Looking for your next book to read? Love sports? Or leadership? Or history? Check out a few book recommendations from our program staff.

A Close-to-Home History Recommendation

Book: As We Saw It: The Story of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin 

Authors: Gregory J. Vincent (Editor), Virginia A. Cumberbatch (Editor), Leslie A. Blair (Editor)

Staff Recommendation: Teri Durden, Program Director

What It’s All About: This book is a collection of stories on integration. It’s told by some of the first Black students admitted to The University of Texas at Austin. Definitely a relevant read for the young and old…even today.

Why It’s Worth a Read: I chose this book not only in honor of Black History Month, but to honor the untold stories it contains. As a Black woman and native Austinite with undergrad and graduate degrees from UT Austin, this book gave me a fresh perspective on the history of a place I called home for most of my adult life. It also left me with a deep sense of gratitude. Without these students’ stories, my story (and many others) wouldn’t be possible.

A Hard-Skills-Aren’t-Everything Recommendation

Book: Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality

Author: Henry Cloud

Staff Recommendation: Mark Price, Sr. Director of Programs

What It’s All About: Hard skills receive the most attention and affection in business and on the ballfield. However, Dr. Cloud suggests that a person’s inner makeup (their “structural integrity”) is the ultimate multiplier of the success someone can achieve and sustain. He reasons that building that maturity is what really makes life fun. 

Why It’s Worth a Read: I love this book because Dr. Cloud doesn’t just tell you to have good morals or be nicer and tougher. Instead, he walks you through six tangible areas that determine your results and growth as a teammate, leader, and individual contributor. 

A Community-and-Culture-Matter Recommendation

Book: Legacy

Author: James Kerr

Staff Recommendation: Michael Galvan, Program Director

What It’s All About: This book gives insight into one of the greatest sports dynasties across all sports, the All Blacks of New Zealand rugby team. Through this story, you’re giving the building blocks to build a program that is based on community and local culture. 

Why It’s Worth a Read: This is what RBI Austin is all about – having a community program for the community and from the community. Local culture is crucial to a local program. 

An Inspiration-from-a-Legend Recommendation

Book: Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine

Author: Tom Jordan

Staff Recommendation: Andy Garcia, Program Coordinator

What It’s All About: The title says it all, but this is about the inspiring life of Steve Prefontaine, a long-distance runner in the early 70’s. Prefontaine is arguably one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time. He had a tremendous impact on the running world, breaking all kinds of records, but more importantly, he made running cool for me.

Why It’s Worth a Read: This is one of my favorite books of all time. In high school, I was big into long-distance running and would run miles each day. Many coaches from other sports told me that my long-distance running had no real purpose and that I should focus my energy elsewhere. However, my cross-country coach encouraged our team to read this, and I don’t regret it.

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