Yes, I'm a loyal Indianapolis sports fan, but the fact that I was already a huge fan of the Colts and Tony Dungy only slightly impacted how strongly I feel about this book. My mom had told me I needed to read this growing up, but given that my pleasure reading was minimal outside of textbooks in high school and college, I never did until recently. As is almost always the case, I should have listened to Mom.
Quiet Strength is the first person story of Tony Dungy, the former Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts NFL football team, beginning with his childhood all the way through his Super Bowl victory with the Colts in 2007. While football serves as the context for this book, it is completely secondary to the lessons about values, family, faith, and living a happy and fulfilling life. His opening quote of the book reads, "I really wanted to show people you can win all kinds of ways... For your faith to be more important than your job, for your family to be more important than your job... we all know that's the way it should be... I'm not afraid to say it." I would recommend Quiet Strength to someone who has no interest in sports because of the incredible life lessons engrained in this book.
Tony begins with his childhood, about how he was raised by his parents and the invaluable principles they taught him growing up. Tony refers back to these principles throughout the chapters as the basis for some of his most critical personal and professional decisions. The book then follows him from being a standout high school athlete to a college quarterback for the University of Minnesota to a Super Bowl-winning safety in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then moves into coaching, going from an NFL position coach to Defensive Coordinator to Head Coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a great run in Tampa, Tony moves to Indianapolis to be the Head Coach of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
For the football fans out there, you will recognize just about every name Tony refers to in terms of the players and coaches he worked with, and the football strategy and coaching decisions are fascinating. But as I mentioned earlier, football serves simply as a platform for Tony to share his amazing values with the world. From the high pressure stakes of winning in the NFL to the tragic loss of his teenage son, Tony never loses sight of his principles and uses them as the foundation for living a winning life. Tony is very religious and refers to his Christian beliefs often, but the lessons and principles he is teaching apply to absolutely anyone in the world, regardless of faith.
Life Lesson Takeaways from Quiet Strength
- Never lose sight of what is truly important
- Why you should always be humble
- How to win and lose graciously
- Why you need to delegate to and trust others
- You will be successful when you learn how to make those around you successful
- Focus only on what you can control, nothing else
- You don't have to do anything superhuman, just do the ordinary things better than anyone else
- You don't have to yell or bring others down to help them learn or be successful
- High standards can solve just about anything
- Make the best of absolutely every situation
- Stick to your values and principles no matter what happens
- How to effectively use the platforms in your life to spread your values
- The importance of giving back to those less fortunate than you
I am unquestionably a better person because I read this book, and I strongly believe you will be, too.