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The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,125 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
The last lecture on leadership by the NFL's greatest coach: Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty. In the process, he changed the way football is played.
Prior to his death, Walsh granted a series of exclusive interviews to
ebook, 300 pages
Published August 20th 2009 by Portfolio (first published July 3rd 2009)
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Jan 03, 2010 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late 49er's coach Bill Walsh and his leadership journey various football leagues are captured and descried inside. The late 49er's coach Bill Walsh and his leadership journey various football leagues are captured and descried inside. It's a unique compilation of his personal notes, interviews from peers and players all compiled by his son Craig and Steve Jamison.

This book provides a refreshing and unapologetic review of what leadership is all about; the good, the bad and often times ugly pe
Dec 18, 2014 EB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a slower read, but very informative and helped me think about another aspect of leadership, teaching. I don't follow football, so I didn't know anything about Bill Walsh before I read this book. I picked it up because I read an article on the Harvard Business Review blog talking about his leadership style and it mentioned this book. I wanted to get a "non-corporate" perspective on leadership and coaching.

There were a couple things that really stood out to me in
Christian Janke
Nov 12, 2015 Christian Janke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh is in my mind the best book to read if you are a leader or someone of a high position in an organization. Bill Walsh was recognized as one of the highest and most esteemed coaches in all of sports history. His philosophy on leadership is unparalleled to that of any other coach or captain. That’s what this biography tries to depict his reasoning behind his coaching techniques and the insight that he has on being a successful master ...more
Amir Salihefnedic
One of the best leadership books I've read.
Oleksiy Kovyrin
Jan 17, 2016 Oleksiy Kovyrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly inspiring story, great leadership lessons! For many years throughout my career I had this idea, that everybody should be doing their best job and the results will come. That has been my default mode of operation for years now. It was so good to see, that the standard of performance idea worked for someone, especially in the situation like the one described in the book.

Highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to work with other people on achieving a common goal: from CEOs, to middle
Jonathan Torrey
Apr 07, 2015 Jonathan Torrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
Paradigm-shifting book on leadership, management and relationships. Major successes do not happen overnight - they take time, dedication, preparation and attention to detail.

Bill Walsh took the 49ers from the worst team in football to Superbowl champions by his 3rd season with them. He gleaned some incredible insight not only from that transformation but of his own evolution as a coach (starting from the bottom) to achieve goals.

A must-read book for any aspiring leaders, changers, motivators,
Jan 16, 2016 Maciej rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly down-to-earth book about leadership, from the master football coach. If you're interested in getting the top performance individually, as a team or as an organization, Bill Walsh is the person you should be listening to. What's really unique is that he tells the story not only about going from the bottom to the top (from the very worst team in NFL to winning multiple Super Bowls) but also about the price he paid for it.
Muhammad Hakim Asy'ari
Bill Walsh used micromanagement to turn his football team from the worst team in NFL to become winner (winning several super bowl).
The point was that every role within the company had a “standard of performance,” and that if everyone knew what that standard was and strived for it, high performance would naturally result on the field, and the score would take care of itself.
Alex Ikonn
One of the best management books that I've read. Very actionable advice.
Matt Ely
2.5, rounded up because by the end I thought to myself "Well, that was pleasant after all."

But it took a while to get there. The structure is a bit daunting. I think that Walsh saw his book as being a summation of his leadership lessons, while readers probably just wanted to get to know him better. That dichotomy of expectations means that the first chapter dives into the deep end with Walsh offering conclusions on his accomplishments while the uninitiated reader is left grasping for context.

Mindaugas Mozūras
The first word that came to mind after reading about Bill Walsh's leadership philosophy is "Kaizen". Translated from Japanese, it means "improve". Kaizen came from Japan and was/is practiced by a lot of businesses worldwide. The focus is put on the process and not results. On the things that can be changed, instead of those that can't.

I first discovered Kaizen and related principles when reading about Toyota. It was fun and fascinating to read about very similar principles in a book about NFL an
Chris Escher
Mar 18, 2017 Chris Escher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bill Walsh was a genius.
Mark Steed
The Score Takes Care of Itself - My Philosophy of Leadership is packed full of insights about how to lead and manage people and how to drive change in an organisation. Bill Walsh was the coach who turned around the San Francisco 49ers taking them from the bottom of the pile to being a team that won five Super Bowl titles in 15 years. Having said this, the Score Takes Care of Itself is not a book about American Football, or even sport - it is about leadership; as Bill Walsh argues.
"Running a foot
Chad Horenfeldt
Oct 01, 2016 Chad Horenfeldt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best and most inspirational books I've read on leadership

There are many lessons on what leaders should and shouldn't do in this book. It should be standard reading for all leaders. His concept of "standard of performance" is something that I had established without realizing what it was or its true meaning was. He really helped me formalize my ideas and focus my attention on what are the most important areas of leadership.
Daniel Lopes
Sep 18, 2016 Daniel Lopes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Bill Walsh was one of few NFL coaches to win 3 super bowls, is recognised for developing his playing philosophy now know as “West Coast Offense” and other feats.

His book is the best book I ever read on leadership, with many short lessons told on top of his “standard of performance” philosophy, all explained with real life stories. Many of the short lessons you possibly already know, specially if you already lead any kind of team. But at worst, it confirms how you thought you should behave as a l
Feb 19, 2017 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Wilson
I listened to the audio book rather than read which often lends a different experience. I found there were some good lessons to take away from this book, but I just didn't enjoy it quite as much as I expected based on the reviews. I felt there were very similar anecdotes used over and over and often weak examples were used to get some rather obvious points across. Much of the book read like Bill Walsh praising himself, taking examples of very basic common sense decisions he made and portraying t ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Published after his death, the book is a collection of Bill Walsh's leadership talks and lectures, loosely collected into sections that don't always describe the content. I got the feeling that I was reading a collection of excerpts one after another, without much connection.

There are two sides to this book. One side is for NFL fans in general, and 49ers fans in particular. Walsh illustrates his points with a lot of great stories about the teams he coached, focusing mostly on his phenomenal succ
Mar 12, 2016 Ridgewalker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking to improve themselves or their organization
Recommended to Ridgewalker by: Ryan Holiday
Bill Walsh took the last place 49'rs and built them into a dynasty that won 4 Super Bowls in his tenure. This book is the story about how he did that and what we can learn from him. He was a highly intelligent, highly disciplined, and driven man that was consumed with achieving absolute perfection in the game. This is a book about leadership, and in fact that is its focus. I will admit the book was hard for me to read because it was so pithy. It reads like a college level textbook, and is theref ...more
Ted Alling
Feb 12, 2017 Ted Alling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My word... this man is an absolute legend.. I found myself highlighting the entire book. If you lead, you must read.
Mike Vardy
Dec 09, 2015 Mike Vardy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I didn't even make it halfway through this book so, in fairness, it may get better but I couldn't keep going to find out for myself.

I think that the only thing positive I will take away from this book that is useful is the title but there are others that have expressed the same idea within a book so much better.

This falls into the same category as many other coach-as-business-leader books. And then it keeps falling into the abyss of that category.

Some books in the category are worthwhile for the
Feb 28, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-world
I don't know if I could have worked for Bill Walsh. But I've worked for guys like him-obsessive, attention to detail, micro-managers who unrelentingly strive for perfection. But I learned much from them. It's sad Bill is no longer with us-would love to hear his take on everything happening today. This is a great book about leadership. He worked hard, perhaps, too hard to win. But it wasn't about winning initially. It was about mastery of your craft and striving for perfection. But success can be ...more
Jaron Dunford
Sep 26, 2015 Jaron Dunford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-business
Notes/Take Aways from The Score Takes Care of Itself

The score takes care of itself. Focus on the things and you can control. Become perfect in the things that you can control and the score/results will follow.

Process vs Result
Aim for a Standard of Performance (which is absolute) vs winning (which is relative to others).
“Process” of improvement leads to “result” of victory and not vice-versa.
Focus on process which produces results and not on results.

Sharpening pencils don't win games. Focusing on
Dec 10, 2013 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of Coach Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49'ers football team, and how he took the team from the worst in the league to the best. However, this is not a story or biography, it is a discussion on leadership from the man who rebuilt the 49'er culture from loser to a standard of performance that demanded excellence.

The book includes chapters from some of his players, his assistant coaches, his son, and others that were there during the journey. I foun
Adam McNamara
Mar 10, 2014 Adam McNamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Michael Mauboussin, head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse, often writes about process versus outcome in the context of investing and sports. Many endeavors are influenced by both luck and skill. Assume the outcome of a football game is determined by 70% skill and 30% luck.

Good process, good luck: win
Good process, bad luck: win most, lose some
Bad process, good luck: win some, lose most
Bad process, bad luck: lose

Bill Walsh recognized this dynamic: what matters is focusing on what yo
Adam Wiggins
The soul-baring memoirs of a successful NFL football coach. Lots of great lessons about leadership, from teamwork to recruiting to internal culture.

One part tells a very personal story told how the stress of success almost broke him. Very relevant to anyone in a visible leadership position of a successful organization. Success can be as hard, sometimes harder, than failure.

A few of the anecdotes lost me due to football jargon ("receiver", "down", "yard line", etc). But it didn't hamper my enjoym
Fab Mackojc
Mar 25, 2015 Fab Mackojc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great management / leadership book written by one of the best coaches in NFL history. Bill Walsh reviews his lessons running a football franchise to offer people in the business world insights on the fundamentals of leadership, how to create a winning team and what it means to work in an environment of excellence.

As an American football fan I enjoyed reading the sections that talked about the history of the sport and Bill’s innovations to football strategy. I found that certain section
Sathya Vijayakumar
I picked this book up because I heard that Pete Carroll, the Seahawks head coach, admired Bill Walsh and had read the book twice. Additionally, the title just resonated with me as I've spent a lot of time thinking about leadership and success. The book has some real wisdom in it, especially around the "Standard of Performance" Walsh developed for his teams that detailed his expectations of everyone in the organization from the receptionist to his quarterback. It also details the inner thoughts o ...more
Aug 22, 2016 John marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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1. Do expect defeat. It’s a given when the stakes are high and the competition is working ferociously to beat you. If you’re surprised when it happens, you’re dreaming; dreamers don’t last long.
2. Do force yourself to stop looking backward and dwelling on the professional “train wreck” you have just been in. It’s mental quicksand.
3. Do allow yourself appropriate recovery—grieving—time. You’ve been knocked senseless; give yourself a little time to recuperate. A keyword here is “little.” Don’t let it drag on.
4. Do tell yourself, “I am going to stand and fight again,” with the knowledge that often when things are at their worst you’re closer than you can imagine to success. Our Super Bowl victory arrived less than sixteen months after my “train wreck” in Miami.
5. Do begin planning for your next serious encounter. The smallest steps—plans—move you forward on the road to recovery. Focus on the fix.

1. Don’t ask, “Why me?”
2. Don’t expect sympathy.
3. Don’t bellyache.
4. Don’t keep accepting condolences.
5. Don’t blame others.”
“Like water, many decent individuals will seek lower ground if left to their own inclinations. In most cases you are the one who inspires and demands they go upward rather than settle for the comfort of doing what comes easily.” 3 likes
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