Toughness by Jay Bilas (Book Review)

Book #1 of 2014 – Toughness

The new year isn’t even a week old yet and I already finished more books than I did in 2013 – one.  I’m about as far from a reader you’ll likely find, besides the sports- or entertainment-related articles I peruse daily. But this year, I am making a vow to read more, a resolution if you will.

The book I read (in 6 days!) was Toughness by Duke alum and current ESPN analyst Jay Bilas. Here’s a book that emphasizes what it means to be tough…legitimately tough. Not some B.S., fake tough like “thumping his chest after a routine play.” Actual toughness. The kind you need to succeed in life.

I’m a stay at home dad. Is it tough? You bet your ass it is. I’m responsible (while my wife is at work) for instilling morals and values into a two-and-a-half year old boy, teaching him right from wrong, left from right, counting numbers and spelling the alphabet instead of counting letters and spelling numbers (though that works too), and teaching him to be tough!

As a former college athlete and coach, I considered myself a tough player, a fierce competitor. My goal was to get better each day but sometimes I got sidetracked. I didn’t “bring it” every single day. It’s a big task and often times, as is the case with me, you don’t realize these things until after the fact. I apologize to those I’ve slacked on even though it might not have seemed like I was slacking. Hindsight is 20/20 (and so am I, according to my eye doctor).

After reading this book, it explained exactly what a goal should be, day by day. The destination is the end game, the championship, if you will. And there are steps along the way that get you there, each one of utmost importance at the present time.

Looking ahead is easy to do, but to get to the destination, you’ve got to live in the here-and-now, step on every wrung of that ladder. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing should be taken for granted.

Toughness encompasses all aspects of your life and Bilas’ book touches on all of them perfectly, breaking it all down to a very understandable level, whether you’ve competed your entire life or cringe at the thought of sports.

Trust. Preparation. Courage. Communication. Persistence. Next Play. Commitment. Acceptance. Resilience. Self-evaluation. Hope.

These aren’t just key words or catch phrases related to toughness, they’re the chapter titles, and they are absolutely fitting. I won’t go into it in great depth about each and every chapter because if you are relying on me to give you the CliffsNotes version, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This book will teach you how to go about being “tough” the right way.

What you think you know about tough and toughness will only be reinforced by reading the book but it’ll also open your eyes to some things that you never associated with being tough.

I know everyone reads books that interest them but if you want one book to read that’ll make you better, make it this one. It will make you tougher.

Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!

Rating: 10/10

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