Conversations with Authors - Joan Ryan

Saturday, May 23rd • 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT

Joan Ryan

in conversation with Phil Cousineau


From Joan

Dear Friends,

I woke this morning still thinking about all of you who joined my conversation yesterday with Phil Cousineau.

Relationship is at the core of team chemistry, and of what it means to be human. Phil captured that so well in his questions and ideas. And Elaine Petrocelli lives it every day. She continues to offer a place for all of us—authors and readers alike—to connect with one another despite our current physical isolation.

We are tribal beings, wired to flourish in community. Thank you, Elaine, for helping us to flourish in this enormous, eclectic tribe of yours.

Books I’ve recently read or reread:

—Joan Ryan


From Phil

Thank you, Book Passage readers, for listening to my Author's Conversation with the great sports columnist and author Joan Ryan. I ardently believe that her new work, Intangibles, will elucidate many mysteries about team chemistry in sports, but also the team chemistry in our everyday lives.

I also mentioned a few other titles during our hour together, including my own 2004 book, The Olympic Odyssey, which was chosen by the US Olympic Committee as a gift for all 1,700 US athletes who competed in the 2004 Athens Games.

In my 1998 book, The Art of Pilgrimage, I describe ritual journeys to sporting sites such as the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, as a pilgrimage, as well the trek to the homes of revered players, such as Pele, the superstar soccer star. I also cited legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and his belief in the ancient Greek concept of "arete," translated as "excellence." A good course for him would be The Essential Wooden.

And finally some advice from my dad, who led me to both books and baseball, "Read, play, read again!"

—Phil Cousineau


Below, please find links to purchase all of the books recommended by Joan and Phil, as well as a selection of their own books.

A General Theory of Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375709227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 9th, 2001

This original and lucid account of the complexities of love and its essential role in human well-being draws on the latest scientific research. Three eminent psychiatrists tackle the difficult task of reconciling what artists and thinkers have known for thousands of years about the human heart with what has only recently been learned about the primitive functions of the human brain.

Like Life (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375719165
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 3rd, 2002

In Like Life’s eight exquisite stories, Lorrie Moore’s characters stumble through their daily existence. These men and women, unsettled and adrift and often frightened, can’t quite understand how they arrived at their present situations. Harry has been reworking a play for years in his apartment near Times Square in New York.

The Cactus League: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374117948
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 4th, 2020

Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR and Lit Hub. A Los Angeles Times Bestseller. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"In The Cactus League [Emily Nemens] provides her readers with what amounts to a miniature, self-enclosed world that is funny and poignant and lovingly observed." --Charles McGrath, The New York Times Book Review

The Water Dancer: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399590597
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: One World - September 24th, 2019

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • From the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom.

Invisible Man (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679732761
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 1995

Both a deeply compelling bestselling novel and an epic milestone of American literature.

Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. 

The Overstory: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393356687
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2019

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction
Winner of the William Dean Howells Medal
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Over One Year on the New York Times Bestseller List
A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of t

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Cover Image
By Al Franken, Author (Read by)
ISBN: 9781478912569
Availability: Special Order
Published: Twelve - June 6th, 2017

From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum -- comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.

The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games Cover Image
ISBN: 9780835608336
Availability: Special Order
Published: Quest Books (IL) - November 1st, 2003

The US Olympic Committee gave each Summer 2004 athlete this book for showing how the Games inspire contestants, trainers, fans, and nations alike. Its mythology and sports stories offer metaphors for living with passion, compassion, focus, and fairness.

The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred Cover Image
By Phil Cousineau, Houston Smith (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781573245937
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Conari Press - August 1st, 2012

First published in 1998 and updated with a new preface by the author, The Art of Pilgrimage is a sacred travel guide in book form that is full of inspiration for the spiritual traveler.

award-winning writer and filmmaker and host of the acclaimed Global Spirits series seen on PBS and Link TV, Phil Cousineau weaves stories, myths, parables, and quotes from famous travelers with prac

The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership Cover Image
ISBN: 9781260129106
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: McGraw-Hill Education - February 12th, 2018

The acclaimed guide to leadership excellence and competitive success from one of America's greatest coaches: John Wooden

Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316434935
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 28th, 2020

From baseball to biology, an award-winning journalist highlights the power of team chemistry in this "terrific" data-driven investigation of human relationships (Billie Jean King).

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451641059
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 28th, 2016

The New York Times bestseller about Major League Baseball’s Molina brothers and how they became Gold Glove, World Series–winning catchers: “A simply told, deeply moving story, quite unlike the usual baseball book” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

A baseball rules book. A tape measure. A lottery ticket.

Shooting from Outside  H Cover Image
ISBN: 9780380975884
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: William Morrow - September 1st, 1997

Shooting from the Outside is a story of triumph on many levels. Woven through VanDerveer's account of the team's pressure-packed year is the profoundly inspiring story of her own rise as a coach. Like women in business, medicine, and other demanding professions, VanDerveer had to forge her own way with little direction or support.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538747780
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grand Central Publishing - July 17th, 2018

Welcome to the world of women's gymnastics and figure skating--the real world that happens away from the cameras, at the training camps and in the private lives of these talented teenage competitors.

The Water Giver: The Story of a Mother, a Son, and Their Second Chance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416576532
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 14th, 2010

Both a medical drama and meditation on motherhood, The Water Giver is Joan Ryan's honest account of her doubts and mistakes in raising a learning-disabled son and the story of how his near-fatal accident gave her a second chance as a parent.