I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big fan of Yogi Berra – both the ballplayer and the person, which is why I was excited to read his new book, You Can Observe A Lot by Watching.
In this book, Berra draws on his 19 seasons in the Majors to focus on what it means to be a team player – which is something he should know quite a bit about. As a player, Berra made it to 14 World Series and won 10 of them, including five in a row with the 1949-1953 Yankees. He bridged some tremendous ballclubs, from the days of Joe DiMaggio to the Mantle and Maris years. Yogi saw the best, played with the best, and worked himself into being the best.
Which is what this book focuses on – albeit not in the typical self-help or business book fashion. Yogi is quick to dismiss the book as something that would fall into either of those two categories. He readily admits that’s not his area of expertise.
What he does know though is teamwork – and what goes into taking a group of individuals and getting them to work together for a common goal.
When you think about the talent level that Yogi Berra played with, it’s almost hard to fathom. Throw in the tremendous amount of success that his teams had, and it becomes even more impressive. Look around and see how many great players there are in sports today – and how many of them don’t have a championship on their resume.
Yogi takes his wealth of experience and translates it into terms that almost anyone could apply to their daily lives. Whether it’s a simple reminder of understanding your role within an organization, or taking the high road and owning up to a mistake, the 15 chapters each contain a nugget that can be taken from the baseball world to the business world.
By readily admitting what this book is and isn’t, Berra sets a light hearted tone from the get go, even though the book is talking about what could be considered a pretty serious subject. Go to your local bookstore and see how many books are written on teamwork, and you’ll see that there’s a lot of energy and money being put towards trying to improve this area.
There’s plenty of baseball in there as well – a nice recap of Don Larsen’s perfect game, a good amount on how Yogi got to the majors and plenty of Yankee stories.
You Can Observe A Lot by Watching is a good pickup that I think you’ll enjoy both from a baseball perspective and from what it can add to your life. It’s a great book to read, sit on for a little while, and then flip back and read the blurbs that begin each chapter. They do a great job distilling the message, and give you something easy to take with you and implement into your life.