years, people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it's based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”

The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−hint: it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility.

From “The Coach Is Always Right, Even When He's Wrong” to “Let Your Catcher Call the Game,” Matheny's old-school advice might not always be popular or politically correct, but it works. His entertaining and deeply inspirational book will not only resonate with parents, coaches, and athletes, it will also be a powerful reminder, from one of the most successful new managers in the game, of what sports can teach us all about winning on the field and in life (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Disclosure: I was born and raised a STL Cardinal baseball fan. I live my life and will die as a STL Cardinal baseball fan. Some might argue that this would bias me to give a favorable review of a book written by the current manager of the STL Cardinals baseball team. Duly noted.

I liked Mike Matheny when he was the catcher for the Cardinals. I was sad when he left the team. I, like many others, was a bit surprised when he was hired to be manager since he had no prior experience as a manager at the major league level. I think this book is evidence of why he does so well in this position. The message that he outlines in the book for coaching young baseball players seems to be the way he handles adult players. There are many interesting examples of successes and failures, along with the thought process behind his decision making.

You don’t have to be a baseball fan or even a lover of sports to be able to learn something from this book. It was very well written and has lessons that can be used in everyday life.

My thanks to Crown Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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