‘Rebound: From Pain to Passion – Leadership Lessons Learned’ by Matt Doherty (2021)

Part biography, part motivational guidebook, college basketball coach Matt Doherty’s Rebound is a interesting, wise and entertaining read.

Doherty is best known as head coach of the men’s basketball programs at Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina. In his playing days, he was a teammate of Michael Jordan on UNC’s National Championship winning team. He also coached SMU among other teams, worked as an NBA scout and a college basketball conference official.

Rebound isn’t a straightforward biography as throughout the book Doherty carefully analyses his own experience with a view to both understanding what happened and distilling his motivations, actions and lessons learned along the way. Doherty took it upon himself to go to business school and learn about the academic side of leadership. This book is his attempt to apply those lessons to his own life and impart some of his hard won wisdom along the way.

His career is best defined by the title of the book ‘Rebound’ as Doherty experienced many highs and lows along the way. It is the moments of derailment or setback where the book is at its strongest – Doherty dealing with his realization he wouldn’t make the pros as a player or losing his dream coaching job. Doherty’s personal renewal is a core part of his identity and his leadership style.

Combining biography with trying to impart lessons on life and leadership is a difficult task. The book is very similar in style to soccer manager Carlo Ancelloti’s book Quiet Leadership. Like that book, Rebound works very well largely because of the genuineness of the writing and the passion of the writer.

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