Best Sports Books

Book rating updated 25.04.2024

Celebrate the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat with the most inspiring and informative sports books of all time.

  1. The Boys in the Boat

    85 943 ratings

    A remarkable story of nine American boys from working-class backgrounds that will shock everyone by winning the ultimate honours of the sport of rowing. The book is based in the period of the Great Depression when the boys are going all out to prove everybody wrong while training for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. They exemplify their country of the desire to win and teamwork; they epitomize hope for a country that needs a lot of inspiration. This extraordinary journey to gold epitomizes the power of resilience and the human spirit.

  2. Open: An Autobiography

    21 124 ratings

    It is an autobiography that opens up the life of a tennis great who hated the sport from his tender age, and follows how he moved from being pushed into tennis by his dad to becoming one of the world's best players. The book goes into his struggles with fame, identity and personal relationships to that of depression, struggle with drugs. It is the story of transformation and redemption showing how he found purpose through the charity work and love for the game he once despised. A candid and inspiring tale of resilience and change.

  3. Born to Run

    24 496 ratings

    The wonder of being able to run through such conditions by the Tarahumara Indians – known as the tribe with the ability to run long distances across the globe – reveals their amazing tenacity. The book is about adventure, personal discovery and scientific investigation. It questions whether those highly sophisticated modern running shoes really have helped or hampered such achievements, and whether simplicity and nature could revolutionize the training of runners. The result is a captivating race that promises to redefine the barriers of human capacity, keeping both eyes on new insights into health, happiness, and the soulful human relationship with running.

  4. The Inner Game of Tennis

    7 996 ratings
    Recommended by: Bill Gates

    It revolves around psychological aspects associated with playing tennis and how the players can play better by applying mental skills. The core idea here is overpowering self-doubt and anxiety with the use of mental skills that help improve concentration and confidence. The author provides a means of achieving top performance by mastering the "inner game," specifically the one against one's mental obstacles. Realistic application of these principles not only to tennis but to life itself, thereby giving people the best chance of developing confidence in their abilities.

  5. Moneyball

    6 885 ratings

    Based on the non-fiction book "Moneyball" written by Michael Lewis, the story of which chronicles the radical approach of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane in which a low-budget MLB team became a contender in baseball. Billy Beane and his Oakland A's changed the game of baseball with statistical analysis over conventional scouting, challenging conventional wisdom. The book serves to underscore the power of data in making the strategic decision – to show how A's accumulated a competitive team despite financial constraints. It's a story of underdogs and innovation, illustrating how thinking differently in the face of established norms can lead to groundbreaking success.

  6. The Score Takes Care of Itself

    2 120 ratings
    Recommended by: Sam Altman, Justin Kan

    In this effective book, the legendary football coach Bill Walsh shares his philosophy on leading and building a team. It is noted that success is underlined to be steered by having a focus on the process and not on the outcome. By inculcating the work ethic, promoting teamwork, and paying attention to details, it is proven that Walsh is indeed capable of being a personification of life application within an organization or in aspects of life beyond sport. Bottom line is, the scores take care of themselves when the little things are taken care of. This is a book that provides much learning in the way excellence is built through disciplined and thoughtful practices.

  7. 80/20 Running

    3 514 ratings

    Guide to conditioning for peak performance and health, based on the premise that 80% of running should be at low intensity while 20% should be at high intensity. It covers the science supporting the theory and—most important—practical guidance on how to put this theory into practice in your running. It covers detailed training plans for everyone, workouts for all levels of runners, advice on recovery, nutrition, and avoiding injuries.

  8. Ball Four

    2 741 ratings

    It's a candid and witty look inside 1960s professional baseball, breaking the silence on the locker room, players' personal lives, and the game's challenges. The book is the work of a former major league pitcher and presents itself like a diary recounting some of the 'inside' stories that were to lift the covers from the harsher facts of the game, from the use of performance-enhancing drugs to the dynamics of team camaraderie and conflicts. It poses a challenge to the preconceived whitewashed conception of the game and shows the candid view of the game that changed the way fans observe the favorite national pastime - it is innovative and contentious in the history of sports literature.

  9. The Jordan Rules

    1 831 ratings
    Recommended by: Larry Ellison

    An inside look at the Chicago Bulls and their "road" to an NBA title during the 1990-1991 season. Detailed in this book are the rivalries, struggles, and victories of a team that clearly provides perspectives on Jordan's leadership and competitiveness. It's an engaging read for basketball fans and anyone interested in the intricacies of team sports and leadership.

  10. When the Game Was Ours

    1 312 ratings

    It follows their almost mythic rivalry and friendship between basketball greats Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. From their classic NCAA championship showdown to their epic NBA Finals multiple face-offs in the 1980s, the story goes far beyond the court and explores more than even their fierce competition that saved the NBA. More than everything, it gets into their personal journey, the mutual respect and even a deep bond which both share despite this great rivalry. The story enshrines the contribution of these players in the game of basketball in making it popular, and describes how they changed the entire complexion of the game not only with their skills on the court but also by their deeds off the court.

  11. Instant Replay

    494 ratings

    The diary provides an insight of professional football in the 60s with a chronicle of a season with the Green Bay Packers. It captures a day by day life with its struggles and comradeship of one of the greatest teams of the NFL and under an equally great leader of one in Coach Vince Lombardi. Through a process of trial and error in practices, to ultimately success on game day, readers see the game of football from grueling practices to game-day triumphs through the eyes of an offensive lineman lacing up his cleats. Personal reflections are mingled with humor along with behind-the-scenes insights in this novel. It is a true rags-to-riches story about dedication, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the incredibly competitive and often frustrating world of professional football.

  12. A Sense of Where You Are

    253 ratings

    The story is an intimate look into the life and career of basketball player Bill Bradley in his time at Princeton University and later as a celebrated athlete. It describes how Bradley showed great discipline, had a rigorous routine of practice, and had a philosophical approach to the game. It traces, through careful observation and interviews, the various stages in Bradley's development from a college player to a national sports figure – emphasizing the intellectual and ethical approach Bradley brought to the game of basketball, and to life. It is not just a celebration of sport but rather celebrates the quality in leadership that has defined success on the court and beyond.

  13. The Triathlete's Training Bible

    212 ratings

    This will be a book to bring together all aspects of training for a triathlon of any level whether sprint or Ironman distance. It will cover all major tenets of endurance training from the science to the art, with periodization, intensity, and recovery. Describes in detail each workout and training plan for swimming, biking, and running; the nutrition; the mental preparation; and the race strategy. Inside, the athlete will find invaluable insights and case studies from top coaches and athletes—an absolute essential for any triathlete looking to optimize their performance.


  • What are the most popular authors of sport books?

    Here are authors of good books about sports:

    • Phil Jackson - basketball coaching philosophy.
    • Michael Lewis - economics in sports, narrative nonfiction.
    • Bill Simmons - sports culture, basketball history.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger - bodybuilding, fitness.
    • Rich Roll - endurance sports, wellness.

List of top rated Sports books everyone should read. Best sellers only!