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Performance | Jan 4, 2022
The Vice Chair of GB Climbing’s Competition Climbing and Performance Group lists the books that have influenced her work in sport.

Joelie Chisholm’s career in sport goes back more than a decade and takes in spells at Triathlon Australia, Rowing Australia, and Water Polo Australia to name but a few.


At present, she serves as a non-executive director at The Boat Race Company Limited and as Vice Chair of GB Climbing’s Competition Climbing and Performance Group [CCPG].

Here, Chisholm lists a selection of performance-focused tomes that have influenced her work in sport.

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh

By the legendary San Francisco 49ers coach who took the team from nothing to multiple Super Bowl winners. A brilliant tale of how getting the culture and processes right leads to winning games. Also a reminder of how hard people work in high performance sport.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialist World by David Epstein

Another book by the author of ‘The Sports Gene’. In an increasingly resource-stretched industry the ability of being able to cover multiple areas has never been more important. This shows what an influence generalists can have by being constantly curious.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

In sport we deal with and must influence many people from many different backgrounds. This was a poignant reminder to take time and think about the people you are dealing with and how to get the best from them.  As an introvert myself, this book would have been a great tool to have given to some of my coaches and leaders, to enable them to get the best out of me.

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes

This book was surprisingly influential. In the chaotic world of sport there are a lot of unknowns. This book describes how humans need for closure ends our curiosity, and the amazing outcomes achieved by people who can sit with the uncomfortableness of not knowing.

Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance by Matthew Syed

I couldn’t leave this list without a Matthew Syed book, and it was difficult to choose which one to put on the list. This book showcases the positive influence on innovation and constant improvement a culture of admitting and learning from mistakes can have. Something that in a high-performance culture can be forgotten.

Others of notable influence:

Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed, This Is Me by Ian Thorpe, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, More Beautiful Questions by William Berger, Run Swim Throw Cheat by Chris E Cooper, Swim Bike Run by the Brownlee Brothers, Nudge by Richard Thaler.

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