They say that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. And they’re probably right, unless you’re talking about a book, in which case people usually judge a book by it’s cover and they’re usually right. What they really mean is that you shouldn’t judge something without knowing everything about it. That’s the case with Sacred Hoops. The book is written by Phil Jackson, known worldwide as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all times, leading the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to 11 World Championships and winning another 2 as a coach in the 1970’s with the New York Knicks. This means that even if he uses his thumbs he still has 3 extra rings that he can’t wear. But this book has, at its core, nothing to do with basketball.

Sacred Hoops is a book about leadership. Whether you apply this to basketball or work, the idea behind the entire book is how to bring a group of people together for a common cause. The book is about how you put your ego aside. It’s about how you can take yourself out of the equation and become a part of the team.

Phil Jackson is an incredibly spiritual person and this plays out in the book. He talks in detail about how his past experiences with Catholicism, Eastern Religions and Native American spirituality have come together to help him become a better leader but he never turns the book into an overtly religious piece. And I think this is important because it speaks to the overwhelming theme of Jackson’s book; use the tools that you’re most comfortable using to achieve the goals you need to achieve. It doesn’t matter if this is working on your hook shot or leading a team of developers on a new project.

When you bring a team of people together, it is inevitable that there will be people within the team who are more interested in their goals rather than the goals of the team. Maybe it comes from not being successful, maybe it comes from being too successful but the point is that a team cannot succeed without total buy-in from every member. And that’s not easy to achieve…unless you’re Phil Jackson.

This book is best read by those that are sports fans or more importantly basketball fans however there is less technical talk and more theoretical than you would imagine. The theory behind Sacred Hoops is that there is a formula for success. It may be hard to understand. It may seem like it’s in a totally different language, but there is a formula for success on how to be a leader and if anyone understands this, it’s Phil Jackson.
Read the book.
Get the rings.